Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Keeping A Positive Attitude

 


Most of us have heard or read many a message about the importance of having a positive attitude. However, if you are like me, I need to be reminded regularly in my life journey about the powerful impact my attitude has on myself and others around me! To a great degree, your attitude will determine your impact, your peace and your legacy.

My absolute favorite quote about the importance of a positive attitude is from Chuck Swindoll:

" The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failure, than success, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church or a home. The remarkable thing is that we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change the past. Nor can we change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We also cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is a our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you--- we are in charge of our attitudes."

Over the years, I have remembered and often quoted this to my myself and to others. Much of life truly is determined by how we respond to people and to situations. Our success in life and in business, regardless of the business we are in, is greatly determined by our attitude. We have all known people who had all the gifts, skills and head knowledge to be very successful yet for some reason they never seem to fully reach their potential. There are many others who may be somewhat lacking in formal education and/ or great skills, yet they have been able to reach a high level of success in business and significance in life. I believe that one of the key determining factors to their success has to do with their positive attitude. A positive attitude is a game changer and is often the key determining factor.

In a study done several years ago, The Carnegie Institute concluded that 15 percent of success is due to skill development, education and technical training. The other 85 percent is due to personality, and the key personality trait the research identified was attitude!

So, how does one keep a positive attitude? It's easy when everything is going your way and life is good. And, while some people seem to possess a naturally positive attitude, I believe most of us have to work at it. But how do you develop and maintain a positive attitude through the many ups and downs of your life as well as your business? Or, if you're struggling to be positive, how do you change your attitude?

As a Christian, I find my hope in Christ, and I look to the teachings of Jesus, the Bible and to certain Christian authors or teachers for inspiration, guidance and direction.

Here are SIX IMPORTANT KEYS I've discovered over the years that help me keep and maintain a positive attitude and/or change my attitude:

1) Take Heart in Christ

" I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world."

- Jesus, John 16:33

"Guard your heart above all else for it determines the course of your life." - Proverbs 4:23

By God's grace, I strive to be defined by how Jesus views me and my heart not by how others may view me. This is the condition of my heart - Through Christ I am saved by God's grace not by anything that I have done or need to do. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Therefore, I take heart in the fact that I am a new creature in Christ designed to live an abundant life and to fulfill His purpose for my life. He came to set all of us free to live life as an adventure. We can experience His peace in our hearts in the midst of the many trials and sorrows. Take heart, we are overcomers through Christ! Remember, the Word of God is your sword (Ephesians 6:17), and your greatest defensive and offensive weapon when it comes to protecting your heart and your attitudes.

2) Seek to have the attitude of Christ

" You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had."

- Paul, Philippians 2:5

Jesus was humble. Jesus looked for the best in others. Jesus didn't ever seek revenge. Jesus forgave. Jesus fully trusted in the Father as his source. Jesus sought to serve rather than to be served. I seek to remind myself each day to have the attitude of Jesus in my feelings towards others and my dealings with all people and circumstances.

3) Think on positive things

" Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-- think on these things."

- Paul, Philippians 4:8

Thoughts precede actions. Therefore, your thoughts will determine your ultimate direction. What you think about impacts what you talk about which impacts the actions you take and the decisions you make. That's one reason the Bible tells us to take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5) If we will "think on these things", as described in Philippians, we will see a shift in our attitude!

4) Choose to be with positive people

" So encourage each other and build each other up... Paul, 1 Thessalonians 5:11

" A friend loves at all times." - Proverbs 17:17

" He who walks with wise people will be wise. But the companion of fools will suffer harm." - Proverbs 13:20

" Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good character." - 1 Corinthians 15:33

It is vital, I have learned, to choose my close friends very carefully. My closest friends are very strong Christ followers who have very positive attitudes. They build me up and encourage me, but they are also people who are not afraid to speak truth into my life.

I'm very blessed to have my wife as my best friend. I also have several very close friends that I see and talk to regularly. It's hard for me to imagine having a positive attitude in my life without my wife, my kids, my close friends and my church family.

5) Speak positively

The Bible teaches that your words have the power to impact you and others!

" The words of the godly are a life giving fountain." - Proverbs 10:11

"How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey." - Psalms 119:103

" Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." - Paul, Ephesians 4:29

My friend, Dr. Jay Wolf, Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church in Montgomery, wrote an excellent article a months ago about the power of words. He is exactly right when he states we have to learn to manage our mouths for the sake of others and for our own sakes too. Because it impacts our attitude and the attitudes of others around us.

Author John Maxwell states that if you want to change your attitude then you must do the following two things:

First,

Say the right words

Read the right books

Listen to the right teachings

Be with the right people

Do the right things

Pray the right prayers

Second,

Do number one every day, not just once or only when you feel like it, and watch your life change for the better.

6) Pray Positive Prayers

I pray everyday. I try to pray specifically about particular situations, and, often, I pray out loud when I'm by myself. I'm honest with the Lord in my prayers and sometimes I will vent to the Lord if I'm discouraged or upset. But I also claim His promises and pray positively and boldly claiming His grace and power over my life, my marriage, my family, my church and my friends!

I close with this. One of my favorite prayers that helps me stay positive and at peace in the ups and downs of life is the Serenity Prayer written by Reinhold Niebuhr. I encourage you to look it up and read it in it's entirety. But here is the first part of this powerful prayer which I pray regularly:

The Serenity Prayer

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

The courage to change the things I can.

And the wisdom to know the difference...."

Practice these six keys to keeping a positive attitude, and I believe you will see a major difference in your outlook on life! You will also experience the joy of having a positive impact on everyone around you!

 

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