3 Lessons I Learned About Keeping a Positive Attitude

President Thomas Jefferson said, “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” Keeping a positive attitude can be challenging in certain situations. Here are some lessons I have learned that help me.

1. Protect myself from negative attitudes that I encounter. If I am not careful, I find myself adjusting my attitude to those around me. Attitude is contagious after all. But when the surrounding attitude is negative, I must be strong enough to keep my positive attitude. I have two choices, allow my attitude to influence others, or leave the situation.

2. Focus on tomorrow’s possibilities rather than yesterday’s results. When I find my attitude slipping away from the positive, it is usually because I am too focused on what has happened rather than the opportunities of tomorrow. Walt Whitman said it best, “Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”

3. Learn more about myself. Carl Jung said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” When I find myself getting irritated, it affects my attitude. The aggravation however is within me, not with the other person. If I spend time understanding myself, then I am better prepared to turn negative situations into positive situations.

Another thing to consider when faced with differing attitudes. My attitude is mine. The attitudes of others are owned by them. I am not better, just because my attitude may be more positive at the moment. As Ziad K. Abdelnour said, “Don’t judge someone’s attitude until you’ve felt their pain.”

Want to Be a Good Example?

John Maxwell has said, “It’s easier to teach what’s right than to do what’s right.” So if we want to be a good example for those around us, we need to be as good as we think we are. Intentions alone do not set the example.

Setting an example also requires being visible, and interacting with people. If you are the best you can be, but working alone, then who are you an example for?

Those two thoughts deserve some reflection time. We would all like to be good, and set a good example. Review your activity in the last week. Have you had opportunities to be visible, and be engaged, and yet you choose actions that isolated you? Have you chosen actions that were easier, and maybe not shown how good you can be?

Colin Powell said, “You can issue all the memos and give all the motivational speeches you want, but if the rest of the people in your organization don’t see you putting forth your very best effort every single day, they won’t either.”  People around you will only give their best if they see you giving your best.

What are you going to do the next week that reflects your best? What are you going to do to make those actions more visible to those around you?