How do you maintain a positive attitude when everything around you is negative or going to shit? How do you get past the bad situations in life that occur and focus on the good? Compete Every Day’s Jake Thompson shares his tips on shifting his mindset from disappointment to future success.
How’s your attitude this week? Do you have a positive one where people want to be around you and associate with you? Are you feeling like a “Negative Nancy,” and for some reason, you always feel like you’re in a bad mood?
First, let’s address the big elephant in the room. Your attitude is a choice. The choice you make, no matter what the circumstances are, is yours and yours alone. But how do you maintain a positive attitude when things are terrible, when things are not going your way and you just feel awful?
Here are the tips and tricks that I’ve implemented in my own life. My wife tells me (sometimes annoyed) that I’m always in a good mood. I assure you, that’s not the case. I have my “shit” days – you know, those days where I can’t shake a feeling, or mindset. It’s like everytime I start to turn a corner, something whispers in the back of my head as a reminder to shift my focus back to what was originally pissing me off. What I’ve found by applying these following steps is that I can quickly course correct where my attitude is, versus where it should be.
First thing I do, I admit it. Outloud, for myself to hear. I admit when I’m having a bad attitude and openly acknowledge it. What separates this action from others is that I force myself to follow it up with something I am thankful for. For instance, “I’m very upset about this situation, but I am thankful that it’s a onetime deal and I don’t have to repeatedly deal with it.” Perhaps someone burned you, but the upside is that you were burned now instead of later when the consequences could have been far worse. Finding the one sliver of light in a bad situation can help things. Share what’s upsetting you. Get it out, so you can get it off your chest.
Two, set a timer. This creates a window that you’re going to allow yourself to be upset – and then be done with it. Author Hal Elrod of The Miracle Morning talks about his experiences with this. When he was in sales, everytime he would have bad conversation or lose out on an account, Hal would take out his phone and set a timer for 5 minutes. He could scream, curse, hit a punching bag, and do whatever he wanted for five minutes.
But as soon as that timer went off, he was done. He forced his mindset to shift from the situation upsetting him towards a new one. He understand that a good attitude or bad attitude wasn’t going to change anything, so he might as well have a good attitude.
So create a timer, set a window for yourself to get it out of your system. It can be a five, ten, or twenty minute window, but when that timer goes off, be done with it.
Third, once you get that timer out, once your timer alarm has gone off, shift your perspective forward. What’s next?
There’s a reason your windshield is bigger than your rear view mirror, it’s because your eyes are supposed to be forward on everything that’s before you, all of the life, all the goals, all the dreams that are before you, not what’s behind you, not the stuff that you’ve already passed.
Shift your perspective from the bad situation in the rear view mirror, to the potentially great situations ahead of you.
That’s seriously it. Three easy steps. Like any new habit, it takes time to train your body to respond this way. But think about how much time and energy we invest in being upset about situations completely out of our control – and about how we could have used that same time and energy to do something productive to move us onward.
One other note that I’d love to share is this: remember whom you keep company with. Our community group page here is awesome because it’s a group of positive people encouraging each other towards success. None of us are perfect. We aren’t always happy, and we are not always going to be right. But we’re positive in the aspect that we are working towards a greater good. So I encourage you to find a community and place like that – with people you can level up “life” alongside.
If you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with, and the four of the five have bad attitudes all the time, don’t you think that that’s going to rub off on you negatively? So create those relationships, invest in those relationships with other people that have positive attitudes, that have a more upbeat approach and perspective on life. It’ll in turn help you share that same positive outlook.
I know each and every one if you can do it. I’m proud of each and every one of you in everything you’re pursuing.
But most of all, did I leave something out?
If I did, comment below and tell me what’s one thing that you do that I didn’t mention that helps you have a great attitude when things aren’t going your way.
Who writes your permission slip?
I remember when I was in school the permission slip was the key to getting out of class (and occasionally escaping boredom!). Sometimes you got a doctor’s note, sometimes the counselor would help you sneak out of class, and a few times the principal would give you the pass. You needed that slip to do anything outside of sit in class and learn. Your parents, teachers, & administration “controlled” the slip, and therefore controlled a part of you.
For some reason, as we grew older, we continued to act like someone has a pen and holds our permission slip. As if we can’t do anything without obtaining their permission first. We sit in neutral, choosing not to chase a dream because we don’t know if we have the permission to. We stay in a job we hate and in an environment that stifles growth because we don’t feel like we have the permission and right to make a change. It’s as if we are unable to give ourselves permission to make a change.
Chris Brogan is a big proponent of giving yourself permission. He writes,
“Permission is about claiming your crown. You can choose what you want to do next. You can choose how you respond. You can decide that now is a great time to get strong.” (Seeking Permission).
In other words, why do we wait for someone else to give us permission to do something that only we can do?
- Who are we waiting to approve our choice to pursue a goal?
- Who signs off the paperwork to make a life change?
- And who have we given power to do decide how we can and cannot live?
Chris once asked me – who gave me permission to start Compete? The answer was simple – me. I made the choice. I acted. I gave myself permission to succeed or fail in the pursuit of this goal. If I waited on someone else to give that permission, I would have never started. I would have constantly sought approval from others who don’t have the power to give me what I needed.
I’ll ask again, who writes your permission slip? If the answer isn’t you, you’ve given the pen to the wrong person.
I challenge you today to take it back. To claim your crown. And for you – and only you – to decide what to do next. It’s your life, Compete for it.
Set off fireworks in your life with a revolution.
Two hundred and forty years ago, our great nation was born with the Declaration of Independence and the decision we would no longer live by the rules others imposed on us. The thirteen American colonies had started a revolution to gain their freedom and new life here in this land, away from the British rule that had once owned them. They believed in a new way, a new attitude, and a new life from their counterparts across the Atlantic.
The limitations the British had imposed were no longer acceptable. So they decided to make a change.
Which begs me to ask – how are the limitations you’re living with? Are they still acceptable? Here are a few simple questions to explore:
Can you believe it?
Saturday night’s Big Ten Championship game provided something most football fans have never seen – a 22-play, nine-minute, game-winning drive. It is almost unheard of for a team to step-by-step, move their way down the field a few yards at a time. Most times struggle after 8-10 plays, much less double that. Yet, Michigan State stuck to their gameplan and moved down the field, a few yards at a time.
At the one-yard line, with 33 seconds left, LJ Scott refused to be kept out of the endzone in a play of sheer determination & heart.
And it set the perfect blueprint for how you should finish the last few weeks of 2015.
“Set the tone: to establish a particular mood for something.”
There are 60 days left in 2015. Two months to either add to the current story you’re writing – or two months to change the story you’ve written so far. 61 days to end this year how you want to. On your terms. And how you want your story to read.
In sports, it’s crucial for a team to set the tone. Football offenses want to come out of the gate fast & physical, imposing their will on the defense and letting everyone know it will be a long 60 minutes. Passing-oriented teams start throwing deep & quick, moving the chains as quickly as possible. Physical running teams (ex: Seattle Seahawks) want to hit you as hard as they can, running the ball down a defense’s throat. All the while, the defense is trying to set a physical tone early that they will not be beaten or pushed around.
How a team starts – what tone they set – will impact the entire game. The same applies to life.