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Building a positive attitude

When people think of having a positive attitude, they probably think it’s little more than putting a smile on their face and trying to think happy thoughts.   Its deeper and more important than that.

A positive attitude is something that goes deeper and has an effect beyond surface cheer. Negative attitudes promote fear, and a narrowing of focus and the mind, while positive attitudes do the opposite. No one should live in a constant state of “fight or flight”, but negative attitudes create exactly that scenario.

Studies have shown that having a true positive attitude makes your view of life seem broad, full of possibilities. That view leads to actually living your life in a way that makes it natural to be exposed to and acquire new skills.   (Rob Wormley)

Here are 6 ways to build a positive attitude. Where possible, I have shared some examples of how I am implementing the principle.

  1. Surround yourself with positive people.

Your friendships and engagements with people can help or hinder, depending on the attitude that is generally embraced. I am grateful for the team at the CFE who regularly make the choice of embracing a positive attitude. This can have a huge impact on delivery, impact and growth.  Much of our achievements in the past happened in spite of challenges and over a period of time.  Having a positive attitude has been key.

  1. Fill your mind with positive input.

There is an old adage that says “Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.”

The quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, shows a flow from thought to destiny.   Having a positive attitude starts with filtering the thoughts you allow.

  1. Control your language.

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, (Wikipedia) suggests that the structure of language affects a person’s view of the world, and the way they think. Taken to the furthest extent, your language actually limits or delineates how you are able to perceive the world.  Whilst it’s a  hypothesis, on a smaller level, the language you use every day, both in thought and spoken word, has a cumulative effect on how you think about yourself, your work, and those around you.

  1. Create a routine for the day.

The Covid crisis entered our world in March 2020.   One of the actions where I found stability, was in the creation of routine.  (Writing this blog is an example).  The routines we build can help forge a more positive attitude.  (Another personal example is walking 3km’s a day.  I find a lot of solutions and opportunities surface during this daily walk)

  1. Be kind to other people.

Someone suggested doing a RAK a day.  The acronym RAK stands for a random act of kindness.   It may be helpful to think of a RAK where there is little likelihood of it being repaid.   A study in the Journal of Happiness Studies found that the memory of doing something kind for someone causes us to want to do it again.      Appreciating and recognizing co-workers can also go a long way in making your day better.

  1. Attitude is an “inside job”. Throw the switch.

Stephen Covey talks of the 90:10 principle in his business classic, “The 7 habits of effective people”.   The thing is, we can’t control only 10% of events in our lives. We can’t prevent a device from breaking or a flight from being delayed; or the petrol price from increasing. However, we can control our own reaction to such things.  The other 90% of events are the result of our reactions – to put it simply, what we do when we’re stressed out.

Learning to respond and not to react takes time, character and perseverance. Yet the results can be life- changing.


It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome. William James

Here’s to choosing a growth and positive attitude.



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