Planning for the Future- Your Attitude

Planning for the Future – Your Attitude

Do you feel like life is coming at you so fast that all you can do is survive? I feel that many days, especially with two teenagers in the house.

Life can get so busy that all we do is go from one thing to another with others controlling our schedule, our time, our emotions and our attitudes.

Common Trait of Success

I have been studying successful people and what traits they exhibit. I define success not in business or wealth terms, but people who I consider live or who have lived a worthwhile life.

One of the defining characteristics that I observe is that they all have positive attitude. What I mean by positive attitude is that, no matter what the situation, they can always see the good. Their attitude stays positive; they look to the future with hope and with positive expectation.

The first thing I want to cover is the definition of a positive attitude. Jeffrey Gitomer writes in his book The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude, positive attitude "is the way you dedicate yourself to the way you think." He also states unfortunately, that the same definition is true for a negative attitude.

Attitude is Everything!

Attitude is the root emotion in everything that we do. It determines how we act, react, think, sleep, eat, etc. People are defined as who they are by their attitude! How are you defined?

What is interesting in the definition above is the word dedicate which means a person has made a conscious choice to do something. It infers that dedication requires that the effort be at the forefront of a person's mind. Developing a positive attitude then is a choice. It is not something that just happens to you. One must develop a positive attitude and work to keep it positive (of course, unless you stop thinking. Hopefully you will never be accused of that.)

Another way to state a positive attitude and to apply the question to yourself is as Gitomer writes "Positive attitude has nothing to do with what happens to you. It's what you do with, and how you react to, what happens to you."

Are you Dedicating?

Most of us go through life, especially when we have kids, just surviving, hoping to get through this state. The problem is with that type of attitude, without a conscious dedication to keeping a positive outlook on life, the negative will begin to rule. There is so much negative information and circumstances bombarding you, that, unless you have a proactive plan to develop or keep a positive attitude, you WILL start seeing things from a negatve standpoint.

Have you become negative? It was a conscious choice too; you consciously did not work to prevent it.

What do you believe?

Your belief system determine your attitude. To change your attitude, you must change your belief system. They don't change on their own. Unfortunately, many are allowing music, TV, entertainment or others, determine their belief system which then determines one's attitude. For example: Do you distrust everyone? Do you feel you might be manipulated? That leads to cynicism. Do you feel like a victim? That leads to anger.

Your Future is in Your Head

In planning for the future, most people never list attitude as something to consider, but, as many leaders have said, attitude is everything in dealing with today and the future. Your attitude will determine how you live in life, how you will handle hardships in work, marriage, other relationships, health, death, etc.

Research continually shows that those with a positive mental attitude weather hardships much better than those that have a negative or "neutral" attitude. People who have positive attitudes survive diseases at a significantly higher rate than those who don't.

Ok, enough about the benefit of a positive attitude. The next question is "How does one develop a positive attitude, especially if your life is full of negative things or you had a hard childhood, bad marriage, your a victim of a crime, etc.?"

Developing a Positive Attitude

You can't get a positive attitude from reading a book but it can help you begin the journey. You can't get a positive attitude by talking or spending time with those who are positive, but it can be a start. The key to developing a positive attitude is that you must change the way you think. You must dedicate yourself to new thinking!

Here a few steps to begin or continue the process.

1) You need to know if you have a positive attitude or not. Ask others about your attitude. Every time something happens that is bad, check your attitude. Take an attitude survey (there is one in Gitomer's book.) You may already know what your attitude is. Don't justify your negative attitude. If you are justifying your negative attitude by saying "I'm just a cynic" or that is just the way I look at life," you have a negative attitude and are not willing to face the truth.

How you describe others will tell if you have a negative attitude. Do you talk positively about people or say "Sheila is nice person, but..." If you speak negative about someone, you are looking for the negative because that is how you think and see life.

2)Now that you are self-aware of your attitude, begin a proactive plan to change or continue developing it. This requires inside and outside influences.

a) Inside - you need to read to yourself affirmations (positive, present tense, personal statements) outloud about having a positive attitude. Such as "I have a positive attitude. I see the good in every situation. I ask questions before I make a judgement." Saying them outloud programs your mental attitude to believe them. Do this EVERYDAY for 6 weeks.

b) Outside - read books on developing a positive attitude; listen to positive music; find things that are positive and talk about them. Our family looks for positive things in a movie and talks about them after we watch a movie together. We talk more about the redeeming qualities in the movie than the negative. We are looking for the good. There are plenty of CDs series on developing a positive attitude. Zig Ziglar is my favorite. color=black>

3) Learn specifically what are positive attitude actions. Gitomer has a good list in his book. Ziglar has a whole series on them. Here are some:

Stop: whining, complaining, blaming, being a cynic, having a short fuse, coping with drugs or alcohol, watching negative news, bad music, etc.

Start: Read or listen to something positive every morning; compliment people (sincerely); keep a daily positive "happenings" journal (I did for a month, it really helped me see the "brighter side of life.") Smile (force a smile, it will make you feel better. I do it in the grocery and it is fun to see others smile back.) Share your positive attitude - you never lose it, it just gets stronger in you and sprouts a new shoot for someone else.

The key to have a future that you can enjoy is to start planning/dedicating yourself to that future now. People just assume their future will be good or bad but they do little, in terms of their attitude, to ensure that they will have a good future. A nasty old person is no fun to be around, let alone take care of. (I hope your kids don't think of you in that manner.)

Attitude comes from beliefs and actions. You must first develop strong beliefs in terms of peace, love, helping others, truth, and hope, then you must practice them. You can't believe you have a positive attitude and not practice it.

Here's the good news - I have never known anyone that has a positive attitude to lack friends and to live a life that is worth living. You never grow old in your mind.

I have known plenty of people who have a negative attitude who are lonely and live a miserable life. The good news and the bad news is that it comes from the way you dedicate yourself in the way that you think.


Ephesians 4:22-24

"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true

As mentioned, you must change the way you believe. One way is to fill your mind with scripture. Memorize scripture. You can make it personal by replacing the word "you" with your name. Focus on how much God loves you. The whole book of Ephesians is about how God loves you and extends his grace to you. Grace means "undeserved mercy."

I believe the greatest foundation for a positive attitude is that God loved you so much that He extended his mercy to you, not because you deserved it, but because He loves you unconditionally, no strings attached except that you must believe it.

Now that is a foundation from which you can build a positive attitude!!!

This is my prayer for you as Paul shared it with the Ephesians.

"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:14-19


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