Here in this spectacular valley in northwest Argentina, where we have 320+ days of sunny weather each year, it's pretty easy to have a positive outlook on life.
Truth be told though, you can have a positive outlook on life regardless of your environmental circumstances. It might take a little more effort if your surroundings are less pleasant. Nonetheless, your thoughts drive your attitude. If you allow your thoughts to drift into negative territory, your attitude will drift with them. On the other hand, if you consciously think positively, it will transform your attitude into a positive one.
Sometimes this can be difficult to do. It's worth it!
This week we'll examine some ways to improve your outlook, regardless of your physical circumstances.We'll look in on some advice by
Dr. Carmen Harra
, a relationship expert, and discuss other ideas about building a positive attitude.
Please read on, and enjoy!
What's the Biggest Factor in Your Outlook on Life?
, Dr. Harra offers a long list of positive affirmations which can help you change your attitude when something in your life or physical surroundings has you feeling negative.
Think it Doesn't Make a Difference? Try This!
Stand in front of a mirror and recite any of the statements she suggests. While you are repeating the script, try to frown. It's almost impossible! Try the opposite - say something negative, like "Woe is me" or "Life's a bitch - especially today" and try to smile while you say the negative things. Also very difficult.
Everything You Say Affects How You Feel
The affirmations suggested by Dr. Harra are very obviously designed to be uber-rosy, and they have the desired effect or uplifting one's attitude.
Many ways of speaking in the normal course of conversation can also be very important in shaping your outlook - even, or maybe especially, your self-talk. Negative words such as "can't", "won't", "not", "but", "bad" all have the effect of turning the speaker's attitude negative, and broadcasting a negative message, affecting all within earshot.
Little, seemingly unimportant, things like saying "please remember to..." instead of "please don't forget to..." make a difference. Instead of saying, "I don't have time to do Thing #2", try saying, "Thing #1 is more important now". Not only is the positive reminder good for everyone's sense of tranquility, it's more effective. A verb forms an action idea in the mind. The "not" concept is very difficult for the mind to interpret - and it usually hears only the verb. So when you say "don't forget", the mind interprets the verb "forget", but ignores the "not".
Correcting these Negative Tendencies is Difficult - And So Worth it!
It takes practice and careful discipline, especially if this is new to you, to learn to replace the negatives with positives. And it's easy, especially at first, to slip back into the old habits of making negative comments. When you catch yourself saying something negative, be aware of it - and correct it. The effort is worth it!
How about dealing with negative speakers in your life? My advice is - avoid them as much as possible. Absolutely refuse to argue with them - just ignore their negative comments. If you must respond, do your best to turn the tone of the conversation positive.
Trying not to Make Mistakes?
There's a Much Better Way!
In my stint as Chief Pilot which I've described in earlier issues of this letter, when I arrived in that position, we'd had a spate of "ground strikes". Operating on obstacle-ridden freight ramps, we had numerous instances of propellers or wingtips striking obstacles. The reaction by management to these incidents had been increasingly harsh reprimands and disciplinary action. The result of this treatment was that the pilots had the attitude of "trying not to make mistakes" - a very negative approach to performance.
We started having conversations about visualizing the successful outcome of each mission. As each pilot was preparing for his or her mission each night, I encouraged them to think about the desired result of the exercise - the airplane parked and tied down safely at its destination with the aircraft, cargo, and personnel all safe and sound.
In a startlingly short time (a few months) the record improved dramatically. From the time when we had an incident or two per month, we went quickly to having several months between incidents. A year later, ground strikes were so infrequent as to drop off management's "high priority" list.
So, think about how you think - it can make all the difference!