Jake Thompson | Keynote Speaker on Grit and Leadership

How to Create a Positive Attitude

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? I share some tips on how I work to shift my 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.

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