The Power of Your Attitude by Stan Toler - Read Online
The Power of Your Attitude
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No Matter What Happens,
Attitude Is a Choice

As much as you try, sometimes you just can't change your circumstances—and never the actions of others. But you do have the power to choose how your attitude affects your outlook on your day and those you influence in your life.

Join bestselling author Stan Toler as he shares the what, why, and how behind the transformation you desire. With this book, you'll...

release the thoughts and habits that keep you from experiencing joy on a daily basis learn the seven choices you can make to get out of a rut and into greater success implement a plan to improve your outlook in three vital areas and conquer negativity

After having lost his father in an industrial accident as a boy, Toler knows about coping with unexpected tragedies and harsh realities. He will gently guide you through the internal processes that can positively change any life—including yours.

Publicado: Harvest House Publishers el
ISBN: 9780736968263
Enumerar precios: $12.99
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Part 1

The Power of Your Attitude

Your Attitude Determines Your Destiny

Your attitude is the basic lens or frame through which you see yourself, the world, and other people. You can have a positive attitude or a negative one, and you’ll see the world accordingly.

A very wise man once said, Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!¹ In other words, the way you look at things (your eye) will shape the course of your life for better or worse. The good news is that you can have a positive attitude that shapes your life in positive ways!

In this section, you’ll discover the five critical ways that your attitude exerts power in your life:

thought

word

action

habit

choice

In the next five chapters, you’ll discover why your attitude matters so much in determining your future. You’ll see the incredible power of the mind in shaping your life and your happiness. And remember, you have the power to choose your attitude!

1

The Power of Thoughts

Your Thoughts Shape Your Identity

Your first step forward in harnessing the power of a positive attitude is to believe that your attitude actually does exert incredible influence over every aspect of your life. What you think shapes your identity, literally determining the kind of person you’ll be and the things you’ll do. The people who achieve their goals, enjoy success, and seem to be happy despite their circumstances didn’t get that way by accident. They chose to have a positive outlook, and that choice shaped everything else about them. Likewise, the people who drift through life complaining that nothing good ever happens have also made a choice. They interpret their circumstances through the lens of a negative attitude. Everything looks bad to them, and it becomes bad.

You may be thinking, Well, some things really are bad! And you’re right. People face difficult, even heartbreaking trials every day. Yet some people emerge from those events contented, peaceful, and determined to move forward, while others seem to wither away. The only difference is their attitude. In the same way, many people experience wonderful things like a great job, a loving family, and good health, but nothing ever seems to satisfy them; they’re always unhappy—because they choose to be. Charles Swindoll, the highly acclaimed teacher and author, put it this way:

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do… I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you… We are in charge of our attitudes.¹

You have the power to choose your response to any situation. And in that power lies the ability to control your identity, your happiness, and many aspects of your future. You’re in charge of the most powerful force in your life: your attitude.

You Have the Power to Choose

If you still doubt that what truly shapes your life is your attitude, not your circumstances, let me give you a stunning example of the power of attitude that comes from the latter days of the Second World War. You know that the Nazis imprisoned many people in concentration camps, notably a large population of Jewish people, also many people of other races, religions, and political persuasions. These prisoners faced grueling hardships. Many were slaughtered by their captors, and many others died of disease or starvation. Confinement in a concentration camp was a virtual death sentence.

During the war, a young Jewish psychiatrist from Vienna, Austria, was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in what’s now the Czech Republic, along with his entire family. Victor Frankl and his wife Tilly were later transported to the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp, and finally moved to the Dachau camp system where he spent seven months, mostly working as a slave laborer. Frankl’s mother and brother died at Auschwitz. Tilly was moved to the Bergen-Belsen camp, where she died.

Victor Frankl describes the conditions he and others endured in his book Man’s Search for Meaning. Living amid such suffering and cruelty, every day a fight for food and survival, never knowing whether they would survive the war, people chose various responses to their circumstances. Some joined in the cruelty, surviving the camps privations by stealing from others or cooperating with their captors. Others simply gave up and died. But some were able to choose a different path, living with dignity and hope even when that meant sacrificing themselves for others.

After enduring the suffering in these camps, Frankl concluded that even in the most painful, disorienting, and dehumanizing situation, life has meaning.

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.²

Interestingly, the original German title of Victor Frankl’s book was Trotzdem Ja Zum Leben Sagen, which means saying yes to life in spite of everything. That’s the power you have—to say Yes! no matter what happens. You cannot choose what happens to you, but you can choose how you respond to it. You have the power to adopt a positive outlook, and that power can change virtually everything about your life.

How Negative Thinking Harms You

Before we go further, it’s important for you to understand what’s at stake in the matter of choosing a positive attitude. This goes far beyond simplistic outcomes like seeing a glass half empty or half full. When you choose a negative outlook on life, you open yourself to a vast range of negative consequences. Possibly you’re living with some of these results right now, and they’re holding you back from joy, from opportunities, from relationships, or even earning more money.

What’s at stake? Here are a few of the results of living with a negative outlook.

You Feel Helpless

Negative thinking traps you in a victim mentality, which is incredibly disempowering. Negative thinkers tend to see other people as in control of the world; as a result, negative thinkers always feel helpless. Other people always get the raise. Other people always get the opportunities. Other people always succeed. Negative thinkers develop a helpless outlook on life that keeps them rooted in place. They never change because they don’t think they can.

Age-old wisdom from the book of Proverbs confirms this point. The lazy person claims, ‘There’s a lion out there! If I go outside, I might be killed!’³ If you think the worst in every situation, you’ll prevent yourself from taking any action whatsoever.

