It appears that a lot of people have lived so long with negative words and reactions from the people around them that they now believe they are normal. Our society has become so negative that we believe bad news twice as fast as we believe good news. If you receive two messages on your mobile phone, one stating that you just won N500,000 in a promo and the other stating that 180 people just died in a plane crash, which would you readily believe? How did we arrive at this point? How come we are in a place in our lives where we doubt good and believe bad?
While I was an undergraduate, one of my lecturers saw me reading a comedy book and asked why I should be wasting my time on such a book. She insisted that I should read a tragedy instead because it is closer to real life. Really? If life is so tragic, wouldn’t it be double jeopardy to read tragic stories again? Abraham Lincoln made a profound statement which has been rendered in different ways but it generally states, “If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will”. Similarly, whoever looks for the bad in life expecting to find it will surely do.
Please don’t misunderstand me; my argument is not that there is nothing bad in life or that you should believe every promotional hoax that comes your way. My argument is that you need a positive attitude to achieve positive result in life. According to Les Brown, “When life knocks you down, make sure you land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up”. That is what I call a good attitude towards life. Those who are depressed are in a state of hopelessness. Hope is the reason you wake up in the morning and try again despite the failures of yesterday. Where there is no hope, people put an end to their lives because they don’t foresee a better future. Rather than having a “No more” attitude, why not try a “One more time” attitude? Some attitudes close us up to possibilities of progress while some others open us up to them.
Here are a few suggestions of how you can build a positive attitude:
1. Find solutions in problems: Zig Ziglar once stated that though he was never into counselling, he had spoken to persons in psychology, psychiatry and ministry who counseled people, and they all agreed that not everyone who came for counselling needed a solution. According to him, “A lot of people are just looking for who to tell about it. And if you spoil the show by solving the problem, then they can’t tell everyone about it. They want the attention that goes with the problem”. This, perhaps, explains why a lot of people look for, hold onto and cherish problems. They need to be able to compare notes with other people. They may even begin to feel odd if other people are complaining and they don’t have anything to complain about. Rather than ‘enjoying” problems and using our situations to justify how bad our nation has become, let us look out for solutions and become examples of how one can beat all odds to succeed.
2. Understand that you are special: You have something special to give that no one else can. Everyone was created with a gift to give to humanity; the discovery of that gift is what is called purpose. If you discover your purpose, you will realise that you are relevant, important and valuable. Let that give you a reason to look forward to the goodness in life. Someone may ask, “what if my hope is disappointed?” I will ask, “What if your hope is achieved?” Your glorious destiny is worth the try. Simply stop trying to become like someone else and develop your unique potentials.
3. Think good and speak good: my favourite book says that from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. What you see outside you is a reflection of what is inside you. If you give up on the inside, you will lack the physical energy to go on. According to Norman Vincent Peale, “Change your thoughts and you change your world”. Robert H. Schuller went further to say, “It takes but one positive thought when given a chance to survive and thrive to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts”. It is quite easy to think bad thoughts; I challenge you to think good thoughts! Don’t allow any person or situation to convince you that you are just not good enough because you are.
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