We’ve all had those days. Whether it’s dealing with difficult customers, having your website crash, realizing that your startup is one step away from failing or getting into a screaming match with your spouse, life is full of stressful and negative moments.
While in some circumstances it would be acceptable to dwell in the negativity and crawl into a hole, the fact of the matter is that being positive will help you achieve a higher level of success both personally and professionally since it can help us overcome our fears, grow our social circles, reduce stress and keep us motivated.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. But, if you follow these five simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to achieving a better attitude about life.
1. Start your mornings off right. Start each and every morning on a positive note. It may take some discipline at first, but you’ll quickly notice that this will become a habit. Once it does, you’ll be on your way to achieving a better attitude about life.
I also like to take a few minutes while exercising to reflect on the people and things that bring happiness to my life. By focusing on these positive moments and memories, it puts me in the right frame of mind to take on the day.
2. Choose to be happy. This could be one of the hardest steps to take, but happiness is a choice. During the day, I incorporate other things that are designed to help me commit to being happy. I’m a huge fan of music, so it helps if I keep upbeat songs playing while I’m working. I also make sure I smile at everyone I come across throughout the day and look for ways that I can help others choose to be happy. This could mean I throw out a silly joke or tell a funny story.
After you realize that happiness is a choice and that you actually have the power to choose to be happy, you’ll no longer harp on the negativity or point fingers, and you’ll make the best out of any situation. And, when you are happy, make sure that you share it with others. According to Harvard researchers, it’s contagious.
3. Replace negativity with positivity. How do you expect to be happy when there is so much negativity in your life? You may feel that you just can’t. That’s why you need to remove the negativity in your life and replace it with positivity.
One of the first places I’ve started to do this is looking at those around me. It wasn’t worth it to me to have people in my life that complain or focus on the negative. Over time, I’ve essentially weeded these people out of my social circles and avoided them in professional circumstances as much as possible. Instead, I have a core group of friends who are optimistic, upbeat and supportive. The point is that life has to be about having a good laugh and enjoying our lives and those around us.
My wife and I also work together to ensure we only enjoy music, movies, TV shows or books that are positive, because these put us in a great mood and leave a positive impact on our perspectives as individuals and as a couple.
It’s important to turn your negative thoughts around. For example, instead of saying, “I don’t have the resources” when starting a project, say, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” You can also tell yourself things such as: “I’m OK,” “I’m doing OK,” or “I can do this.” In actively choosing to replace negativity with positivity, my defining moment was realizing it was up to me to keep myself in a positive frame of mind.
4. Don’t compare yourself to others. We’ve all been guilty of comparing ourselves to others at some point in our lives, whether it’s intentional or not. A person definitely won’t achieve a better idea about their life when they’re constantly comparing. It will ruin you and everyone around you.
I’ve had to learn to just love myself, no matter what others are doing and how successful they’ve become. Rather than focusing on how I wished I had that car or lifestyle that my friend has, I’ve redirected any yearnings to thinking about how happy I am to be surrounded by those I care about who happen to be doing well for themselves. Celebrating their success with them instead of secretly wishing I had what they have provides me with a much better outlook on life. I am also reminded of what’s really important in life. It’s not about things; it’s about people and the experiences you enjoy together.
5. Change your vocabulary. For me, it’s helpful to think about positive words I can use to describe a situation. I tend to be rather enthusiastic about life anyway, so it becomes a fun game for me to think of the best phrases to repeat to others around me. The more unique the words and phrases, the better, because it tends to make others laugh or, at the very least, smile.
These five steps definitely help me to have a better attitude about life, but it comes from an overall outlook in my perspective. This perspective tells me that life is too short to focus on the negative or what others have that I don’t. With what brief time I’m given, I am making the most of each and every day with my colleagues, friends and family. It’s this focus that has gotten me through many challenges along the way, and it is what has helped those around me to also remain on a positive course.