Beliefnet
From the Masters

by Chris Widener

“Instead of spending your time thinking about how bad things are, think about how good they will be!”

Everyone knows that a positive attitude is key to the successful life. But what happens when things go wrong? What happens when circumstances deal us a blow?

We have a tendency to let our attitudes take the dive along with our state of affairs. Life deals us setbacks, both minor and major, on a regular basis, but if we are going to be successful, we need to know how to deal with them and keep ourattitudes intact! We need practical tools to help us understand how we can go about keeping our attitude up, when the circumstances are down. Here are some thoughts to help us do so:

Take some time-out. I’m sure you are aware of what happens. You are going about your day and everything seems to be going well, when out of nowhere disaster strikes. All of your best-laid plans begin to tumble. Sometimes circumstances surprise us and we react. Unfortunately, this often compounds the problem because by reacting we tend to operate out of ourweaknesses instead of our strengths. We make decisions that are not well thought out. We function with a bad attitude that says, “I can’t believe this is happening!”

The next time circumstances turn against you, take some time to just step back from the problem and think. This will enable you to deal with the issue at hand rationally,instead of emotionally. It will allow you to put your state of mind back into its proper place. It gives you the opportunity to choose your attitude as you face the circumstances at hand. Remember that we don’t have to do something right now. Go grab a cup of coffee and relax a little bit. By doing this you function with you being in control and not the circumstances.


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Keep your eye on the goal. A second step in keeping our attitude in the proper place is to make sure we keep the important things important. One of the biggest problems with trouble is that it gets your focus off of where it should be. When I experience difficult circumstances and people ask me how it is going, I tell them, “I am just keeping my eye on the goal.” It has always been fascinating to me that when race car drivers get into trouble, they keep their eyes straight ahead and do not move them away.There is just too much chance of wrecking that way. Instead, their eyes are on the goal, and this keeps them out of trouble. If you find yourself getting down about circumstances, sit down and write out what the goal is. Give some thought to how you can achieve that goal or others you may have.

A man was asked how he was doing and he responded, “Pretty well, under the circumstances.”The other man asked, “What are you doing under the circumstances?” Good question. We shouldn’t be under the circumstances. We should be focused on the goal and moving forward.

Focus on solutions, not problems.The squeaky wheel gets the grease, the old saying goes. Negative circumstances don’t sit idly by. They scream for our attention. When we face difficult circumstances, we tend to dwell on them. We talk about them, fret about them, and give them way too much attention. Instead of talking about problems, talk about solutions. Instead of spending your time thinking about how bad things are, think about how good they will be! Don’t have family or staff meetings about the problems and how big they are. Have meetings on the solutions and how you will implement them. Don’t let yourself or other team members complain. Encourage them to solve, with an emphasis on the positive results that will come from doing so. Then take some time to put these solutions down on paper, so you can monitor your progress.

Get some positive input.The mind tends to build on itself, so when we begin to go in one direction, i.e. worry, it can be a slippery slope. One thing we must dois get our thoughts back on track with positive ideas. When circumstances  have got you against the emotional wall, get with a good friend who can encourage you. Listen to a tape by Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar or another motivational speaker. Pick up a good book and give it a read. Whatever external influence you can get to put your attitudeback on the positive side of the tracks – do it! It
must be one of our first goals to start plugging good things into our minds to fuel our attitudes.

Tell yourself the good. One of the greatest internal powers we have is the power to control our thoughts. Spend time dwelling on the good things about your life or job instead of the problems. Think about positive things, things you enjoy and give you a sense of happiness and peace. There is an old childhood song that says, “Count your blessings, name them one by one.” That is great advice! Let your positive attitude develop from within as well as from without. This makes all the difference!

Remember that circumstances are not forever. Sometimes it seems like we are going tobe up to our eyeballs in the situation forever, when in reality, this too shall pass. There will be a time in the future when circumstances will change and you will be on the mountain instead of in the valley. This will give you a sense of hope as you live and work that will change your attitude, make you feel better and put you on the fast track for growth!

Some questions as we close:
Q. Do you have a habit of reflection before responding?
Q. Do you have a habit of keeping your eye on the goal?
Q. Do you focus on solutions or problems?
Q. Do you give yourself positive outside influence?
Q. Do you have a habit of telling yourself the good?
Q. Do you remind yourself that nothing is forever?


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