Our positive attitude begins and ends with us. We have to own the fact that we are in control of our emotions and our attitudes, not anyone else and certainly not any circumstance.
Is that too much to handle? Is it too hard to swallow that one?
I'll bet for some of you it probably is. So whether you count yourself as one of the purely positive people who will see the sunshine in everything or believe yourself to be a "Debbie Downer" or "glass is half empty or even always empty" type of individual, keep reading because this column is for you.
Most of the emails and feedback I receive regarding this column are extremely positive and encouraging. Every once in a while I will get challenged on a thought or issue and enter into a healthy debate, discussion or email exchange from someone in the community. And believe it or not, I do actually receive communications from people who simply find my words and concepts to be, as one such reader shared, "Over the top Pollyanna-ish." Further stating that I "did not possibly have a clue about what was happening in the ‘real' world or with ‘real' people."
Hate mail, can you believe it, I sometimes receive hate mail? Well maybe not so much hate mail, but definitely angry mail.
Whenever this happens I never take it personally, and I refuse to allow the comments to sway my opinion or belief in the goodness of people, the wonder or life, and the amazement of each day. But you see for me it is easy to look for the good, the wonder, and the amazement in everything because I have been blessed with some of the greatest friends, former bosses, and mentors that anyone could ask for. And more importantly I took responsibility a long time ago for choosing who and what would be allowed to influence my outlook on life. I took ownership of my positive attitude.
One such friend, mentor and former boss is Zig Ziglar. Mr. Ziglar is still recognized as one of the greatest if not the greatest motivational speaker of all time. For those of you who never had the good fortune to see him speak, read his books, or listen to his audio programs before he retired, I encourage you to check out his website at www.ziglar.com and give yourself the gift of a lifetime by allowing his words and wisdom to help inspire and motivate you as much as they have shaped and influenced my life. You can call them at 972-383-3223 and tell them Michael Norton sent you for a special discount.
One of the key Ziggism's and words that I live by in good times as well as difficult or challenging times is this, "A positive mental attitude will not allow you to do anything ... but a positive mental attitude will allow you to do everything, and I do mean everything, 100 percent better than a negative attitude will." This one sentence, this simple thought, this common sense approach changed my life once I internalized its meaning. This thought has provided me with an "out" to every hardship, challenge, dilemma, and problem that I just might face relative to the way I handle things.
It's not about being "Pollyanna-ish" or turning a blind eye to reality. It is about recognizing that we own our outlook and attitude in the face of our doubts and fears, bills and debt, childcare and healthcare, crisis and catastrophe, opportunity and accomplishment, hope and encouragement, and gratitude and appreciation. Imagine what your 2012 can look like once you adopt a positive attitude philosophy for your life.
I would love to hear what choice you will make when it comes to owning your positive attitude at firstname.lastname@example.org and not if, but when you make your choice, I am confident that it will be a better than good week for you.