I've been thinking about this topic for awhile. Lately, I've noticed my generally optimistic attitude and "can do" mentality become less than positive. I see it in my Blog and in the way I wake up in the morning. This was because I reasoned that my circumstances were hard and that it was consequently ok to be a bit depressed. Boy, I'm embarrased to admit that I haven't been acting or moving with a positive attitude lately. I've always told people that we are all people who are responsable for our actions and choices. In other words, we are all "response" "able". We are "able" to choose appropriate "responses". We ought not to feel forced into our situations. We are always able to choose how we react and behave. I've been turning this around and I have been preaching this to myself lately.
When it came to applying Business School, the decision to go was clear. But the amount of work it takes tends to create tunnel vision for many of us. Including me. We are focused on the little things and we forget that "it was our choice" to do all this. Nobody is making us do all this. Some might argue that our career paths require "forced" steps like getting an MBA. This is true. But the MBA serves our goals in the long run. It gives "us" choices in the future. I think we ALL need to be careful of falling into the "victim" mentality.
I'm a big fan of war movies and one of the true front line leadership actions one takes with people who are overly negative, freaking out or are causing havoc is to remove them from the front line. Negativity impacts not only our own affectiveness, but of those around us. What kind of future leaders are we to become if we don't do our best to make daily choices to maintain a winning/successful attitude?
Our self-image is everything. This is very different from self-esteem. REPEAT: self-image and self-esteem are different. Self-esteem is connected to feelings of worth and value and goodness and badness. That's not what I'm talking about.
Self-image is more connected with how you see you. And it is non-judgmental. Self-image is the roles you see yourself playing, the hats you can visualize yourself wearing. Examples are: husband, father, teacher, leader, farmer, lawyer, MBA grad, leader, whatever.
When something is not in your self-image and it presents itself then there is conflict. It is possible for me to be the next President of the United States (ridiculously improbable, yet possible) but that, quite frankly is not in my self-image. That is, I can't picture myself in that role. If it were to start to become a reality, I would grow increasinly more uncomfortable with myself and probably engage in some form of self-sabatage. I just can't picture myself doing that.
As a rule, people aspire to be successful. In fact, there is an almost unspoken expectation that people try to succeed at something. This makes perfect sense, given that people are socialized through early family and peer group experiences as well as through the educational system and the mass media to value "winning", "achievement", "reaching for the stars", and being "all you can be". When not taken to the extreme, being successful becomes an important and positive goal to value. What's more, success can feel especially satisfying when it is achieved in several areas of one's life simultaneously, such as work, school, athletics, and relationships. The process of achieving success, however, can often feel frustrating and, at times, quite aggravating, for while most persons have been socialized to succeed, few really know what it takes to actually do so. It seems true that definitions of success vary depending upon whom you talk to and depending upon the context within which it occurs. If you asked ten people to define success, you're likely to get ten slightly different definitions. Common to most definitions of success, however, is the belief that success is the result of "thinking" and "behaving" in ways consistent with the desired outcome. In other words, a large part of a person's success results from their strong, heart-felt belief that success is possible and from them executing "doing" behavior. Studies of highly successful people, for example, consistently reveal that they are mentally and psychologically focused. They have a solid belief in themselves and in their ability to accomplish that which they have set out to do. Highly successful people are driven toward predetermined and well thought out goals with a desire that tolerates few, if any, distractions. They tend to dwell on the rewards of success and not on the penalties for failure. They also tend to focus on past victories, not past defeats. Highly successful people have little doubt that they will succeed. In fact, they expect to do so. Also, their appraisal of what they can and can't do highlights their strengths within the context of real vs. perceived weaknesses. They take full responsibility for the outcome of any situation in which they have invested time and energy, whether what results is "good" or "bad". They tend not to blame their fortune or misfortune on such things as luck, karma, happenstance, accidents, or being in the right place at the right time.
