In his book The Winning Attitude, John C. Maxwell, noted author and speaker tells us that attitude is:

  • The “advance man” of our true selves
  • Has inward roots but outward fruits
  • Is our best friend or worst enemy
  • Is more honest and more consistent than our words
  • Is an outward look based on past experiences
  • Is a think which draws people to us or repels them
  • Is never content until it is expressed
  • Is the librarian of our past
  • Is the speaker of our present
  • Is the prophet of our future

Your attitude, or your willingness to think positively, affects many people—from your family to the stranger you smile at in the grocery store. An optimist will see opportunity in difficulties, while a pessimist will see difficulty in opportunities.

You must choose which you will focus on: if you choose poorly, you will doom yourself to never achieving your goals and being successful. Count on that.

So how do you begin to think positively if you’re a natural pessimist? I don’t really believe there ARE natural pessimists, just people who have been taught how to consider the darkest side of every cloud.

You cannot change the fact that a problem exists, but you can do a lot to determine what opportunity is within that problem. Begin to see that problems are a fact of life and that your job is to find a way over, around, under, or through them—as quickly as possible. When you’re upbeat and consider how quickly a problem will be behind you, it’s easy to be optimistic.

Cynicism is another killer when it comes to attitude. It’s a cousin of pessimism—it considers everything suspect and everyone as having an ulterior motive. It never looks at someone handing you a piece of candy just to be nice, it always considers that there is a reason you’re being handed the candy and the motivation of the person who’s giving it.

Cynicism comes from having unrealistic expectations. Many people expect great and wonderful things to happen to them with little-to-no work on their parts. They expect things to fall from the sky in to their laps. When it doesn’t happen as they expect, they become suspicious of others who have achieved success and ultimately, cynical.

You must harness the power of your thoughts and words when setting your course for success. Use positive affirmations daily: remind yourself that a stumbling block is temporary and that you will overcome it; admit to yourself that you are courageous and able to move on when others cannot; agree with your vision for your life and your goals.

As you discipline yourself to do this, you will find optimism and positive thinking chasing you down the street. And who couldn’t use these two friends when we’re aiming for success?


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