How To Stay Positive

Starting, building and running a profitable business requires a positive mental attitude and an ability to roll with the punches. It doesn’t hurt to toss in a sense of humor.

It’s human nature that our brains to seek out negative information. Putting a positive spin on things—especially our slip-ups and failures—requires practice. When we acknowledge our mistakes, we open our minds to find solutions. Our acknowledgment is our way of saying, “next time I’ll do it differently, and this is how.”

We’ve all heard the expression “express gratitude for all things.” There are people who don’t go to sleep at night without first replaying their day in the heads, overtly expressing gratitude for both the things that went well and the things that went wrong. They are taking stock and putting balance back into the day’s experiences. This simple act trains our brain to think more positively.

milky way adYou never see a food add that says, “eat this to feel grumpy.” But you do see food ads that proclaim a certain product will make you feel great. Our favorite is a vintage ad from a 1931 Saturday Evening Post “There’s a thrill in every bite of Milky Way.” Think of your business life as a huge Milky Way that puts a thrill in everything you do, blocks out negative thinking, and predisposes you to think positive.

Even then, negative thoughts will arise and they are often self-deprecating. For example, the marketing campaign you designed had poor results. So you decide you are a failure. Or the sales numbers slumped last month and you take the blame for not motivating the salesforce properly. You may be right, but beating up yourself will not make next month better.

We can train our brain to respond to negative influences with positivity. One method psychologists teach is to learn to “separate” ourselves from the negativity. For example, when you have a negative thought, think of it as a “thing” and mentally “detach” it from yourself. Lay it aside, and walk away.

Successful people believe in their abilities, even when they fail. They are grateful for what they have and develop a mind-set to express gratitude daily. They look on the bright side and encourage those around them to do the same. Never satisfied with what they already know, they seek out books, lectures, podcasts and mentors to push them to stay positive and keep going. And finally, they set goals, mark their progress, and reward themselves often. Have a Milky Way today!

America’s Bad Mood

child-1548229_1920In the usual scores of political rants and patriotic essays that sprout up around Independence Day, one stood out this year. Published by The Guardian, Zachary Karabell wrote an opinion piece entitled Americans are in no celebratory mood this Fourth of July. But they should be. It’s a worthy read.

One section in particular resonated with me. It had to do with our “resetting of expectations” after the financial collapse in 2008-2009 that “shook confidence in our collective ability to keep economies afloat…

There has also been a continual resetting of expectations. There’s an old saying in the financial world that people always remember the most they made and the least they spent. It’s your grandparents tisking that something used to cost ten cents, without the context that was when an average salary was two thousand dollars a year.

As human life has expanded, as homes have gotten larger, calories cheaper, war less frequent, senseless death rarer, political injustice more the exception than the norm, people have become less tolerant of that which used to be tolerated. In short, it would seem that the more we have, the more aware we become of what we still lack.

I encourage you to read the entire article. It may just give you a fresh perspective this month as we celebrate the birth of our great nation.