High Five – Celebrating Positive Focus

“We are not going to focus on what we can’t do; rather, we are going to celebrate what we can do!”

This quote is the mantra of our yoga class and it sums up the focus of what this month has been – a celebration of what is possible.

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“We are not going to focus on what we can’t do; rather, we are going to celebrate what we can do!”

It’s been 30 days and I’ve written every day about some aspect of the positive attitude – an attitude that can be attained by giving, being happy, laughing, and helping others.

I’ve touched on aspects of positive psychology with coping skills, resilience, and positive thought.

A few posts dealt with mindfulness, personal journeys, relationships and perception.

In this month, I had some celebrations (my wedding anniversary), personal losses (a layoff) and remembered again the national losses of 9/11.

I do feel as though I have come a long way in 30 days and I do believe it takes about this long to form a habit.

The best picture of the month was attached to my post on Encouragement. My favorite post had to be the one about doing the impossible (Thanks, Walt Disney for the quote!). I put my focus on what I could do and I can now definitely be positive.

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High Five – Resilience

Thomas Jefferson stated “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

How true!

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“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

Several years ago, just as the economy was spiraling, I went through a huge downsizing. I was completely broken up by this, even though I was not one of the ones being let go, but to see how people handled it was amazing. Some were upset and crying. Some were very angry. But some continued to laugh, joke and hug everyone as they packed their desks and headed out. They didn’t miss a step. Some of us had lunch from time to time over the next few years and those people who smiled in the face of the unexpected did very well. Those who didn’t seemed to take longer to find positions, still remained unhappy and angry at the company for letting them go.

The ones who accepted the situation and moved on to their next big adventure were the resilient ones. Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. Being resilient helps you bounce back after surgery, illness, loss or anything else life can through at you.

A post on Healthgram details some ways to become more resilient, but I’m betting you’re already doing them.

If you’re still not sure how resilient you are, give this quiz from Psychology.about.com a try and see how what your results are.

http://psychology.about.com/library/quiz/bl-resilience-quiz.htm

Resilient people are positive people. Or maybe vice versa. Either way, you come out of a bad situation positive, and that’s the right mental attitude.

High Five – Positive Attitude-The Habit

From Samuel Johnson comes today’s quote: “The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”

When I first starting writing posts about making a positive attitude a habit, I couldn’t wait for the 21st day! Why? Because it takes 21 days to form a habit. Is this really true?

The HowStuffWorks website states that basically, “habits are easier to make than they are to break. If you repeat a behavior often enough, those synaptic pathways are going to get worn in. The human brain is a very adaptive piece of machinery” and continues with “Everyone’s brain is different, and habit formation also relies on aspects of experience and personality.”

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“The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”

For me, I gave up caffeine in 7 days. Never went back to it. Gave up sugar in 28 days – cold turkey – but I must admit I still want it, crave it and occasionally indulge in it. I trained for a 5K after 6 years of doing nothing in 27 days (9 weeks, 3x a week!). But making a positive attitude a habit is proving to be a little more difficult, maybe because it is a state of mind instead of a state of being. Giving up caffeine and sugar and exercising all have visible results and though resisting cravings and slogging through a bad workout may not be the best of times, you know it will get better (interesting how I can be positive about those physical things but being positive about situations is so much harder)!

In this post, How to Make Positivity a Habit: 4 Simple Steps to a Happier Everyday Life from bufferapp.com, it seems that a positive habit can be made over time, incrementally. As mentioned in the post, habits can be formed by taking small steps like flossing one tooth at a time or meditating for 2 minutes to work up to 10 minutes.

So whether it takes 21 days, 21 months or 21 years, forming habits both physical and mental take various amounts of time depending on your desire to change those habits. And my desire to be more positive is just as strong as my desire to give up caffeine and run a 5K. Be positive, don’t look back and keep moving.

High Five – Positively Excited

Today’s quote comes from the CEO of Threadless: “I try not to make any decisions that I’m not excited about.” I found this to be so timely and true.

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“I try not to make any decisions that I’m not excited about.”

Of late, I’ve had a big decision to consider: what job am I going to take next? As a writer, I can go many different directions and some are very exciting while others most definitely are not.

