Pondering Gratitude & Positivity

Gratitude-Norman-Vincent-PealeWhen was the last time you thought about gratitude? How you approach life each day largely determines how you feel about your day. If you have a positive approach to life and to yourself; if you feel and express your gratitude,  even your toughest days will feel tolerable. Thinking positively is the key to living a satisfying, fulfilled life.

Mitchell Moore’s Famous Quote About Positivity

Mitchell Moore is believed to have once said, “Attitude is everything.” In other words, how you approach your day or a situation determines how that day or situation will go. Thinking positively is a fairly simple personal rule to remember. However, putting it into practice in your daily life can be more challenging

Peter McWilliams’ Thoughts on Positivity

“The road to positivity is strewn with the abandoned vehicles of the faint-hearted.” Peter McWilliams made this astute observation about the challenges of thinking positive. To translate this idea into everyday English: To be positive, you must persevere.

Norman Vincent Peale and The Power of Positive Thinking

Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking, formulated several fascinating thoughts about approaching life in a positive way. He said, ‘”We tend to get what we expect.'” One interpretation of this saying is that whatever we expect or believe will occur will indeed come to pass. So, if you believe that you’ll do well on a work project, you will. If you expect not to do well, then you likely won’t.

Dr. Peale also said, “Change your thoughts and you change your world.” The beauty of this statement is that it gives incredible hope. The implication is that if you can take hold of your thoughts, you can think your way into success. Positivity rules again.

Positivity: Illustration and Discussion

Consistently thinking positive can be challenging. Maybe your self-confidence isn’t as strong as it could be. If this is the case, you may need to take a leap of faith to think positively. Perhaps you ponder, “But what if I make a fool of myself?” or, “Maybe my co-worker is smarter than I am.”

Consider this illustration:

You’re up for a promotion at work. How will you think about the situation? What do you believe about yourself as it relates to the possibility of receiving the promotion? Here are three ways to approach this matter:

  1. Assume you won’t be selected for the job. After all, you didn’t get straight A’s in school. And that new Vice President hardly ever speaks to you. You think you won’t be chosen.
  2. Decide you don’t care either way. Whether you get the promotion or not isn’t important. It doesn’t matter. This way of thinking demonstrates the easy way out. You don’t have to put any emotional energy into something when you don’t care.
  3. Dare to think you’ll be selected to receive the promotion. You believe you’re smart enough to be chosen. And you know that you work hard, so others probably see that you’re a good candidate. You’ve decided to think positive!

How can you come out of this situation feeling fine, no matter what happens?

Let’s consider each approach to the possible promotion.

Most likely, if you respond like #1 and don’t receive the promotion, you won’t feel very positive. After all, not getting the promotion will now serve as confirmation of what you believe about yourself, that you won’t be successful. However, even if you do get the promotion, you may believe you don’t deserve it. Because of a negative approach, you may feel unhappy even if you get what you want.

If you react as in #2, then you don’t care either way. You’ve convinced yourself that nothing is important enough to invest in it. Your life goes on the same. When you don’t care about something, the end result is irrelevant. However, if the end result truly doesn’t matter, you may not particularly enjoy getting the promotion if you actually do. You’ve deprived yourself of joy by completely detaching from the situation.

But if you react like #3, you go into the situation feeling hopeful, excited, and energized. If you’re chosen, you’ll be reinforced for your positive thinking and re-energized for the work ahead of you.

Even if you aren’t selected, you’ll only experience brief disappointment. After a short letdown, you’ll remind yourself that with your intelligence and perseverance, something good will soon come along. You simply can’t lose by approaching life’s events with positive thinking.

Pondering positivity is worth your time. When you aren’t sure about how to think about a situation, remember Norman Vincent Peale’s quotes on approaching life in a positive way. Consider Peter McWilliams’s point and Mitchell Moore’s famous quote. Attitude truly is everything; with enough positivity, you can change your life.

1 Comment

  1. Laurence Hansen on June 6, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    An essential counterpoint to the perspective of a positive attitude going into any situation is avoiding attachment to the result.

    You may go into an interview with absolute confidence that you are the best candidate for the job and that you will be chosen for the job.

    REALITY CHECK! You may not be chosen for the job.

    FACT: You are not in control of the result if someone else is making the decision!

    This is just a fact of life. The interviewer may have a prejudice against your shade of hair, eye color or the fact that you wear bronze colored wire-rimmed glasses. The interviewer may not even be aware of this prejudice because it is buried in her (or his) subconscious mind.

    Truly, a positive outlook and optimistic attitude is essential for success but in most situations you are not in control of the outcome. If you were in control, your attitude would be irrelevant – you would simply make the decision that most satisfies you.

    When you are not in control of the outcome, your optimistic, positive attitude is a vital difference-maker. It is the edge that can put you above all other contenders. But it is not a guarantee of success.

    After several other auditions I once auditioned for a part in a community theatre production of “The Caine Mutiny Court Martial.” I had a commitment to be out of town for one of the performance weekends so I knew I could not be chosen for the part I auditioned for. Therefore I had no attachment to the result.

    I focused on the quality of my audition, not the result. It was the best audition of my life in community theatre!

    I was completely relaxed because my “life” did not depend on the result. I was not attached to the result of being chosen or “rejected” for the part. I simply focused on doing the best I could do with the skills and experience I brought to the audition.

    One of the best philosophies you can have about any “competition” is something I heard over and over from my son when he was a competitive long-distance runner. Focus on your “PR”. That is your Personal Record.” (Many times this is called your “Personal Best.”)

    To me, this is the most positive perspective you can have in life.

    Whatever your current circumstances, challenges or disabilities, you can always do your very best to achieve a new “personal best.” In numerical terms it may not be the best you have ever accomplished, but if it is the very best you can possibly achieve in the current circumstances, it is a Personal Best and it is something to be proud of.

    If you go into any situation with a positive expectancy about your performance you can be a success regardless of the result and be prepared to confidently move on to the next challenge you experience in life.

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