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Christopher Thompson's Closing the Deal: You control your attitude


Regardless of your career, you've likely been exposed to countless leaders who rant and rave about the power of your mental attitude and how its affects the way you think about your personal and professional life.

Do a Google search on "positive attitude," and you'll find more than 54 million results of companies and people who claim to have the magic potion for developing one.

I'm a big believer in the way a positive attitude influences your success. I've studied this concept since I was first exposed to Napoleon Hill's work early in my sales and management career. For me, Napoleon Hill's concepts were life-changing. But one aspect of conditioning your mind that is often overlooked is that it's not easy.

Life is full of adversity and defeat. The same is true in the business world. There are constant challenges and issues you have to work through. Oftentimes, you are overwhelmed with various negative and challenging situations.

Take, for example, the situations you face in your life every day. Look around, and there will be a long list of negative things you can focus on. The day I wrote this column is a good example. I went to bed late and was exhausted when my alarm went off. I was running late and wasn't in the greatest mood. Then, as we were rushing trying to get out of the house, my daughter spilled her entire bowl of cereal and I had to spend time cleaning it up.

After I dropped my daughter off at school, I realized I forgot to bring my usual bottles of water to drink on the ride to work. I was dying of thirst. Then, as I headed down the beloved Everett Turnpike, I got stuck in traffic.

I'm sure to most, this doesn't sound like a big deal, and it really isn't. After all, these are certainly not real problems, and I'm sure many people had a lot worse morning than I had. But during each of the situations I considered to be challenges, I had a choice. I had the opportunity to choose how I was going to react to each and whether I would allow them to affect my attitude. And this single step is what I consider to be the most important part of maintaining a positive attitude, regardless of the situation.

The same is true in the workplace. You are surrounded by things you could classify as negative. From people to processes to things your company does that you don't agree with, it's extremely easy to find things to complain about. And it's a lot harder to find the positive and not let people or situations have a negative impact on your attitude.

I've never claimed to be an expert on positive thinking. I have bad days just like everyone else does. But I have gotten pretty good at recognizing that regardless of what happens around me or what happens to me, I have a choice. I choose how I let situations affect me. I am in complete control of the way I react and respond to negative situations. And I am in complete control of the way I decide to let situations affect my attitude.

As Napoleon Hill said perfectly: "Your mental attitude is the only thing over which you and only you have complete control." Recognizing this will help condition your mind for success and develop a positive attitude.

Christopher Thompson (cthompson@catch22solutions.com) writes Closing the Deal weekly for the Sunday News.

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