You Lack Energy

Negative thinking takes an immediate toll on one of your most important assets, your energy level. If you’re one of those people whose mood is affected by a lack of sunshine (called seasonal affective disorder) you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. On cloudy days you just feel kind of blah. Everything else may be fine, but if the sun isn’t shining, you have to fight the urge to lie down and take a nap.

That’s exactly what negative thinking does to you. It brings you down mentally, emotionally, and even physically. When you think negatively, you get a deflated feeling in your stomach. You sigh a lot. You don’t feel like doing much. As a result, you must fight a battle with yourself every morning (and probably throughout the day) to keep your focus and maintain your concentration. Negative thinking saps your strength.

You Suffer Physically and Emotionally

Study after study has shown the link between optimism and positive health outcomes and between pessimism and negative health changes. Your mind and body really are connected! While positive thoughts generally fade in time, negative thoughts cling to you like mold on stale bread.

Think about it. Which do you remember more vividly: the time when you made the winning run in your Little League game, or the time you struck out with the bases loaded?

When you welcome negative thinking, it’s like allowing weeds to take root in your mind and body. The effect of living with bad memories, pessimism, cynicism, doubt, anger, and other negative thoughts can literally kill you. If you’re wondering why you’re down or discouraged all the time, it may have to do with your outlook on life.

Obviously, clinical depression is something else, a condition that can be medically treated. But if you’re suffering a serious loss of energy, experiencing sadness, and seeing negative health changes—you might need a change in attitude.

You Miss Opportunities

Everyone is drawn to positive people. You know that from your own experience at parties, family gatherings, school, or work. It’s more pleasant to be around people who smile, say a cheery hello, and pitch in to lend a hand. The opposite is true as well. Nobody likes to be around negative people. When people complain, naysay, criticize others, and constantly find fault with their circumstances, friends and coworkers begin to quietly avoid that person. As a result, negative thinkers miss out on new assignments, promotions, partnerships, and other opportunities.

And here’s the real problem: You never know it’s happening! Most negative thinkers are unaware of the effect their mental habits have on themselves, let alone others. If you’re a negative thinker, you may be completely unaware of what you’re missing.

You Limit Relationships

If you’re a chronic negative thinker, your attitude is costing you relationships—something far more valuable than money. As I’ve already noted, people always enjoy being around a positive person, but nobody likes to be around a pessimist. Actually, that’s not quite true. There are people who enjoy the company of a pessimist—other pessimists! Complaining, faultfinding, and griping drive away all but the most negative of thinkers. So when you make negative thinking a lifestyle, you limit yourself relationally. You’ll lose friends, and may even lose contact with some family members who simply can’t tolerate continual negative thinking. And again, you may never know this is happening. Negative thinkers seldom perceive the effect of their presence on others.

If you can identify with any of those side effects of negative thinking, you’re getting a glimpse of just how much a negative attitude can cost you. It affects everything from your employment to your relationships, even your physical health. You’re seeing the truth of it now: Your attitude really does have the power to shape your life.

The good news is that a positive attitude has that same power to an even greater degree. When you adopt a positive attitude, you’ll experience a wide range of beneficial results.

A Positive Attitude Brings Positive Results

Though the correlation between positive thinking and positive results has been observed for centuries, sociologist Robert K. Merton formalized the idea when he coined the term self-fulfilling prophecy. Merton wrote, The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior which makes the original false conception come true.

You’ve experienced this before, no doubt, or seen it in action. A rookie basketball player unexpectedly gets to start in the big game. With seconds left on the clock, he goes to the foul line for what could be the game-winning shot. His knees are trembling, his hands shaking, there’s no way he can possibly calm down enough to sink the basket. So the coach wisely calls a timeout and calls the boy over. Placing a hand on his shoulder, the coach says, You’ve got this. You’re going to sink the shot and win this game. There’s nobody I’d rather have on the line at this moment than you. The kid’s face brightens, and he returns to the foul line with newfound confidence. Without hesitation, he shoots, scores, and the game’s over. That’s the power of a self-fulfilling prophecy. It takes a once-false definition of a situation and makes it true.

What Robert Merton identified is nothing more than the power of positive thinking. By thinking optimistically, by choosing a positive attitude in every situation, you unleash a power in your life. You influence yourself and others in constructive ways. As a result, you shape your reality by the thoughts you think.

A Positive Attitude Creates a Positive Identity

An often-repeated story about the great British architect Christopher Wren tells of a time he was supervising the construction of a grand cathedral in London. A newspaper reporter decided to interview some of the workers who were constructing the magnificent building, and he chose three men to speak with. When he asked, What are you doing here? the first man replied, I’m cutting stone for ten shillings a day. When he asked the next man, he answered, I’m putting in ten hours a day on this job. But the third said, I’m helping Sir Christopher Wren construct one of London’s greatest cathedrals.

When you choose a positive attitude, you create a positive identity for yourself. Are you a lackey or a trusted assistant? Are you a beleaguered single mom or a strong, empowered woman? Are you a defeated businessperson who can’t seem to get a break, or are you an energetic, innovative entrepreneur closing in on success? The answer is up to you. It lies completely within your power to define your identity. You are what you think you are. And you can become whatever you believe you can be.

A Positive Attitude Improves Your Health

Also, I’ve already noted the connection between mind and body, and I’d like to emphasize this again. When you adopt a positive attitude toward life, you’ll have a positive impact on your health. But don’t take my word for that. A team of researchers who studied more than 5000 workers concluded that people with a highly optimistic life orientation experience daily events in a more positive way and expect more positive outcomes than pessimists. They noted, highly optimistic individuals appear to attract supportive social relationships, use adaptive coping strategies, and have different health habits than pessimists. The research suggests that a positive outlook reduces the risk of health problems after experiencing a negative life event, and promotes faster recovery.⁵ You aren’t imagining it: When you think more positively, you actually do feel