Hello, my friends,
Today, I am going to talk about one of the biggest misconceptions in the area of personal development and success. The title is “The Most Contagious Disease of All.”
Do you know what it is?
It’s not the measles, the mumps, the flu, or polio. It’s good old-fashioned attitude.
We don’t often think of a negative attitude as a disease, but we certainly should, because it is contagious. It spreads from person to person literally all over the world; from co-worker to co-worker; from parent to child, from leader to follower, and every realm of human existence.
When there are two or more people together, their attitudes are influencing each other. It is part of our human nature.
There have been thousands of books written about it. One of the most famous is As a Man Thinketh by James Allen, written well over a hundred years ago, in 1903. “As a man thinketh, so shall he become” – it is based on a verse from the book of Proverbs. If you haven’t read the book, it’s a quick read. I recommend it very, very highly.
Then, about fifty years later, Norman Vincent Peale wrote his famous book, The Power of Positive Thinking. The title captures his main sentiment. What was this man’s main point? It is that positive thinkers drive positive results.
Pessimists don’t like this principle. They don’t like this reality. By the way, pessimists don’t call themselves pessimists, they call themselves realists.
The biggest criticism I have heard leveled at optimism and positive thinking is that it is actually a misinterpretation of what the point is.
The critic will say, “Well if I just sit around and think positively, you’re telling me that positive things will happen in my life?”
That’s not the point.
The point is to not only think positively, but to act.
It is about doing and being positive, and working hard. It’s a combination of all these things. It’s not about just sitting and doing nothing and being a lazy person; rather, it is thinking positively while you are doing it.
It is working hard, reaching your goals, and efforting to the extent of your ability, all while keeping in mind that optimism and positivity will fuel you.
A positive attitude will be the wind in your proverbial sails. “Look on the bright side” – you’ve heard that a million times. Is the glass half full or half empty?
There have been lots of jokes about that, but you get the point. You know it’s both half full and half empty; and your perspective reveals whether you are an optimistic, forward- leaning, progressive-action person…or a defeatist, passive person who looks at the circumstances as dictators of your outcomes.
Where the optimist says, “In spite of the problems and challenges I am facing, I can overcome them. I can beat them. I can persevere.”
I’m here to tell you as someone who has just recently experienced this: a positive attitude will help you beat the odds.
I know thousands of other people have done the same. It is likely that you in your life, people in your family, or your close friends have overcome great adversity. How did they do it? They do it based largely upon their attitude. Of course, action is a big part of it as well.
How do you create a positive attitude?
There are many ways. You can find your own.
I am a big fan of books, as you probably know, and I love little coffee table books like The Pocket Book of Positives. I just opened it up to a random page and read, “Life is either a daring adventure, or it is nothing,” by the famous author, Helen Keller. Helen Keller was blind, but she was a very optimistic person, nevertheless.
What can you do?
You can visit a nursing home, or visit people in a hospital – essentially, give to others. Give of your time, talent, or treasure. There is a magic associated with servanthood that serves both the person who is served and the server. If you choose to be a servant leader – someone who goes and gives to others – what you will find is that not only will you spread good cheer and optimism to others, you will get a healthy dose of it yourself.
I want to end this with a fascinating story that I heard not too long ago, about a little boy.
Sometimes the most pure truths come out of the mouth of babes. This is about a little boy, a very optimistic little boy.
He received a baseball bat and ball for his birthday. This little boy went out to the backyard and told himself, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world.”
He threw the ball up, took a mighty swing at it…and missed it.
He picked the ball up and again said, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world.”
He threw the ball up, swung, and missed it even worse than the first time.
One more time, he picked the ball up and said, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world.”
He tossed it up, took a big swing – and he came nowhere close to the ball.
His father came out because he saw his little boy out there, and he said, “What are you doing, son? It looks like you are struggling.”
The little boy looked up at his dad and said, “No, Dad, I just figured out I’m the greatest pitcher in the world!”
Now that, my friends, is a positive attitude.
Wherever you are – and you know I am going to say it – make it a great day!
As a thank you for your support and to encourage you to take a powerful step in the direction of your best life or your best year in business, I have decided to offer a special rate for the Ascend on Demand coaching program for those who take action before December 31, 2017.
Ed DeCosta is one of the most engaging executive coaches and thought leaders of our time. He delivers results with companies of all sizes, from high tech start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations. Ed is an ICF certified professional coach. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from West Virginia University, a master’s degree in international management from the University of Texas, and an MBA from the University of Texas. Ed is also an adjunct faculty member in West Virginia University’s College of Business and Economics, teaching Professional Selling and entrepreneurship courses.