You can’t always choose your circumstances, but you can choose your attitude. No matter how trying your circumstances may be at times, you can learn to cultivate a positive attitude. When you do, it transforms your whole life experience. May this story inspire you to find the positive in every situation, so that you can create more positivity in your career and life.

positive-attitudeI first noticed Ron about five years ago at the brink of dawn. I was about to begin my morning qi-gong practice at the ocean shore near my home at the time. Ron was walking slowly with his walker along the flat, concrete walkway.

Occasionally he would stop, pull out his binoculars and gaze out into the distance where he had spotted a sea lion or an otter.

He smiled at me, wished me a good morning mentioned the lovely fresh breeze and pointed out the beautiful hues of pink in the sky. It turned out that we both had a morning ritual of visiting this beautiful place at the water’s edge in the early morning.

Ron and I quickly became friends. I learned his name and told him mine. He promised that he would try to remember. Even though he always said my name with hesitation: “Good morning… it?” Ron always got it right.

attitude-smileSeeing Ron’s smile each morning was a special treat. I began to look forward to his commentary on the weather. He always found something lovely. When it was spitting with rain, he would say: “What a lovely fresh morning it is.” When the wind was blowing hard, making it difficult for him to push his walker along, he commented: “It feels so invigorating! Look how beautiful the mighty breakers are this morning!” Ron had such a positive attitude. He was  able to see the good in every weather condition. It seemed effortless and natural for him to focus on the bright side.

When my husband and I bought our home about a 30 minute walk away from this particular shoreline, I noticed a little twinge in my heart. I was going to miss seeing Ron in the morning. One early morning, as I was walking up our street on my way to my new sanctuary at our neighbourhood beach, my heart almost skipped a beat.

I saw an old man with a walker coming down the walkway of one of the houses on our block. It was Ron. As it turned out, we had moved to the street he lived on, and had been living on for over 50 years. I was so happy to see him again and told him that we were now neighbours. He was just as delighted to see me as he said his usual “Julia…is it?” He commented on the lovely crispness in the air (it was January) and carried on with his walk.

3 Simple Steps to Cultivate Your Positive Attitude

wet-attitudeIt seemed so natural and effortless for Ron to see the good in every type of weather. I began to ask myself, “What would Ron say about the weather today?” especially on particularly cold and rainy mornings.

I noticed how easy it was to shift my focus to the shiny pebbles, the beautiful sound of the rain, the freshness of the air. It felt so good to savour the beauty of each morning, even when it wasn’t apparent at first sight.

How can you train yourself to recognize the good in every life situation? Initially it requires focus and attention. For me the question: “What would Ron say?” became a helpful mantra, not just in regards to the weather.

  1. Now, take a moment to scan your own life for people who exude positivity. They may be people you know personally, such as friends, family or co-workers. They may also be well-known teachers or leaders such as the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, or Thich Nhat Hanh. If no one comes to mind who truly inspires you, I suggest starting with Ron.
  2. Whenever you face a trying situation, ask yourself “What would Ron say?” or insert the name of the person whose positive attitude inspires you the most.
  3. Then take a moment to listen.  Notice how a fresh perspective about the circumstances arise within you. What are you inspired to do from this perspective?

You can train yourself to see and point out the good in almost any life situation. Over time these three simple steps will help you cultivate a positive attitude.

cultivate-positive-attitudeRecently, a client of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer. While she was of course shocked and scared, she immediately pointed out the wonderful support she received from her family and her circle of friends.

She is now even more strongly committed to making positive changes in her life and savouring each moment. Her positive attitude towards her challenging circumstances makes all the difference.

How might this ability to focus on the positive serve you on your journey to career clarity?