Thursday, July 1, 2010

Maintaining a Positive Attitude even when...

I was talking with a girlfriend recently and asked how her husband was doing.  He was laid off from his corporate job several months ago.  She said he’s had a great attitude about the whole thing.  There have been days when he’s been  down-in-the-dumps but after several days of feeling sorry for himself - he recognize that bad attitude wasn’t going to do him or anyone else any good and he snapped himself out of it.Rather than having a pity party about losing his job - and money being tight - he chose instead to look at his “unplanned” vacation as an opportunity to do the things he never seemed to have time to do when he was working - spend more time with his family and get to all those unfinished projects.  He also viewed it as an opportunity to step back and think about what he wanted his next job and future to look like.  That approach and attitude paid off.  He just accepted a new position and he’s thrilled with the opportunity and now grateful for the “unplanned” time he had off.

Attitude is so important to success in everything we do.  It becomes especially important when things happen that we are not happy about - when we are forced into making a change we don’t want to make - when things don’t go our way.  When this happens - you have two choices - feel sorry for yourself and be bitter or approach it with a positive attitude by looking for the upside, finding the opportunity and learning from the experience.

Did you know it took Edison more than 10,000 tries to invent the light bulb?  He failed repeatedly.   Rather than feeling sorry for himself every time he failed - he viewed each failure as bringing him one step closer to success.   After each failed attempt he noted the details of the experiment and learned from what went wrong and tried again.  Thankfully he never gave up or you would be reading this column by candlelight. 

As long as we’re talking about the attitude of inventors - one of my favorite stories is about Spencer Silver - a scientist working in the 3M research labs back in the 70’s who was tasked with inventing a stronger adhesive than what 3M already had on the market.  He did in fact invent a new adhesive - but it failed miserably as far as being strong.  It stuck to objects but did not hold well at all.  Silver failed at what he set out to do.  But rather than throwing up his hands in disgust he thought that maybe that adhesive would be good for something.  Fast forward 10 years later to the invention of “Post it Notes” - using Silver’s adhesive!  

The lesson here is that when things don’t go your way - you can view it as a failure and view failure as a bad thing - or view failure as an opportunity to learn from and in many cases to create or start something better!   Like mom always said “when one door closes - another opens”.   The secret is having the attitude to look for the new opportunities through the open door - rather than dwelling on the one that has closed behind you.   It’s certainly not always easy.  But maintaining a positive attitude when things don’t go your way - is key to survival and future success!

No comments:

Post a Comment