What if our problems aren’t the REAL problem? What if the real problem lies in our attitude about the problem? That’s what Norman Vincent Peale, father of positive thinking cautioned when he said “Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure.”
Have you noticed that when you’re on edge with a problem that it can become difficult to stay positive and focused? Have you noticed how your mood is affected and your normal resiliency is challenged? Research shows that it’s easier to believe the” bad stuff ” when faced with challenges that make us feel unhappy or nervous—a phenomenon known as negative memory bias. “Our moods shape our ability to recall things about ourselves,” explains University of Toronto Psychotherapist, Zindel Segal, PhD. “Naturally, when you’re feeling down, it’s easier to recall failures or times when you’ve messed up. The mind is mired in a negative view. The same holds true for anxiety: Someone who is timid or frightened might be leery of a new situation, might look for comfort in ways she’s been able to secure it before. It’s staying with the devil you know.”
So to solve our problems, we need to be AWARE and check out our ATTITUDES… a subtle but hugely important step that’s easy to miss because it appears so obvious that we skip it.
In the flying industry, a detailed check-list and “walk-around” the aircraft takes place before each flight…. no matter how seasoned a pilot is, this checklist and walk around must be completed each and every time. So too with us, at the start of each day, a check-list and walk-around our attitudes, will keep us safe, prevent problems that could have been avoided, and keep us motivated in personal effectiveness to reach our dreams and goals.
Defined as “paying attention in a certain way, on purpose, without judgement,”(Jon Kabbat-Zinn), mindfulness helps keep our awareness (attention) engaged so we’re able to act consciously instead of unconsciously. Developing mindfulness improves our understanding of what’s going on in any situation. It creates a “pattern interrupt ,” so that instead of being distracted or overcome by emotions or messy thinking we determine where our attitude really is – effective, healthy and empowered, or needing an “attitudinal adjustment.”
Application: pick an area in life that you’d like to bring more success to. Take a few deep breaths and observe from mindfulness… what do you see or hear from this quiet place?
“Every production of genius must be the production of enthusiasm.” Benjamin Disraeli
Enthusiasm re-frames problems and offers new perspectives…. it grows hope, optimism and gratitude, the great elixirs of transformation. Enthusiasm opens pathways to new ways of thinking which brings more choices in how to respond. Application: How can enthusiasm help you work effectively in the challenged areas of your life? Decide and take Action!
“You must make a decision that you are going to move on. It won’t happen automatically. You will have to rise up and say, “I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.” (Joel Olsteen). Solutions come through action.
Application: Strengthen your commitment to yourself. What action will you take to move through your challenges? Because thought precedes all action, what thoughts do you now need to think? What is that internal communication that needs to take place? Commit to action from these empowered thoughts. This is self-inspired, personal development at its best.
4. Affirm a positive, enthusiastic mindset to fuel consistent action
Constant, repeated self talk and images that are positive and rewarding, focus the subconscious from what we don’t want to what we do want (and believe we can create).
Be vigilant in catching thoughts and words to “release and replace.” E.g., thinking/saying “I’m always behind, there’s never enough time in the day” is a self-fulfilling prophecy…
Application: Affirm a new mindset and actions with “in-process” statements like “I have a new attitude! Each day and in every way, I’m more and more effective in accomplishing my goals!” Here’s one of my favorite daily affirmations based on the Hindu word of “Namaskar”:
“I salute the divinity in myself.
I am strong and able.
I can do all that I need to do this day.
My mind is alert, my body vital and healthy and my way will be strewn with golden opportunities.
No matter what this day may bring to me, there is in me that which is great enough to meet it, overcome it, and be blessed by it!”
5. Make the word “Perseverance” a part of your vocabulary. Be Persevering for and with Enthusiasm!
Norman Vincent Peale couldn’t say enough about it: “Enthusiasm spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.”
Application: When challenge comes, what if enthusiasm became your first response mechanism? Imagine the stress prevention that would take place in this one small technique?
Success or Failure, Mediocrity or Accomplishment, Attitude makes all the difference because it’s a “now” process that activates the happiness, peace and prosperity in the NOW, guaranteeing a future that just keeps getting better and better, no matter what.
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