Positive or negative. What influences your attitude?

Positive or negative. What influences your attitude?

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.

Most people think they have a positive attitude – unfortunately, most of those people are wrong.

Oh, it’s easy to have a positive outlook when things are going your way. But what happens when you lose? Do you begin to grumble and start playing the blame game?

Now, if your attitude isn’t as strong or as positive as it should be, the first thing you need to do is find out WHY. Too often people-especially salespeople-look for immediate answers. Answers are good, but not without an understanding of the circumstances.

If you understand what’s causing your “negative” attitude, it’s easier to accept and implement a remedy-or change your attitude. But in order to change your attitude, you must understand what “influences” it.

So the key here is to determine what INFLUENCES your attitude.

Once you understand what influences your attitude, you will understand how to improve it.

In the legendary Earl Nightingale recording of “The Strangest Secret,” Nightingale says, “You become what you think about all day long.” That single statement is THE “aha!” you need to understand “influence.”

Take the adage, “Self-talk equals self-performance.” The reason it’s been around so long is because it’s true. Self-talk is an influence. You tell yourself-or should I say- sell yourself on why something will or won’t happen.

Ever hear someone say, “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all”?

Could there be a more negative outlook? This person is doomed to a life of expecting to lose. (Hopefully, it’s a competitor.) This person has “influenced” himself into failing before the event occurs. How pathetic is that? Who and what “influence” you? And how do those “influences” affect your attitude?

Consider the following “influences” and whether they affect your thinking and your actions in a positive or a negative way. Remember, awareness is the first step in the change-in-attitude process.

Doing something about your attitude is 90 percent of the challenge.
  • The influences of your associations. The people you hang around with will often determine how you think of yourself.
  • The influences of your home environment. This includes more than your physical surroundings. It’s about what takes place in your home environment.
  • The influences of your social environment. Where do you hang out? Bars? Clubs? Bookstores? Malls? Movies? The very words conjure up attitudes.
  • The influences of your work environment. Is it demanding? Do you like your job? How do you feel about your boss? Coworkers? Politics? Stress-related situations?
  • The influences of your reading and listening. By reading and listening to some of the greatest self-help information, you influence your attitude by setting the tone for positive thinking.
  • The influences of your watching. Most TV programs are negative or violent or both. So, don’t watch.
  • The influences of your career. Are you unhappy with your job? If you are not driving for fulfillment beyond success, it will influence you in a negative, sometimes cynical way.
  • The influences of your family. Does your family encourage you or hold you back? Your family can be your greatest positive asset-or your greatest negative roadblock.
  • The influences of your health. Good health can make you feel good; bad health can devastate your attitude.
  • The influences of your experiences. It’s so true-past success breeds confidence for future successes.
  • The influences of your self-esteem or perceived self-worth. This is about how you think of yourself when you look in the mirror or when you worry what others think of you.
  • The influences of your personal choices. How do you feel when you evaluate or second-guess your choices?

Your attitude is influenced by what you read and watch-by your interactions, associations, home environment, work environment, social environments, and what you think about. But here’s the one-word secret to a certain positive attitude: AWARENESS.

The more aware you are of your influences, the easier it is to change them. The result? A positive attitude.

Here are a few tips that will help you build a positive attitude:

  1. Guard your time. Do positive things in your spare time.
  2. Read more than you watch TV. This single action will turn your “influencing” factors in a positive direction.
  3. Make positive selections. This sounds easy, but in reality, the world is more than half negative.

3.5 Ignore people that try to discourage you.
These are miserable people who are jealous of your dedication to a positive, fulfilling life.

When Earl Nightingale wrote and recorded “The Strangest Secret,” he had a firm handle of the impact of his words. They were the ones that influenced him. They are the words that continue to influence me. And they are the words that will influence you. Remember: “You become what you think about all day long.”

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