An attitude is something you choose to put on every day. It’s easy to be positive on a sunny, summer Friday afternoon before a long weekend. It’s not so easy to put on that same positive attitude day after day, especially when you’re facing challenging times at work or at home regarding health or money.
You might think your little comments and actions don’t matter. But in truth, everything
matters. Everything you think, say, do, and don’t do, affects others in some way.
About ten years ago, I attended a training program. On the very first night of the course,
the instructor had us all put elastic bands around our wrist. She said that anytime
someone said or thought something negative, they had to “snap” themselves.
Now, I thought I was a pretty positive person, but this exercise brought my negative thoughts to a very conscious level. It was a lot of fun, and it made me really aware of what I was saying and thinking, and how it might affect others.
I know it’s easy to find things to complain about. What you may not realize is the impact of these thoughts or words. When you spend all of your time thinking and talking about what you don’t like, you’re creating negative feelings for yourself and everyone around you.
I’ve had a lot of helpful reminders that keep my complaints in perspective.
Firstly, I had the opportunity to meet a lot of newcomers to Canada, which gave me a much bigger picture of the tribulations people in less developed countries face everyday.
It also made me grateful that I live in a safe community, close to the people I love. Living with diabetes, I’m also thankful for easy access to the medicine and nutrient-rich food I need to stay healthy.
Secondly, one summer I was invited to be an inspirational speaker at a camp for kids with
diabetes. These kids had to take injections any where from 4 to 8 times daily and had
their blood tested 4 to 6 times daily (including during the night, when someone would
wake them up).
These kids had a lot to complain about, and yet they didn’t. During family week, I posed this question to the group, “what are you grateful for”? One of the campers, a 6-year-old girl, told how grateful she was for her family. She said it can’t be easy to live with someone with diabetes, that her Mom worries about her a lot and has to be so careful how she prepares the family meals – wow!
There‟s a lesson for all of us.
Lastly, my wife’s aunt was diagnosed with cancer, and was told she only had a year to live. After that, she lived her life as she always had, as a positive person who never complained. And she lived that way for ten more years.
A lot of our complaints are about things we have no control over, like traffic and the weather. When I think about my fellow travelers around the world, the kids from the diabetes camp and my wife’s aunt, it helps me adjust my attitude and remember that these complaints are pretty trivial compared to what others are dealing with.
Now I invite you to think about the last three hours of your day. Have your thoughts, words and actions been positive or negative? Were you pleasant and courteous or impatient and critical?
You can make a shift here. Be more conscious of how you start each conversation. Choose to tell positive stories. Try saying “thank you”. Use someone’s name when they’re serving you in a store or restaurant. Pay someone a genuine compliment.
You can be a positive influence on someone else’s day.
Once you put on your positive attitude in the morning, it’s your job to keep it on. Of course you will have bad days and unpleasant things will happen, but it’s how you choose to react to these situations that are important. You can acknowledge these events and then let them go, and slip right back into your positive attitude.
The Gem – When you choose to be positive, you will notice and attract positive things.
Your Piggy Bank Payment – Perform a “random act of kindness” to make someone’s day.
On the Write Track – Start your own gratitude journal and aim to make an entry every single day. Write about what you’re grateful for, and include the things YOU did to make a positive impact on the world.