In working with companies and organizations to assist them in improving customer and workplace relationships, emotional intelligence, communication and people skills, I have found that everything begins and ends with attitude. Your attitude will either light up the room and get everyone singing your praises, or it will destroy relationships.

"Happiness is a function of accepting what is."
Werner Erhard

Even extremely positive people have moments when they grumble, groan, and glimpse the worst instead of the best in life's ever-changing events. The difference is that they don't dwell on them, and they work feverishly to find the good in a harmful or undesirable situation. Keeping an optimistic attitude in the face of adverse events is a challenge to even the most confident of souls.

It often takes some tools to shift perspectives during difficult, discouraging, and trying times. Optimists live for the light and look hard to see rays of hope filtering through the darkness. To put an optimistic spin on negativity, and break away from gloomy, dismal, or depressing thoughts, use these attitude adjusters to light your way:

Flip Side Exercise

"Nothing worries the pessimist like the optimist who says there's nothing to worry about." Source unknown

This mind-bending game is based on the principle that a kernel of good is usually planted inside every situation, no matter how dismal it may appear. Holding to this belief can miraculously twist your perspective when the unexpected happens. For example:

* If you hate your job, at least you have one.
* If you don't have a job, new opportunities await you.
* If you're involved in a fender bender, thank your lucky stars that
you weren't injured.
* If your computer crashes, while it is tear-your-hair-out frustrating, it
can be repaired or replaced (hopefully, your files were all backed up
to make it less of a technological tragedy!).

Trying to find the flip side of your negative attitude may be laborious, especially when life's complications multiply stress. At these times, you have to dig down deep and put your frustrations in perspective to remember what's important. It takes some doing to focus on what's right, rather than bad since our minds usually start cranking "full speed ahead" when it comes to the inconveniences, the impossibilities, and the difficulties that are stirred up by life's many surprises.

To focus on the flip side, try this: carry a pocket-size notebook with you everywhere. When something goes wrong (which is simply life in the process, just not according to your plan), write down what happened. Then, look at the flip side (remember, you may have to dig deep to see what might be good about it). Another option is to record these events at the end of the day, to discover that kernel of good. Viewing your challenges and frustrations from a "What's good about this?" perspective can change your attitude:

* Lost your job? While the timing or financial situation may not be
perfect, you're now free to put your talents to work in a new place with the potential for more significant opportunities.
* Broke your leg and wearing a cast? Your cast will capture signatures of friends, plus you'll get extra attention, exclusive privileges, and some TLC, too. Your bones will eventually heal, and you'll cast out that cast.
* Didn't get into your first pick of colleges? Your other choices will also offer new places to dream, learn, explore, and make friends.

By seeing a glimmer of good in every situation, your attitude will at least be headed in a positive direction, and that is the start of something good!

"A pessimist can hardly wait for the future so he can look back with regret." Source unknown

Ground Yourself in Gratitude

Too often, life's challenges can infect our attitude, sapping our energy, and rendering us unhappy and less productive. We resent the very presence of uncomfortable and undesirable experiences, cursing them as the scourge of our happiness. We may question, "Why this? Why now?" Satisfaction is always a choice, although not still the most comfortable option to select.

To combat the negative forces that suck our energy and enthusiasm, take a gratitude check. Take a moment to reflect on and appreciate the multitude of gifts so often made for granted-family, friends, the beauty of nature, and life's simple pleasures and treasures. When you feel depressed, lonely, angry, jealous, or impoverished, it may seem nearly impossible to embrace any feelings of being grateful. However, this is precisely the time to count your blessings. When your heart is aching, your career is in question, or a relationship in doubt, take stock. Look hard, and don't overlook the obvious. From your perspective, you may not have the whole pie, but some of the slices are delicious and yours to enjoy right now. Concentrating on what you have, rather than what you don't have, grounds you in gratitude.

" You can never get to peace and inner security without first acknowledging all of the good things in your life. If you're forever wanting and longing for more without first appreciating things the way they are, you'll stay in discord."
Doc Childe and Howard Martin, The Heart Math Solution

Simplify Your Life and Watch Your Attitude Improve

" Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things."
Frank A. Clard

The stress and strain of life in the fast lane can take their toll. Examine what might be at the root of your anxiety and explore ways to reduce it. Monitor the causes of your stressors and the impact they have on your life. Determine what you might be able to change to help elevate your attitude. Then commit to taking action. 

Check out a recent Zoom call session with Arnold Sanow and Josef Martens and the leadership group he facilitates on How to create enduring human connections in a virtual world

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