Is Your Attitude Helping or Hurting You? (Part 3)

Posted by Todd Smith

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Today, I want to share with you some ideas to help you maintain a positive attitude despite the presence of negative people or circumstances…

Expect Things to Get Better—When you expect things to improve, not only will you be happier because of your attitude, but also your positive expectations will allow you to see opportunities you would otherwise miss. I have said for years that when you expect things to go well, they generally do, and likewise, when you expect things to turn out poorly, they generally do.

I realize there are times when it’s very hard to have a positive attitude. I’ve been there many times, but I also know I am ultimately the one in charge of my emotions and attitude. I am keenly aware that if I allow myself to moan and groan and wallow in self-pity, I will lengthen my period of pain. I just don’t see how things can improve if I have a bad attitude. Think about it…how can things improve if you don’t expect they will?

When you are faced with difficult challenges, keep in mind that your expectations will in all likelihood determine the outcome.

Avoid Speaking Poorly of People—There will be occasions when people exercise bad judgment or display inappropriate behaviors. It is certainly within your prerogative to offer constructive criticism to these people, but it’s in poor taste to talk behind their backs to their friends or co-workers. If you allow yourself to be consumed with negative thoughts about a person, your unconstructive attitude will be obvious to others.

I am always impressed with people who don’t speak poorly of others, especially if they have the right to do so.

Maintain a Good Attitude Even if It’s Bad News—One of the things that really stands out in my mind is when people handle themselves with class in the face of bad news. For instance, if you are laid off from your job, lose a big sale, or are denied a well-deserved promotion, be intentional about how you handle yourself.

I even noticed this when watching the Academy Awards recently. You can bet those who did not win were extremely disappointed, but they did everything they could to hide their disappointment.

As a sales professional and entrepreneur of 29 years, I have been on the receiving end of a lot of bad news. But I have learned to focus on handling myself like a professional. I know it’s the right thing to do and I have observed that how I respond makes a big impression.

I can recall numerous occasions when a prospective client told me that I did not get their business but they later reconsidered because of the way I responded to their decision and handled myself during the conversation.

Next time you hear bad news, respond in a way that makes you proud of yourself and creates a positive impression.

Learn to Respond Rather Than React—In the course of our daily lives, so many things occur that challenge our natural emotions. It could be the driver that cuts you off on the highway or an aggressive e-mail or perhaps a co-worker’s sarcastic comment during a meeting. When we get upset or angry, the key is to not lose control of our emotions by reacting, but rather to stay in control and respond thoughtfully.

Since this is a weakness of mine, let me tell you what I am doing to correct this. First, I acknowledged to myself that I have a weakness in this area and I am committed to working on it. Second, when I get frustrated or angry, I say to myself, “Stay in control, Todd; be thoughtful about how you respond.” I often have to repeat this several times.

I have also started modeling my wife’s behavior as I admire her ability to respond rather than react. When she is upset, she focuses on speaking in love. When I think about speaking with love in my heart, it transforms my state of mind faster than anything I have tried before. Try it next time and see how it works for you.

Break the Habit of Finding Fault With People—I must confess I went through a period of time where I was guilty of this very point. I suppose that I found fault with everything because I was so focused on striving for excellence that I constantly noticed what I perceived to be people’s mistakes.

This changed for me when I heard Napoleon Hill speak about this subject on one of Success Magazine’s CD inserts. His words had a huge impact on me, and I immediately started working on my attitude. I still notice all the little things people do right and wrong, but the difference today is I don’t let it bother me.

How about you? Do you find yourself overly critical? If so, let me encourage you to start being aware of these circumstances and work on your attitude. Have a little more patience; be a little more understanding. People are not perfect, and for many of them, they are doing their best. It’s also important to recognize that what may be logical to you may not be logical to others.

As I wrap up this three-part series, I want to encourage you to be aware of your attitude at all times and be intentional about controlling your emotions.

I would love to hear about your personal experiences. What helps you to have a positive attitude? In what circumstances do you find yourself challenged to maintain this attitude? If you have found value in this series, I would enjoy reading your comments.

“There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.” – W. Clement Stone

To read Part 1, click here.

To read Part 2, click here.

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About the Author:

Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 43 years and founder of Little Things Matter. This blog contains over 200 of his timeless life lessons.

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