In today’s media-centric world, with so much information being thrown our way from Facebook and Google and Twitter, one attitude can literally contribute to you winning, and that is an attitude of optimism. It’s so funny—if I do an audit of my life and look at the times when I have experienced tremendous success and when I have had prolonged periods of failure, I have always been extraordinarily positive when I have succeeded and negative and pessimistic when I have failed. I’m not saying that I didn’t face incredible challenges and have setbacks when I was positive and succeeded because I did, but because of my optimistic outlook, I faced hurdles with resolve and positivity, and it made all of the difference. In order to be optimistic there are three focused concepts to help:
- Avoid Criticizing, Instead Show Empathy
- Be Positive, Avoid Complaining
- Make Optimism a Habit
Stop Criticizing, Show Empathy
It’s so damn easy to sit and criticize even when the criticisms may be deserved. In today’s world, we have so many platforms to voice our discontent and displeasure: multiple social media feeds, blogs, sites, online reviews—you name it, we have an option to tell the world about how terrible someone or some company is. What I’ve found to be true is when I go down that path and begin to criticize, it becomes almost like an addiction. Soon the glass is always half empty, and most people are out to screw me. When we take a step back and look at the bigger picture, then we have control. If we are constantly criticizing, then it is like we are playing the role of every problem being someone else’s fault instead of our own. Again, I’m a realist. Of course people screw up, and we can spend time focusing on their mistakes, or instead we can focus on finding solutions. The other day I loaded my four kids up in the Suburban so we could go visit my wife and our new baby. It was late at night, very dark, and the snow plows had left a large hill of snow just past our driveway. I backed out and crunch, there was a UPS truck in the dark that I had just backed into. Well I was not happy about that, and frankly I could have taken the position that the UPS driver should not have been parked so close to my driveway and really taken a negative path. Instead, because I live a life where I’m in control of every good and bad thing that happens to me, I realized I should have been more careful and backed out a little slower and looked around more than I did. I decided to avoid the criticism, knowing full well our driveway is on a cul-de-sac and there is little space to park. You avoid a lot of negative energy when you don’t criticize, and you maintain control of your life instead of living like a victim.
During the great recession I had significant problems with speculative investments I had made in real estate. Clearly, as the market tanked and I could not sell properties I had invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into fixing up, there was a lot that was outside of my control. In reality, I couldn’t change the trajectory of the real estate market. So I began to complain about how bad my luck was, how bad my timing was—it really couldn’t have been any worse. For literally three years or so I complained and whined like a little female puppy (as my kids would say) and surprise, surprise things did not get better for my businesses or personal life. At the end of that third year I read Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, and I was transformed for the better. His study of some of the most successful industry titans taught me that there wasn’t a second to focus on negative aspects. Instead, everything had to be positive. I realized my thoughts do make a huge difference. Again, let me drive home that just because I dropped the negativity out of my life did not mean that I didn’t face constant challenges, negative clients or even negative partners and family members. But it gave me the power to not be drug down the hell of negativity, because that is exactly what it is.
Make Optimism a Habit
They say it takes 21 days to develop a habit. I’m not sure that is completely accurate; another study done by a team at the University College of London believes it actually takes about 66 days to create a lasting habit. That seems pretty accurate to me. Since 2008, I have worked out at least four to five times every single week ,and except for two weeks that I was not supposed to work out because of a sports hernia surgery, I have maintained that habit. Interestingly, for the past four years I have maintained my habit of optimism and frankly I love it. I will never go back to complaining, bitching and blaming others ever again. I am the master of my destiny. If it is to be, it’s up to me!
Make optimism a habit and never look back, my friends. Eliminate criticism, complaining and negativity from your live and replace them with positivity, empathy, and optimism. Have an incredible day, my entrepreneurial friends!