Go From Negative Mental Attitude to Positive Mental Attitude

I am a recovering pessimist.  I used to be caustic, cynical, negative and pessimistic.  I made fun of you given half a chance.  Hey, I was mean but i thought I was funny.  It pushed people away.  I didn’t have a clue.  Because I am a big guy, no one had the courage to tell me.  One day, when I was twenty years old, my friend John Hooper (God rest his soul) called me on it.

“Why do you do that?  You really hurt Don’s feelings.  He is too nice a guy to say anything.  You are better than that Mark.”

Whoa.  I am better than that?  It was a turning point.  Mind you I didn’t change right away.  I took twenty years to become that negative guy.  It was going to take me another ten to change into positive.  It’s called “Inspirational Dissatisfaction”, the desire to change; drawing a proverbial line in the sand.  I went from from a Negative Mental Attitude to a Positive Mental Attitude (NMA > PMA!).  It turns out, it’s a daily choice.

Here is how the changes happened, little by little, like a sapling growing into a shade giving tree:

I began reading classic self-help books: W. Clement Stone, Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, Russell Conwell, Claude Bristol and the Bible.

I began associating with positive people.  Inspiring coaches, successful sales people, wealthy entreprenuers, successful bodybuilders, nice people.

I began keeping a journal.  Capturing WINS (good things that happened), writing down inspirational quotes from books and magazines, goals, gratitude lists, lessons and mistakes to learn from to never repeat.

I began attending seminars conducted by best selling authors and successful coaches turned professional speakers, taking copious notes.

I began attending church with my wife (she dragged me kicking and screaming).  That led to prayer and meditation (prayer is asking God for help and meditation is listening for the answers.)

I began paying attention to and managing my self-talk and words I used.  Word matter.  They trigger thoughts and emotions, both positive and negative.

One fine day, someone called me positive and inspirational.  I was making progress.  As Ray Kroc wrote in his book, “Grinding it Out”, “You are either green and growing or ripe and rotting.”  Which one are you?  A PMA is a choice.  It’s a decision.  It’s a philosophy.  Optimism or Pessimism?  My Speaker friend Chris Widener puts it this way:

Here are some contrasts between optimism and pessimism and how they affect us:

  • Optimism breathes life into you each day
    • Pessimism drains you
  • Optimism helps you to take needed risks
    • Pessimism plays it safe and never accomplishes much
  • Optimism improves those around you
    • Pessimism drags them down
  • Optimism inspires people to great heights
    • Pessimism deflates people to new lows

Now it’s your turn.  Make a decision. PMA or NMA?  If you choose PMA, no one will ever have to ask you, “Why did you do (or say) that?”  And that’s a good thing…

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