Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference – Winston Churchill
Many years ago, I would have said that only my circumstances affect my happiness, even saying, I would be happy if I had more money or I had a great relationship.
I discovered that if I wanted to draw good things and good people to my life that would complement it rather than complicate it I would have to look further than my circumstances. I was already happy because I was living within my means and I had many great relationships. It got tricky when I was challenged in my life. I realized I had to adjust my ‘tude’ (attitude) to have a more positive outlook. Unlike my circumstances – over which I had little control – I had control of my attitude. I knew that if I trusted a broken set of habits every day, it’s only a matter of time before my life got confusing and complicated.
Here are three trusted habits that help me stay positive:
- Stop worrying and complaining
Being negative can sap you of the strength you need to pull from a discouraging day or to help you deal with it. If you see everything negatively, you will feel distressed and every day can appear bad or gloomy. Situations are usually only as good or bad as you think they are. The choice is yours.A good read is Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He says to only focus on concerns that we have control over. He outlines the “circle of concerns” as all of the stuff that worries us – and then a smaller “circle of influence” (within the larger “circle of concerns”) that only contains stuff that we can actually control. His point is that we should only spend our energy on stuff that we can do something about. Focus only on problems that lie within your “circle of influence.
- Look for the silver lining
When things are tough, and I feel down, I look for a silver lining – the small glimmers of hope. I have to remind myself that I can and will grow stronger from these hard times. I have to always be conscious of my blessings, privileges and be thankful for all the things that are right in my life today.
- Do things for others
Unselfish giving brings deep satisfaction to me. I say often, and I firmly believe that the more we give the more we’ll receive. It’s a great mantra for teaching little people to share too. My daughter (we started doing this when she was five years old) and I would ‘declutter’ her room and toys to give them away – knowing she was sharing with other children who may not have the toys she had enjoyed made her happy.Experiencing the joy of giving can do much to help us cope with negative circumstances in our own life. Look for opportunities to be self-sacrificing. Volunteering (volunteer.ca) is great way to care for your attitude and give back to your community.
Neil Pasricha has an amazing story. A self-described “average guy,” he realized that he was overwhelmed by life’s circumstances, so he started consciously thinking about any positive thing he could find – no matter how small. Then he blogged about it at 1000awesomethings.com, won a Webby Award, and became an international best selling author for his work, The Book of Awesome.
Attitude, Awareness, Authenticity: The 3 A’s of Awesome by Neil Pasricha (TED.com)
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