These are changing and challenging times.
Life is difficult and setbacks are common in the great game of business and life. Every person has a choice about the attitude they bring to their day and the actions they make. Those who will prosper must develop flexible optimism, resourcefulness and persistence in the face of adversity and constant change. Research suggests that optimists earn more money, have better relationships and even live longer. And the thing is: Optimism can be learned.
Unfortunately, far too many are falling victim to the depression of our learned helplessness "Nothing I can do is going to make any difference in what happens to me, so why try?" By controlling your attitudes and habits you too can alter your life and influence others you live and work with. Now true optimism is not sitting back, thinking positive thoughts, and hoping everything will turn out all right. It’s how you see the world, positively rather than negatively. You face each situation, each problem, and each occasion with a positive attitude; and you always look forward to the “benefits” you will derive from it. You have a choice. “Change your thoughts and change your world,” said Norman Vincent Peale. What it comes down to is that your attitude is a conscious choice. If you choose pessimism, you’re choosing to see the downside of every situation, judge people unfairly, and live unhappily the rest of your life. What an oppressive existence! On the other hand, if you choose optimism, you’re empowering yourself to see the positive side of each challenge, seeing the good in people, helping them to see the good in life too. Taking action to further improve your own life, and living happily with friends and family who care about you. Attracting all good to yourself.
Here are 10 practical tips to claim your optimism advantage in bouncing back from any setback or disaster.
1. Nurture perspective and an appreciation for the healing power of time.
One of Abraham Lincoln's favourite quotes was: "This too shall pass." Because we tend to think that our reactions to bad events will never fade, we also tend to feel especially good when we recover from trauma with unexpected speed. Don't underestimate your powers of recuperation from emotional trauma. None of us will ever forget the horror but we can look back with a calmer perspective only time can provide.
2. Avoid victim thinking and seize the day as a survivor.
As long as you are alive, you always have options. Survivors make the best of the options they have while victims whine about how few they have. There is never anything you can't do, the only question is whether a given action will work and if committed action is worth the investment of the time required to achieve the desired results. Survivors keep making choices one day at a time.
3. Move from analysis paralysis into action.
Cultivate a continual sense of adventure that searches for and takes advantage of every opportunity. Failure to act doesn't prevent failure it just turns life into a slow death. As Yogi Berra would say, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."
4. Manage your motivation by catching yourself being effective.
You are probably tougher on yourself than on any other person. Instead of taking yourself for granted, love yourself the way you love others you care about. If you are not catching yourself being effective, you may be winning and not know it because you're not keeping score. Ask yourself daily, "What did I do today that made a difference?" Use your calendar to write down one success every day.
5. See mistakes as valued lessons on the way to success.
Life is like a moving vehicle with no brakes; if you spend too much time in the rearview mirror, you may hit a tree out the front window. Keep your rearview mirror smaller than your front window by using self-criticism as course correction feedback on the road to success. Identify what was done wrong, but put your focus on the future: What are you going to do to rectify the problem? How will you handle it next time?
6. Persevere in reframing difficulties and downturns into strategic opportunities.
Flexible optimists persevere even in the presence of obstacles and negative outcomes. They perceive failures as temporary setbacks, rather than final verdicts. What you think when things go wrong determines whether you give up or whether you get busy overcoming the problem. Victors say to themselves, "I'm going to figure out how to become successful one way or another." Victims say, "I'll never be able to succeed."
7. Build an expectation of success through persistent hard work and invest your worry time in constructive action.
Hunt for the silver lining. A crisis can be a time to reinvent a business, to cut costs that are not adding value, and to reinforce and strengthen customer ties.
8. Relationships are critical in times of crisis.
Learn to accept support from others; you don't have to go it alone. The tragedy of life is that the people you most want to spend time with, you have to schedule a time to even see. The people you least want to be with, will find you wherever you are. Spend time with other optimistic and resourceful friends. Mark Twain said it well: "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the great make you feel that you, too, can become great." The company you keep can bring you up or bring you down. Pick your friends and associates wisely.
9. To maintain a positive attitude, take your health habits seriously in difficult times.
Eat right, exercise, get plenty of sleep, and include daily stress breaks in your day. Maintaining your health habits can do wonders to help you sustain your optimism and manage your increased stress levels.
10. Find the power of purpose and serving others.
Friedrich Nietzsche once said, "The one who has a why to live can bear with almost anyhow." There is passion in being fully engaged in a meaningful mission and in doing your share of random acts of kindness. You make a difference for yourself when you make a difference for others. Faith, values and integrity are back in. People of faith tend not to live in fear, but find peace in faith. Core values help direct your choices. They are both your anchor in the rough sea and the lighthouse that helps illuminate a positive and principled course in uncertain times. Honour is a gift you give yourself.
Finally, experience the power of gratitude.
Unrealistic expectations are a sure road to disappointment. Optimists hope for more but are not thrown by less. Choose to be happy unless something happens to change that feeling, instead of being unhappy until something makes you happy.
End the day by identifying five things for which you are grateful. Start counting your blessings instead of your problems.
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Play By Tu educates, motivates & inspires teams and individuals to achieve their potential & develop their character growth. Our mission is to help people & companies achieve their purpose. Through our different development programmes & initiatives, our team & leadership experts together with our motivational speakers help organisations and schools achieve real transformational change that matters.
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