So it is at that point that I need to become excited about the options to change careers completely, remain in the one I chose 15 years ago or venture out into something related but different. Each consideration – even staying on my current career path – produces no small amount of apprehension but does make the adventure seem more exciting, nonetheless. According to the Advanced Life Skills website, I need turn negative self-talk into positive self-talk. Here are some examples:

Negative self-talk Positive spin
I’ve never done it before. It’s an opportunity to learn something.
It’s too complicated. I’ll tackle it from a different angle.
I don’t have the resources. Necessity is the mother of invention.
There’s not enough time. Let’s re-evaluate some priorities.
There’s no way it will work. I can learn to make it work.
It’s too radical a change. Let’s take a chance.
No one communicates with me. I will start the conversation.
I’m not getting any better at this. I want to give it another chance.

We make a million decisions a day and the one that should be the most important is to be positive. Make the decision and get excited about being positive! By being excited about that one decision, you can color your entire day, and eventually your life.

High Five – Be the Positive Change

It only takes one person.

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“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

I was having a particularly bad day and had to – once again – go to Walmart for something-that-didn’t-make-it-onto-the-huge-list-I-had-earlier-in-the-week-that-was-supposed-to-keep-me-from-needing-to-stop-at-Walmart-before-the-weekend! I was not happy about this trip and not happy about my bad day.

The cashier, as soon as I walked up with my items, completely ignoring my scowl, says in a most cheery tone, “Are you enjoying this fantastic weather we’re having today? What a beautiful day!” To be honest, I hadn’t noticed the weather. It seemed a little cooler, but, all I had been focusing on was how nothing had gone right the entire day and now I was going through the motions, just to get through the day! But, now that someone mentioned it, it was a really, really nice day outside. Our 90+ degree heat and high humidity had turned to a 75-degree, no humidity, light breeze, sunny day. Yes, the sun was shining and it truly WAS beautiful! So I replied, showing my first smile of the day, “Yes, yes, I am enjoying it!” Her exceptional attitude turned my day around. I just kept thinking, it only takes one person to be kind to bring about a transformation.

So with that, today’s positive quote is from Mahatma Gandhi who said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

You never know when your smile, your gratitude or your act of kindness will be the one thing that someone else needs that will change an attitude. I really needed her to remind me that it was a beautiful day. Her smile and excitement at this simple fact made all the difference.

Go be positive, smile and act kindly – be the positive change.

High Five – Make a New Path!

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

I admit it, I have a background in English and I have a weakness for verse. But when I re-read this passage from Robert Frost, I thought it fell right into the positive category. Why? Because making and owning a decision gives us control and that control allows us confidence to go forth and make more decisions, even to divert from our current career path. As I’ve stated before, having control can lead to a more positive life.

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“I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

According to Alison Doyle, Job Search Expert on aboutcareers.com, “Today, the average person changes jobs ten to fifteen times (with an average of 11 job changes) during his or her career, which means a good amount of time is spent changing employment. Job searching and networking, along with staying on top of the job market, has become an integral part of everyday work life, rather than something you do once or twice during your career.”

This could mean you change jobs for better pay, hours, more work-life balance, a chance to expand your skillset or you change careers to develop your skills in a different area. Maybe you remain at the same company and grow in your current job – team lead, supervisor, manager or encourage those in power to help you create a new position. If job changes are a constant, why tread down the same old path? No sighing involved, make a decision to take the less traveled road and make all the difference for yourself.

High Five – Change Your Perceptions

“To change ourselves effectively, we must first change our perceptions.” Aptly put by Steven Covey.

Changing one’s perception can often lead to a positive outcome. It gives you the ability to look at another person’s point of view, interpret a situation in a different way, or reevaluate an impression. It also gives you the opportunity to remove yourself from day-to-day monotony and alter your understanding. For example, if you meet a colleague at a coffee shop to discuss the ranking report or had a walking meeting with the Quality Assurance team to share statuses something more might be achieved.

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“To change ourselves effectively, we must first change our perceptions.”

I walked into Panera early one morning and looked around – everyone at the tables had open laptops, were scanning i-devices, scribbling furiously or speaking animatedly with their hands. Business was being conducted, and from the looks of things, a lot was being accomplished. Simply because they were away from the distractions of the office or were in a more open environment than a cold board room with institutional gray walls. A change not only in perspective (point of view) but in perception (understanding and thought) seemed to make this alternative work.

Another way to change the perception is through walking meetings. (I always recommend walking rather than sitting at a desk all day). Walking meetings stimulate creativity; inspire new ideas and improve well-being. It also increases brain function (brainstorming!).

Through movement – not just of our feet but of our thoughts – it seems that we are changing ourselves effectively and the working world is shifting in a positive direction as well.