Posted by brian | Posted in Articles, Feature Length | Posted on 09-05-2012
Why a Positive Attitude is Vital to Achievement (vol. 26)
By David Byrd
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a professional seeking to achieve in your field is to disregard the importance of a positive attitude. Time and time again I have heard positive attitude described as a “soft skill,” but the reality is that most of the dysfunction in business and personal achievement can be traced back to the root cause of – you guessed it – negative, ineffective thinking habits.
Before we can discuss the benefits of developing a positive attitude, we must delve into what a consistently negative attitude produces over time. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that we are all instinctively hard wired for negative thinking. All you have to do is watch the news to observe this phenomenon. But what is the harm in a little negative thinking – isn’t it good to have a little healthy skepticism?
Absolutely not, and here’s why:
It’s important to remember here that our natural, human instincts are concerned only with safety and comfort, and in order to keep you safe, your established habit of thinking must be maintained, and that is why the negative-thinking habit of pessimism is so common. When you think negatively, your brain instinctively interprets that pessimism as a protective mechanism of security, and your habit of pessimism is reinforced constantly. However, the habitual perspective of pessimism will eventually become a comfortable thinking habit, and that leads to unproductive habits of thought.
In other words, you develop negative attitudes. Upon these ineffective thinking habits you begin to build “comfort zones” for yourself that impede your own growth. When you are working toward achievement, the last thing you want to do is stunt your growth, but that is exactly what negative thinking habits and negative attitudes produce. Managing a positive, effective attitude is difficult because it is not your natural instinct, but you must develop the capacity to manage a positive attitude if you want to achieve.
Without question, the long-term benefits of maintaining a positive attitude are far more desirable than the long-term effects of a negative attitude. While the result of a consistently negative attitude is lack of growth, the long-term result of a consistent, positive attitude is fulfillment and achievement. A positive attitude fosters creativity, manages fear, has an expectation for success, and nurtures faith.
How do I start developing a positive attitude?
Manage your thought life
Every thought you entertain during the day is either positive or negative. There really is no in-between or neutral thought. Every moment of your thinking pattern during the day either serves your growth or serves your stagnation, so it imperative that you steer your thinking pattern toward positive thought. Growth is absolutely essential to achievement.
Many people describe their attitude as neutral – neither positive nor negative. However, since everything in nature is either growing or decaying, there can be no neutral positions. You and your thoughts are alive and dynamic. The thinking patterns that determine your attitudes either work to bring about your growth or work to bring about your decline.
Unleash your creativity
A positive attitude fosters creativity. Creativity cannot exist in negative thought. For example, it is impossible to discover a creative solution by thinking about all the impossibilities. Your mind cannot entertain creativity and negative thought at the same time.
To find a creative solution, you must think in terms of the possibilities rather than the impossibilities. When you are met with a problem, allow yourself to brainstorm freely without any of the usual negative filters. You might be surprised by what is produced by a mind that is unencumbered by the negative…the possibilities are endless! The fastest way to promote achievement is to believe it to be possible. Again, that requires the management of a consistent, positive attitude.
Control your fears
Everyone is challenged by the emotion of fear. Fear is a natural, human emotion that instinctively causes us to respond with a defensive reflex to any perceived threat. If left unmanaged, your attitudes will be controlled by the emotion of fear.
For example, if you set a goal that requires you to do new things, these new activities will seem uncomfortable at first. That is normal, but you may instinctively respond with fearful feelings because the new activities are uncomfortable. You psychologically interpret those fearful feelings as “risks” or “dangers,” while in fact these new activities may not be dangerous at all … but you will naturally respond with negative feelings.
You cannot possibly expect to grow and not confront new activities, skills, and responsibilities. If you allow your natural responses of fear to direct your thinking, you will personally sabotage your opportunities for achievement by choosing to quit or not to act. Most of the people who fail to achieve did not fail at all. They simply allowed fear to control their thinking and quit. The fear of risk and the unknown were stronger than their desire to achieve.
Armed with a new level of awareness of how and why negative attitudes are instinctive, you now understand why a positive attitude development program is vital to your growth, success, and achievement. You must develop a positive, productive attitude. It will never happen naturally, but just because it is not natural does NOT mean you cannot do it!
Inspiring genuine growth and achievement in leaders, David Byrd has 30 years of experience working with top business executives and their organizations. He is a master of effective leadership and works closely with leaders worldwide to maximize their leadership potential. For more information about The Next-Level Achievement System or David’s book, Achievement – A Proven System For Next Level Growth, visit http://www.authorsup.com/David-Byrd.