I found this article on developing a winning attitude. I thought it was pretty good and am enclosing it below:
How to Develop a Winning Attitude
"Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probable reason why so few engage in it." -Henry Ford Man's ability over all other creatures on this Earth is the ability to think. All successful people use this talent to improve their lives and control their own destiny. Only you can take the initial step toward the unleashing of the power within your own mind. The power is awesome and at times can be frightening. However, man has abilities of the mind that many people can not or would not believe. Anthony Robbins has recently written a book entitled "Unlimited Power" which explains in simple terms the theories of Neuro Linguistic
Programming, the power of the mind and how to gain control and use it. NLP was originally developed by John Grinder and Richard Bandler as a communication system using the central nervous system. Through this system Mr. Robbins has put forth a complete outline on how to unleash your "performance power" and achieve goals that before you probably felt were impossible. The first step in using your true mental abilities is understanding what Mr. Robbins refers to as the seven triggering mechanisms that is sure success.
1. Passion - All truly successful people such as Lee Iacocca have a driving force within them that sets them apart from others. A desire, an energy that gives them the fuel to reach their true potential. This force is a part of them 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It never subsides. Their total existence is sustained for the fulfillment of their goals. The passion within this individual to achieve has been so deeply implanted, that their mental power is driven by this force and will not let them do anything other than achieve.
2. Belief - "They can because they think they can"-Virgil. You will only make $100,000 this year if you first believe you can. If you do not believe you can you are telling yourself you want it, but it is truly not obtainable. The truth of life is that man's limits are self imposed by what the mind is given to believe. If you expand your belief of your own abilities, you will also expand your true realm of accomplishment. A man of whom all are aware, lived his life with adversity, but he constantly believed he could achieve.
* Failed in business at age 31
* Was defeated in a legislative race at age 32
* Failed again in business at age 34
* Overcome death of sweetheart at age 35
* Had a nervous breakdown at age 36
* Lost an election at age 38
* Lost a congressional race at age 43
* Lost a congressional race at age 46
* Lost a congressional race at age 48
* Lost a Senatorial race at age 55
* Failed to become Vice President at age 56
* Lost a Senatorial race at age 58
* Was elected President of the United States at age 60
With all the adversity that faced him, President Abraham Lincoln had no reason to continually try other than the fact that he believed it was his destiny and measure of success to accomplish this task. "Man is what believes" -Anton Checkhov
3. Strategy - A strategy is your game plan of life. The road map you will use to accomplish your goals, ambitions and desires. Just to believe you can earn $100,000 a year is not enough, you must design a strategy that gives your life direction and navigates you toward success. The key to strategy is to design a proper strategy to achieve your success without the detours of life, to find the shortest distance between two points.
4. Clarity of Values - Man must first determine which things in life are most valuable to him. He must determine his feeling about such things as patriotism, pride, love, freedom, excellence, ownership and tolerance. These are values in society, the moral, ethical and fundamental judgements that we, as individuals, deem important. Without a clear system of values for ourselves, it is impossible to believe in something with a passion that has no value to us. Once we have established our individual value system we are then able to determine how we can achieve success based on our priority of values. What must we five up in one hand to accomplish what we desire on the other. Without a value system we can never move forward for we may be trading without increasing our potential for success.
5. Energy - Without the physical vitality to take action, nothing would ever come of our system to this point. The passion could build, our belief of accomplishment could be overwhelming, we could have the best strategy or map to achieve the ultimate value for our own life, but if not for taking the first step, nothing could ever be accomplished. Great success cannot be separated from physical, spiritual and mental energy that allows us, compels us, to accomplish the most with what we have to work with. Physical energy comes from the strength of the body itself fueled by our intake of nourishment. It is therefore important that we fuel our engine with premium fuel (good eating habits), not low grade regular (junk food). Our spiritual and intellectual energy evolves from our environment and it is therefore important that we assess our own personal environment to maximize the energy that we can obtain.
6. Bonding Power - We have all known people that have exhibited the ability to get along with anyone and everyone. The ability to be a chameleon is truly the ability to connect with and bond with others. The ability to build rapport. Being able to deal with others as Mr. Robbins says "To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others." To be able to understand the...
7. Mastery of Communication - To take charge and run your own mind. To learn the techniques of NLP and no longer allow our mind to run our lives, but rather take charge of our own mental abilities and cause them to work for our own accomplishment of success. "There is only one Success - to be able to spend your life in your own way." - Christopher Morley