A Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) can be viewed as the sunlight that brings clarity to our thinking by piercing through the confusing and troubling situations we experience in business and in life. The sun has the power to illuminate our path and allows us to think more clearly and accurately as we grow and build value for ourselves and others. When we lack PMA, everything good in our life diminishes.
We can choose to control our attitude. We can sustain PMA regardless of external circumstances. Most people think that is easier said than done…and they are right. Like all other major [lifetime] goals, choosing and maintaining PMA requires ongoing conviction and self-discipline.
Here are thoughts that explore how we can foster a PMA and significantly improve our life quality.
- Impact of Uncertainty and Fear: Uncertainty breeds fear, which in turn diminishes our positive mental attitude. This reduction or disappearance of PMA often leaves us with a narrowed vision and less room for possibilities.
- Negative Emotions Overrule Logic: Alongside fear, negative emotions creep in, muddying the waters and making logical thinking and clear decision-making a challenging feat. Negative mental attitudes reduce our capabilities.
- Physical Changes from Negative Emotions: Negative emotions trigger physical changes that blur our clarity, further emphasizing the need for a positive mental attitude to maintain a healthy mind-body balance.
- A Clouds and Sun Metaphor: Dr. Phil Stutz shared a story about the first time he experienced a plane rising above the clouds, revealing the bright sunlight that exists beyond the dark clouds we see during storms. He used this experience to create a metaphor and a ‘thought exercise’ we can use to replace fears and uncertainty with optimism.
- Calming The Storm Within: Calming and removing negative emotions and attitudes is a step towards clearer, positive thinking. Mental exercises such as cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness can be powerful tools in this transformation.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): Dr. Stutz’s metaphor is one example of how CBT can improve attitude and promote optimism. Simple CBT thought exercises and auto-suggestion [repeated affirmations, self-talk] can remove the anxieties and frustrations that accompany certain situations, especially situations beyond our control.
- Optimism Brings Clarity: Much like the sun brings clarity to sight, optimism brings clarity to our ability to judge, deal with situations, and make decisions. Optimism enables us to view situations more realistically and with hope. This shift in perspective is essential for cultivating a positive mental attitude.
- Perception of Clouds and Sun: The choice lies with us; viewing clouds as symbols of uncertainty and the sun as an emblem of optimism brings imagery that can be used to significantly improve our mental attitude and overall life outlook.
- Weathering the Overcast Days: It’s crucial not to let gloomy days dampen our spirits. Reminding ourselves that the sun still shines above the clouds can keep optimism in mind, allowing us to sustain positive mental attitudes.
- Grey Zones of Uncertainty: We can use the colour grey to represent uncertainty, that middle ground where fear often resides. Breaking through ‘grey zones’ is a metaphor for overcoming the doubts that trigger negative emotions and cloud our thoughts and judgment.
- Removing the Grey: As we break through uncertainty, removing the grey, we see the clouds parting to reveal the sun. Beyond the clouds, we see clearly and we grow our positive mental attitude.
- Replacing Negative with Positive: By replacing a negative mental attitude with a positive mental attitude, we become more present. Being present and thinking clearly allow us to bring our best self to various situations and relationships, enhancing our life quality by orders of magnitude.
Practicing mental exercises, altering perceptions, and choosing optimism over fear are actionable steps towards cultivating a positive mental attitude. This shift not only brightens our personal and professional relationships but also paves the way for better judgment and a fulfilling life.