What is the lens through which you view the world? Do you see the world filled with problems or opportunities? Do you see what is wrong with the world or what is going right?
One of the earliest attitude adjustments that I made in my career was shifting from a negative attitude to a positive one. I realized early on that a negative attitude will stall your career and push people away.
Nobody enjoys being around a person with a negative attitude. They will suck the energy out of your purpose and they will poison the culture of the team. Do whatever you need to distance yourself from negative people.
According to Barbara Fredrickson, a leading researcher on positivity, “a negative mindset has been shown to narrow our vision and propel our behaviour toward survival in the moment (I’m frightened, so I’ll flee. I’m angry, so I’ll fight), while a positive mindset does the opposite. Positivity will broaden our ideas about possible actions and open our awareness to a wider range of thoughts making us more receptive and creative.”
To shift your attitude from negative to positive you will want to follow the advice of Daniel Pink, the author of To Sell Is Human.
- Positive Self-talk: Be intentional on how you talk to yourself. Instead of using simple positive statements (aka affirmations) use questions. Think Bob The Builder: Can I build it? Yes I can! When you want a positive shift, ask yourself a better question
- Positive Focus: Direct your attention toward what is working in your life and away from what is not. Pink says this optimal ratio seems to be 3 to 1. This means having 3 positive thoughts for every negative one.
- Positive Narrative: When something doesn’t go your way, reframe your internal story in a positive way. What can I learn from this? Remember, there’s no such thing as failure, only feedback.
Making the shift from negative to positive was probably the hardest thing that I’ve ever done. You can make these tiny positive shifts in thinking and doing once you realize that your attitude is a choice.