Look at Your ATTITUDE
“Have you ever wondered why it is that some people who have huge intellectual ability fail miserably in life, while some who are not so gifted succeed gloriously? Or why some people can take knock after knock after knock, and still get up, dust themselves off, and get on with life – yet others are “down and out for the count” after the smallest challenge?
Or how some people can fix their eyes on a goal and just never give up until they get there, no matter how long it takes?
The answer to all the above lies in one word: attitude. Dr Martin Seligman has done a great deal of research, and found that one of the main factors that keeps people going through challenges, disappointments and the various disasters that life throws at us is optimism, and that (even for those who are natural pessimists) optimism can be learned in fact Dr Seligman himself confesses to being by nature a pessimist!
Dr Seligman points out three main areas of difference between optimists and pessimists when faced with challenges, failures or opposition.
The first concerns how they see the duration of the problem. The optimist sees it as temporary, the pessimist as permanent. If an optimist fails an exam, he will say “I failed that exam, but I will do well on the next one.” The pessimist who fails an exam will say “I failed. I’m never going to pass this course.”
The second relates to the scope of the problem: the optimist sees it as affecting one are of life only, whilst the pessimist sees it as affecting everything.
The optimist says, “I failed my history exam, but I did well in math.” The pessimist says, “I failed. I’m never going to succeed in life.”
The third area concerns the cause of the problem. The optimist will look for causes outside of himself, the pessimist always sees himself as to blame.
Optimist: “The exam asked about things that we had not covered in the course.” Pessimist: “I’m just no good at history (and I never will be.)”
The good news is that, with a little effort, we can change pessimistic attitudes into optimistic ones. To do it, we have to use our conscious mind to challenge the wrong perceptions and thought patterns that have hidden in our subconscious for many years.
So, you have failed the history exam. The first thought that comes to your mind is “I’m never going to pass this course!” Immediately you recognize it, you say (out loud if possible) “STOP!” (Some people like to wear an elastic band around their wrist and flick it to grab their mind’s attention.)
Now challenge the assumption – simply tell yourself, “That’s not true!” Present your mind with arguments to the contrary: “This was just one exam. I can make it up during the rest of the course.”
Maybe your second thought is, “I’m never going to succeed in anything.” Again, STOP!
Tell yourself this is not true. Tell yourself that this is only one very small area of your life, and that it has absolutely no bearing in the other areas. Even if you flunk this course miserably, you can still have a great life. If you find yourself thinking, “I’m a failure” or “I’m just hopeless” STOP! Tell yourself this is not true. Remind yourself of areas where you have known success, and where you have ability. It will seem strange at first, but after a while you will become quite adept at arguing with yourself!
(Now, there is a sense in which taking it personally is good – when it relates to what we have done, rather than what we are. If the guy who failed the history exam had said, “I didn’t study hard enough” then he would be taking responsibility for his own actions, which leaves him room to change his actions (i.e., study harder) in the future. But if he just says, “I’m no good at history” or “I’m not academically gifted” or “I’m just plain dumb!” then he is not taking responsibility, but rather blaming the “genetic lottery” that caused him to be as he is. If we are to succeed in any area of life – or, indeed, in life itself – we absolutely MUST be prepared to take responsibility for our own actions and their consequences.)
Why is this important for your business? When it all boils down, we are sales people. We are seeking to “sell” others on the idea of joining our business. In the “real” world, sales people have to deal with refusals all the time. How they handle those refusals will determine their level of success, or whether they give up and walk away after a few months.
As online business people, we don’t have the face-to-face rejection that offline sales people do. But there will be days when you have been working hard and seem to see no result. There will be times when your business just does not seem to be growing at the rate you would like it to be. If you approach those times with a pessimistic attitude – that this will go on forever, that it will ruin every part of your life, and that it is all your own fault because you are just hopeless – then you will soon give up and walk away. On the other hand, if you are able to turn your thinking around to see that this is only temporary, that it only affects this little bit of your life, and that whilst there may be areas where you can improve (take responsibility) it is not the result of some fault in your nature, then whilst you may not be dancing in the aisles, you will keep on going.
If you are prone to pessimistic responses, work on changing them to optimistic ones. You will find that not only your business but all your life will improve dramatically.”
Lynn Fowler Re: Dr. Seligman
Gut Check – We all need it once in a while – Hang Tough
Dick Morrison <> Comments invited.