Last year while traveling with a co-worker I mentioned I had never read and didn’t believe in the premise of Rhonda Byrne's book The Secret. She spent the next two hours trying to persuade me I was wrong insisting changing her attitude had changed her life. The day after she had decided to become a more positive person an unexpected check arrived in her mailbox. I was not convinced.
It took Jenn Aubert and her book Women Entrepreneur Revolution: Ready! Set! Launch!: 100+ Successful Women Entrepreneurs Share Their Best Tips on What Works, What Doesn't (and Why) ... a Business and Designing a Life You Loveto help me understand the deeper benefits of a positive attitude. She writes:
One of the main traits seen time and again in powerful leaders at all levels is positive framing. It should be no surprise that to manage the roller coaster that is running your own business, you have to keep an outlook that looks for the silver lining in situations. But it goes beyond just having a rose-colored perspective. It is also about seeing things for the way they are and taking the facts as facts rather than spinning stories that are not true or – for that matter – useful. (Pg. 47)
People who frame things in a positive light don’t let negative feelings paint their reality in a negative way. They see things for what they are and learn from them. They understand that they’re in control of their future and can influence future outcomes, learn and grow. (Pg. 48)During the 2002 recession the company where I work was hit incredibly hard. The owner had been on leave caring for his sick wife and had left the management of his company with his two inexperienced sons. After our company’s bank refused to renew our contract he returned to save his company. Over the next month he contracted a new bank to provide a line of credit and to take over our existing loans all at more favorable interest rates than we had previously. He negotiated long-term notes with five of our major vendors to pay off outstanding payable balances over the next two years. He downsized and cut costs in every area possible. Ultimately he saved his company. I am not sure if any of this could have been achieved if he were not an optimist. A more negative person would have just sold the company’s assets to the highest bidder.
During the great recession my company was again hit hard. Our owners again down sized and cut costs. They mentioned several times how they never would have made in through the great recession if they hadn’t experienced almost losing their company in 2002. They are convinced the changes they made in 2002 had made the company stronger and better able to withstand future financial set-backs. Talk about a silver-lining.
While Jenn Aubert was interviewing Stella Grizont the founder of WOOPAAH she learned:
Maintaining a positive attitude is deeper than just being optimistic and looking on the bright side. According to Stella what is most important is a belief in your vision and seeing ways to maneuver difficult situations and challenges. While a leader within the Ladies Who Launch organization she worked with thousands of women helping them maintain a positive frame by seeing the possibilities, taking the next step and taking account of one’s previous successes. This valuable tool of reframing situations, challenges and obstacles is a skill that can take you far. (Pg. 48)
I had been missing the true benefit of optimism. I had realized people prefer spending time with positive people and those with a positive attitude were more likely to be hired, make friends and find a mate. But I also thought those who believed in the happiness movement had been brain-washed into thinking all they had to do was be positive and good things would miraculously appear into their life. In reality ridding yourself of negative, trapped and I hate myself thoughts frees up your mind to come up with real solutions.
Perhaps it is time I let go of my own negative attitudes and work towards becoming a more optimistic person.
If you would like to learn more about Jenn Aubert and her book Women Entrepreneur Revolution please see my interview with Jenn Aubert.
Have you embraced the happiness movement? Why or why not?
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