We’ve all heard the age-old phrases “Attitude is Everything”, “Keep Your Chin Up”, “When Life Gives You Lemons…Make Lemonade”, “Whether You Think You Can or Can’t…You’re Right” and “Look on the Bright Side” but we may have discounted them as just things people say. In fact, they are good advice that could directly affect our success and happiness.
It’s not what happens in your life that matters in the end. It’s how you react to it.
My father generally had a smile on his face and I can’t remember him being worried about anything. I’m sure he was at times, but I didn’t see it. His generation didn’t “wear their feelings on their sleeve”, how he used to say. They bucked up and took care of business. They got the job done with little complaining and they focused on doing that job right. It meant something to them and, after all, they didn’t have video games, Snapchat, streaming TV shows or Facebook to get back to.
It’s easy to be fooled when looking at other people’s lives, into thinking that people around you have it so much better than you do. They are happier, have more money, things just seem to work out in their favor. Sure there are those cases. But, most of the time, there’s much more under the surface than you think and the grass isn’t really greener in their lives than in your own. Especially when times are tough and you are struggling to pay the bills.
When you look close into other people’s lives, who seem happy and successful, you’ll find a positive attitude and a choice to be happy. You see, it does no good to worry about anything, especially things you can’t control. And a positive attitude is not only healthy for you, but it’s also contagious to those around you and helps everyone.
When looking at successful or happy people (the two aren’t always synonymous) I see four main things that seem to make them special and unlike others. They refuse to dwell on the negatives and have the mindset that, I will be happy and successful no matter what happens today. And I will be happy and successful tomorrow”. It doesn’t mean they don’t have bad days. They just choose not to dwell on it. Some, like my dad, wouldn’t ever even show it.
Before I share the list of four things you can do to become more happy and successful, try this for a moment…The next time you feel like you’ve been kicked in the stomach when things are tough or you are in unhappy circumstances, do this. Get someplace alone and quiet. Close Your Eyes and turn off your phone and radio etc. Open your mind and take an honest look at the big picture of your life. Not the circumstances of today but your whole picture. Your family, marriage, friendships, kids, home, pets, job, etc. Look at all of it as a 3rd party observer. Is it all bad? What about all of this is good? Begin to make a mental list and tell yourself the good things that you see. Don’t just think “ok ok I got it” and not do the exercise. Do It! If you do this, I know you will find good things to list. More importantly, for your own mindset, think about people who don’t have those things that you do. People who don’t have that marriage, friendship, child, job, opportunity, body, hair, home, pet, etc. There are people that have it much tougher than you do. I heard one time that there’s more good than bad around the corner…it’s just the bad that stands out more.
Here are the four things I notice about happy and/or successful people that you can do to improve your life today:
- Consciously being aware that your attitude makes all the difference between a good day and one that’s not so good. Concentrate on developing those positive affirmations about what’s good in your life. These will help you put today in perspective. Make having a positive attitude your number one priority. If you notice it slipping, get it right back up again. Don’t delay taking action on this. The more aware you become about your attitude the easier you will learn to control it.
- Realize that the better you develop your skills (people skills, sales skills, presentation skills, writing skills, etc) the more confident you will be and the better your attitude will be as a result. The more confident you are, the more you will let roll off your back without affecting your attitude and happiness.
- Realize that your success and happiness are tied to the circumstances of today much less than you think they are. Happiness and Joy are a choice. Success is how you perceive it. Success does not need to mean you’ve reached your pinnacle, your top. It means you have achieved something and feel good about it. The more you think about the positive things in your life, the more you’ll see the success you’ve been chasing all along.
- Written goals and wishes. Almost nobody does this and it’s what most successful and/or happy people seem to do. I would say all of them do it, but I know people who “fly by the seat of their pants” and they’re extremely happy…..and oblivious to reality. But, down here on Earth, we need to write our goals and wishes out and keep it with us in our planner or somewhere you can see it daily. Usually, I start my day with a planning session and prayer. It’s a time for me to reflect on my life, goals, things I need to fix, things I’m grateful for, people I’m praying for, things I need to get done today and things I need to work on to keep it moving down the road to completion. It’s okay to mix your faith with work. That’s life.
Tips for staying positive:
- Read something uplifting or something that teaches you something useful every day.
- Listen to something you enjoy every day. (music, comedy, a podcast you like, etc)
- Stay busy and don’t forget to take some time to focus on others. Selflessness and generosity are the keys to feeling like you’re connected to a bigger purpose.
- Play a game with negative things in your life, big and small. Try to find the good in each negative thing. Every closed door opens another. Even purely negative things teach you something or help to make you stronger. So there’s always something good in everything negative.
I hope all of you are healthy and happy. But if you’re not, I at least hope my article helped you in some way.