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.”

Stopping the Distraction

When I agree to something I really don’t want to do, it can remain on my list of things to do for a long time. It can make me feel unproductive. It affects my attitude about my day.

It’s funny that most of these commitments are made with myself. Repairs around my house that I need to do. Emails that I intend to write. Books that I would like to read. You get the idea.

All of these open commitments slow me down. The more I have open the less agile I am during my day.

The lesson learned for me is to not accept responsibility until I am ready to take action. Instead I keep a list of all the things I need to do, but not yet ready to start.

Then I focus my priority on three to five areas that need my attention. This system makes me more effective. I accomplish more within a shorter period of time. As I complete one item, I add another from my list.

Too simple? It is easy to manage on a daily basis. Aren’t the best systems simple?

If you feel overwhelmed with all that is on your daily agenda, maybe a similar system will help you. With this approach, I am able to stop distractions and create a sharp focus.