Magazine article Business Credit

Are We Having Fun Yet? Attitude and Peak Performance in the Workplace

Magazine article Business Credit

Are We Having Fun Yet? Attitude and Peak Performance in the Workplace

Article excerpt

So much of what we consider success in life simply is how we look at things. The story has been told of parents who had two identical twin boys. They were identical in everyway except for their temperaments. One of the boys was a hope-filled optimist. "Everything is coming up roses!" he would always say. The other twin was a sad and hopeless pessimist; in fact, he was so pessimistic, he thought that the guy who invented "Murphy's Law" (i.e., anything that can go wrong, probably will) was an optimist.

So, the worried parents brought their twin boys to the local psychologist in order to balance out their personalities. "On their next birthday," the psychologist said to them, "put them in separate rooms to open their gifts. Buy the pessimist the best toys you can possibly afford, but give the optimist a box of manure."

Well, the parents followed these weird instructions and carefully observed the results. On their next birthday, the parents opened the door of their pessimist and heard him audibly complaining about the great toys he had received, "I don't like this game! I'll betcha this computer will break! I know somebody whose got a bigger toy car than this!" Tiptoeing across the hallway, the parents opened the door to their little optimist and they saw him laughing and giggling, gleefully taking the manure in his hands and throwing it up into the air! And they heard him say, "Mom and dad, you can't fool me, where there's this much crap ... there's got to be a pony!"

This story underscores the difference between optimists and pessimists; where most of us would only see a nasty pile of manure, optimists see something else, they see potential "hidden ponies." As a clinical psychologist and professional speaker, this is what I try to teach people in my audiences whenever I speak--how to find hidden ponies in the trials and negative circumstances of our lives. Optimists know how to do this intuitively, and they practice this skill in their professions and in their interpersonal interactions. When I have the privilege of speaking to a group of professionals in your industry, I always ask them this million-dollar question: Are you an OPTIMIST or a PESSIMIST?

The answer to that question may have a profound impact on your life, career and relationships. But what does it really mean to be an optimist? I have a friend and colleague whom I often tease because everything seems to turn out right for him and go his way. Once we were out for lunch and he bumped his iced-tea with his hand, the glass wavered precariously back and forth, the tea sloshing around and coming dangerously close to going all over him. And of course, as is his destiny, not a single drop is spilt. I said to him, "Jeff, what just happened is a metaphor for your life. If that had been me, that drink would have ended up in my lap! Everything just works out for you doesn't it?" He smiled and looked at me and said, "Yeah, I guess it does."

Is my friend left an optimist or a pessimist because everything seems to go his way? No, Jeff is just lucky. Optimism has nothing to do with luck, good karma or how the planets are aligned. Optimism has everything to do with how you respond and react when things don't go your way. Anyone can be positive when things are going great, but the real test is how do you act when things don't go according to plan.

The Attitude Axiom. The most important thing about you is NOT what happens to you, it is how you talk to yourself about what happens to you. You see, we all talk to ourselves, and this is called thinking; thinking is an internal dialogue that we have going on inside of ourselves all the time, and how we think creates our attitude and approach to life. Your attitude is the most essential skill which you can practice because not only does it energize you, but it energizes those around you as well.

In this brief article, let me share with you two reasons why a positive attitude is vitally important for you. …

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