How I Maintain A Positive Attitude (When Negativity Surrounds Me)

positive attitude

A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results.

Wade Boggs

Is the glass half empty?  Or is it half full?

I work in the construction industry in the Philadelphia area.  The industry is known to be fairly rough.  The language and conversation content is often very “colorful.”  And sometimes it seems like people only know how to communicate with each other by yelling and screaming.  Philadelphia has a reputation for being somewhat negative.  If you don’t believe me, it was Philly fans who threw snowballs at Santa Clause.  And if you are still not convinced, try listening to Philly sports radio for an hour.  You would think the everyone does everything wrong, and there is no hope for positive change.  So much for being the City of Brotherly Love.

Despite these circumstances, I am known in my office for having a positive attitude (most of the time).  In fact, I have repeatedly been asked the following question:  “How do you stay so positive all the time?”

Some people seem to be naturally disposed to having a positive attitude, but I think there may be a bit more to it.  Today, I’m giving you practical ways for you to develop and maintain a positive attitude even when negativity seems to surround you.  Here’s how I stay so positive all the time:

7 Ways To Develop And Maintain A Positive Attitude

  1. Recognize the positive side of having a positive attitude.  A positive attitude sees hope even in challenging circumstances (negativity only sees despair).  A positive attitude saves energy (negativity wastes energy).  A positive attitude is positively contagious (negativity spreads like cancer).  A positive attitude paves the way for future opportunity.
  2. Decide to pursue a positive attitude.  You have a choice to make every morning when you wake up.  Do you really want to have a positive attitude?  If so, you have to be intentional.  You have to pursue a positive attitude.
  3. Practice being positive.  In a recent blog post, Seth Godin talked about attitude.  He said attitude is a skill.  In order to improve our skills, we have to practice.  This is the same for our attitudes.  If we want to have a positive attitude, we have to practice having a positive attitude.  This may not always seem easy at first – especially when life throws us lemons.  We must practice turning lemons into lemonade.  The more we practice having a positive attitude, the more it will become a natural part of who we are and how we interact with others.
  4. Remove negative influences.  Negativity will drag you down.  It is important to stay informed, but we need to be careful with the “news” we ingest.  News media generally capitalizes on sensationalizing the negative.  There are a lot of “bad things” happening in the world every day, but there are a lot of “good things” that happen as well.  From a friend standpoint, learn to get rid of friends who are always negative.  They drag you down.  In today’s social media driven world, you may have to unfollow people who are always bring the negative to their Facebook or Twitter pages.  Turn the television off (or turn the channel) to avoid shows that negatively represent marriages, families, friendships, and work relationships.  When you come across something negative in your life, determine if it really needs to stay in your life.  If not, remove it!
  5. Surround yourself with positive influences.  Read blogs and books that are uplifting.  Listen to podcasts that come from a positive perspective.  Watch television shows and movies that reinforce the positives.  Intentionally seek out relationships with people who will influence you positively.
  6. Remember the positive.  Forget the negative.  Write down the positive things you encounter on a daily basis.  Use a journal to help you remember the positives.  The more you do this, the easier it will be to maintain a positive attitude.
  7. Become a “positive attitude” evangelist.  Develop a positive vocabulary.  Use words like:  fabulous, terrific, fantastic, and magnificent.  Your words are contagious.  By using a positive vocabulary, others will begin to reconsider their vocabulary and their attitude.  Smile.  Smiles are also contagious, and they promote a positive attitude.  (Learn to smile more by reading this great post by Matt McWilliams.)  Write thank you notes.  Gratitude is one of the easiest ways to promote positive attitudes.  Help others see the positive in the challenges they face.  Mentor others, and teach them to develop and maintain a positive attitude.

What steps have you taken to develop and maintain a positive attitude?  What changes do you need to make to become more positive?