A positive attitude is pretty much necessary for success. You have likely met or have been the kind of person who almost embraces the negatives in life. These people tend to be cynical and often give what feels like endless reasons that they cannot accomplish something. Recently I went on a challenging hike. A friend joined my hiking group who hadn’t been hiking in many years. According to him, he was out of shape and would need to be carried up. The complaining throughout this day trek was endless. He gave many reasons why he shouldn’t have come, how he can’t make it and how nobody could ever believe that he would be able to hike a mountain.
Unsurprisingly he got to the peak of the mountain with us. Not only did he reach the peak, but he also beat the average for reaching a peak. The recommended time to reach the peak was 4 and a half hours but he did it in 4 hours. After achieving something awesome, he continued climbing down the mountain with complaints about how tiresome that was, how he will never be able to do this again and how nobody will believe him. This friend unfortunately has a negative attitude about life. No matter how many times I tell him genuinely about his wonderful traits, he always dismisses my comments.
You might be able to relate to this story in some way. Your attitude might be so negative that you discount positive experiences or believe that good things happen out of luck and are unlikely to repeat themselves. Your negative attitude is very likely to be having a negative influence on your personal life. You might not even be aware of the impact of your negative attitude as it has become part of your day to day life.
1. What you tell yourself is what you will believe. I often struggle with a negative habit of saying things too sarcastically for an attempt at humor. My loved ones would often comment on my sense of humor stating that they couldn’t tell if I was joking or not and were concerned. Some things I might say are, “Oh I know you don’t really care” or “I fail at everything.” At first this habit seemed harmless. I said these comments carelessly and as an attempt to be silly. However, even negative attempts at humor have a way of training your mind to be negative. Even if you don’t feel like you have a negative attitude, check that your humor, comments or behaviors aren’t unnecessarily negative. Telling yourself something, even if you aren’t taking it too seriously, has the ability to train your mind to believe it.
2. Train your mind to be positive. Let me start off by saying that re-training your mind to embrace positive thoughts is not easy. You might hear people tell you to “be positive” and although their intentions are kind, the idea that thinking positively is easy, is far from the truth. Training your mind to be positive will take effort and time, but it is definitely worth it. Just like training your body to be stronger, you can’t take lengthy breaks from training a positive attitude. A positive attitude requires that you continually work on training yourself to be positive. One way I work to be positive is to give myself thoughts that discount the negative thoughts. For instance if I’m feeling bummed out about being single and feel like I’m unattractive, unlovable or whatever false thoughts rule my mind, I work to discount those thoughts. I might remind myself of the guys interested in dating me, the ones who liked me, the relationships I had in the past and any positive experience that reminds me that people find me attractive and have loved me. The process may seem slow at first, but the more you remind yourself of all the experiences, memories and knowledge that discounts the negatives, the more you will embrace a positive attitude.
3. Negative attitudes are a sure-fire way to fail. Some people are reluctant to adopt a negative attitude, because they believe a negative attitude doesn’t matter in terms of success or fail. There is truth in that being positive by itself will not make you succeed, but you are far more likely to succeed with a positive mindset. Let’s say you have a negative attitude towards life and are currently dating with the outcome of being in a relationship. With a negative attitude you might not contact or ask out people you are interested in. Because you believe you aren’t worthy of dating this person, you might talk yourself out of asking certain people out on a date, lessening your pool of people to date. You might go on a date and because you are uncertain of how it went, you adopt a negative attitude and decide to not follow-up on a date. Or let’s say you find yourself in a relationship. With a negative attitude you are more likely to run away from any sign of conflict. If your partner expresses any type of concerns, you will run believing in a negative outlook that the relationship will not work out.
However, when you approach dating with a positive outlook, you communicate with anyone you are interested in. You know you have something amazing to offer and you put yourself out there. If a date went okay, you’ll still give it a second shot. You’ll inquire about another date, text, and call and continue putting your best self out there. If a relationship has conflict, you’ll focus on working things out, communicating and doing the best that you can before deciding to end the relationship. As you can see a negative attitude promotes behaviors that encourage you to fail. A positive attitude gets you in a place where you continue trying, being optimistic and attracts positivity in your life as a result. You are more likely to succeed at your goals by maintaining a positive attitude.
4. A positive attitude helps you solve your problems with a different type of thinking. Often times we fall into patterns of solving our problems with the negative thinking that created the problem in the first place. For instance, let’s say you went out on a great date with someone. After the date you send her a text and she takes hours to reply. During this time, you get annoyed, anxious and start to believe she is not interested in you. Negative thinking convinces you that she’s not interested. By the time she does get around to reply, you do feel relieved but are already coming up with reasons that she probably isn’t interested in you. Negative thinking created a problem that may not even exist, such as your date not liking you back. However, the reality may be that she was busy, trying to not seem desperate by replying too quickly or has a habit of taking her time to reply to texts in general. By being positive, you embrace a positive reality. Being positive doesn’t mean you go to an extreme of believing the impossible but you allow yourself to believe a positive reality of the situation. Being positive also allows you to not take things personally and view a problem from different perspectives. For instance, with the dating scenario, being positive allows you to approach a situation with different perspectives, rather than the one negative perspective. You are more likely to find different and more effective ways to solve your problems by being positive.
5. Being positive empowers you to view your problems differently. Sometimes a problem isn’t actually a problem in the first place. For instance maybe you feel people dislike you or you take critical remarks very personally. When you are positive, you don’t always assume the worst. A co-worker who seems grouchy in the morning doesn’t mean he dislikes you, it could just mean that your co-worker is having bad day. When you are positive, you stop seeing people and the world as a problem. You don’t feel the world is against you. Instead a positive outlook allows you to recognize that the problem is often in your own mind. A positive attitude prevents you from creating problems that never existed in the first place.
6. A positive attitude allows you to take personal responsibility. A negative attitude puts you in a victim mindset. One of the more painful things for me about having friends struggling with a negative attitude, is that they truly believe that they have no control over their attitude, situation or life. By believing that you are a victim, the situation is unlikely to change and possibly even get worse over time. Taking a positive attitude means you are in full control. When life seems to be going badly, instead of wallowing in pain and self-pity, you are forward thinking. A positive attitude gets you thinking about how to resolve a situation, take control over your own happiness,
7. A positive attitude helps you cope with the negatives of life. Life will always have positive and negative moments. With a negative attitude, you might tend to over-focus on the negative and view life with fear, doubt, insecurity and suspicion. A positive attitude doesn’t dismiss the fact that negative things happen. However, a positive attitude does help you cope with the inevitable negative things that can and will happen to you. A positive attitude allows you to be realistic. You can accept that yes sometimes life will not go according to plan. A relationship may fail, you may not always love your job, people may dislike you at times and you will mistakes. But a positive attitude helps keep you centred and positive that things will be okay. Things are much more likely to work out with a positive attitude.
Your biggest hurdle towards success might just be in your attitude. Reassess your attitude and start moving forward with a positive attitude. How has a negative attitude held you back? In what ways has positive thinking helped you achieve success?