Seven keys to having a positive mental attitude Nancy Friedman Customer service, positive mental attitude, visualizing success
There's an old joke about a little girl who always had a great
attitude. She was always so happy and upbeat, but her brother was
just the opposite. One holiday, just to aggravate her and test her,
her mean brother gave her a box filled with horse manure. He was
tired of his sister always having such a positive attitude. He
thought surely this would fix her. Christmas day, when she opened
the box and saw the manure she exclaimed, "Whoopee! Where's the
Okay, okay...maybe you had to be there, but what a great
attitude! The topic of our monthly column is attitude. We'll list
some of the ways you can have a positive mental attitude despite
the challenges life may bring you.
Why do some people have such a great attitude and others a
negative one? Well, we wondered the same thing. Through our
research, we found seven "keys" that those with a positive mental
attitude all share. See how you rate.
Key no. 1: Choose your attitude in
When you wake up, you have a choice: You can be in a good mood or a
bad mood. You also choose your attitude. You can wake up and mutter
to yourself, "This is gonna be a cruddy day," or you can tell
yourself, "This is gonna be a great day!" That immediate choice is
the start of a great attitude. Youve already decided its going to
be a good one.
Key no. 2: Visualize success
Picture yourself having a successful day. Runners in the Boston
Marathon picture themselves crossing the finish linemaybe not in
first place, but still finishing the 26-mile race.
Self-visualization is a key factor in having a positive mental
attitude. Will it work 100 percent of the time? I wish it would.
However, by visualizing your success, you'll be able to have a
better handle on what does happen and a better chance of making it
Key no. 3: Demonstrate humor, energy and
We call these three items the magic ingredients because without
each one, creating a positive mental attitude will be very
difficult. First, humor: Normally, there is humor in every
situationfinding it is the key. Sometimes you'll need to stretch
and dig a little deeper to find the humor in a situation, but once
you do, you'll feel so much better. Second, energy: Without some
energy in your attitude, you'll be dragging behind everyone. Energy
is closely related to the third ingredient...enthusiasm. My father
used to tell me, "Nancy, enthusiasm is contagious; let's start an
Key no. 4: Resist negative influences
It's a fact. When we have a negative experience with a company,
we'll tell more people about it than if we have a good experience
with the same company. And many times, when you hear that some
place wasn't very good, you'll believe the person who told you and
choose not to do business with that company. However, you may only
be hearing half the story. Check things out for yourself,
especially if the negativity involves a person you work with or
know. I bet we've all heard negative things about someone we didn't
know, and then when we had the opportunity to meet them ourselves,
we find they're not that bad after all. In fact, they might even be
nice, but you need to be the judge. Take negativity out of your
life. Steer clear of those who drag you down and say negative
things all of the time. Being around other positive people is a
Key no. 5: Be a whatever-it-takes person Be a
problem solver. Life is going to put obstacles in front of all of
us. How we go around those obstacles is the key factor. Usually, a
good answer to every problem is put in front of us. Dale Carnegie
said it best. Ask yourself, "What is the worst thing that can
happen here?" And move up from that.
Key no. 6: Embrace change. Expect it and accept
Some people are very good at handling change...and some resist it a
lot. We had a fun saying at our house; I can still hear my father
saying it, "Nancy, the next time you change your mind...get a good
one." The major key to handling change is to accept it. Deal with
it. In most cases, theres little we can do to stop it.
Key no. 7: Be grateful for what you have
I'm not sure this key needs to be explained. So many people have so
much, and yet those same people are often the ones who constantly
complain. Why wait for some life-altering experience to become
grateful for all you have? Be grateful now before something bad
happens and makes you aware.
We know there are more keys to having a positive mental
attitude, but these are the first seven. Get these down pat, and
you'll find the rest falls into place.
Good luck. And remember, as long as you're going to do the job,
you might as well do it with a smile!
Nancy Friedman is president of Telephone Doctor Customer
Service Training in St. Louis and was an IndyMac Bank-sponsored
featured speaker at the NAMB 2005 Annual Convention and Exposition
in Minneapolis. For more information, call (314) 291-1012 or visit