We can control 100% of our attitude. Yes, but often we don’t. There are few things we can be 100% in control of and our attitude would have to rank at the top of things we really need to control. So you would think we would all be brilliant in this area. We aren’t and so why do we have problems?
Part of the issue can be allowing past failures to sap our mental fortitude. We mentally re-run the movie in our minds of things we regret or events we actually don’t want to remember, but do anyway. No amount of self-discipline seems to work, shielding us from the past. We seem drawn to flashbacks and re-living the past episodes where we fell short or failed.
We are really creative too. We don’t just allow the past to wipe out our positive attitude, we inject the future in there as well. We project forward and start imagining all sorts of failures and issues we will suffer, before they ever even happen or arrive.
The combination of past realities and future possibilities can be a powerful mix to drag us into a downward spiral, where the world seems bleak, dark and we are hopeless. No matter how many self-affirmations we do or how positive we try to make ourselves, these prior and future fears weigh us down.
What can we do about it? Try to "live in day tight compartments". This means we focus 100% of our energy and attention on what is facing us today and don’t allow the past and future to impinge on our attitude.
Here is the crucial mental shift we have to make – don’t try to block out what happened in the past – we can’t. Instead though, we can recall it but not worry about it. There is the crucial difference – acknowledge it happened, but don’t worry about the past - we can’t go back and change it. Keep the focus totally on today, on what we can control and concentrate our energy and efforts there.
The same applies to the future. Of course we should consider what will happen in the future – hopefully we will be spending quite a bit of time there. Again, there is considering the future and preparing for it, but not worrying about it. This difference is huge. Prepare for it, but don’t allow it to cause worry. Again flick the switch and look at what is right in front of you know and work on that. Yes, random thoughts about the future will wander into our consciousness, so write them down and capture the issues. Call them out and work on ameliorating them, but don’t worry about them.
When we think about controlling today, what we read and who speak with will have an impact on our attitude. Find positive information in newspapers, magazines, books, articles, Facebook and LinkedIn posts etc., and read that. Be aware of it, but skip the grubby details on everything ugly and negative. That actually means skipping most of the news on television, because you can’t control what is coming up next. At least with written text, on-line or off-line, you can control your intake. Let’s be very picky about what we feed into our minds.
People are the other biggie. Reduce the contact and influence of negative people as much as possible. Avoid whiners, complainers and negative mindset types as much as possible. You may be forced into close proximity with negative people due to where you work, but keep that exposure to a minimum. See them as radioactive and avoid all unnecessary contact. Find people who are positive, upbeat and spend time with them. There are fewer of this variety, but they are around and so soak up and contribute to their positive vibe. Look for organisations where the positive congregate and join the group.
The past, the future and the negative erode our positive attitude, so as a priority let’s organise our life to deal with these issues. When we do that, life gets easier, better and happier. "It is all in the mind" is old wisdom, but still true!
1. Accept past memories but don’t worry about them
2. Accept certain things might happen in the future, prepare for them, but don’t worry about them
3. Avoid all forms of negativity
4. Search out positive environments and people and spend time there