Gratitude As Your Guide

For the longest time in my life, I came across as a fairly (ok very) negative person.  A lot of “I can’t believe so and so said this” or “this is going to be a real pain to deal with” or “maybe I’m just not cut out for this” or “why is no one responding to me?”  This was kind of my driving force to work hard to avoid those negative moments.  I didn’t want to be negative, it just kind of came out of me.  No matter how hard I worked though, I was getting beat up by my own negative thoughts and comments.

People that know me well would say that I get it from my family.  They’ll describe it as being a realist.  You’ve all heard the term.  I’ve never seen that as necessarily negative or positive.  It’s this place in the middle that only you can control your own destiny and your own actions dictate what’s going to happen in your life.  This leans a bit negative though, because you have no expectations for people and therefore inherently expect people to provide nothing.  When you expect nothing, you’ll get nothing from people, and then the negativity rolls out of you.

Over the past year or so, really since I got engaged and realized that my actions and attitude have an effect on my now wife and it’s not just about me any more, I’ve tried very hard to focus on the positive and be grateful for what I do have.  Not focusing on the moments people let me down (because they will) or when I let myself down (because I do) or when things don’t exactly work out the way I thought they would (things rarely work out perfectly).  Trying to cut out the negative influences around me (friends, environments, and even some family).  Letting gratitude be my guide.

I’m not saying I’m positive all the time, far from it, but when I find myself getting negative or falling into a trap of non-productive thoughts, I lean heavily on the good in my life.  When you have things you are grateful for (no matter how big or small) it makes the not so good things seem marginal.  Some people have religion or friends or family to provide this feeling of gratitude.  Whatever it is for you, leave yourselves reminders of it all around you.  Pictures, quotes, notes, songs, etc.  Anything to bring feelings of joy to combat the bad.

This shift in my mindset has allowed me to be a better husband, friend, son, brother, and also a better salesperson.  By not focusing on the negative all the time, I’ve become more focused on the good which has brought on more good.  I try to not focus on what I’ll get in return all the time for my actions, but trust that because I’m being positive I will receive back what’s best for that situation and am grateful for that moment.

Again, I’m not saying you need to be bubbly-everything-is-great-all-the-time guy or gal.  That’s impossible.  I am saying that when times get a little tough and you feel negativity coming on.  Take a breath.  Take a moment.  Think about the great things happening around.  Gain some perspective.  Move on to something positive.  It makes a huge difference.

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