Unless you've had your head stuck in the sand, you've probably run across the numerous best-selling books by Jon Gordon. I like all of his work, and his new book, The Carpenter is truly a must-read.

The Carpenter is an engaging parable of a high-powered entrepreneur who recaptures his sense of purpose through working with (and learning from) a blue-collar artisan. The highlight of the book, IMHO, is the following promise:

  • I vow to stay positive in the face of negativity;
  • When I am surrounded by pessimism, I will choose optimism;
  • When I feel fear, I will choose faith;
  • When I want to hate, I will choose love;
  • When I want to be bitter, I will choose to get better;
  • When I experience a challenge, I will look for an opportunity to learn and grow;
  • When I experience a setback, I will be resilient;
  • When I meet failure, I will fail forward, toward future success;
  • With vision, hope, and faith, I will never give up and will always move forward toward my destiny;
  • I believe my best days are ahead of me, not behind me;
  • I believe I'm here for a reason and my purpose is greater than my challenges;
  • I believe that being positive not only makes me better, it make everyone around me better;
  • So today and every day I will be positive and strive to make a positive impact on the world.

In the book, the titular carpenter reads this vow (and recommits to it) whenever he's "not feeling very positive." While that might seem a bit simplistic, it's not. There's real science behind the effectiveness of affirmations.

According to the latest neuroscience research, your experience of your life changes according to how you perceive and remember events. The vow above "edits" how you perceive events, so that they lift you up rather than drag you down.

There are two ways to use the vow:

  1. As a short-term remedy for the blues. Whenever you're feeling stressed, fearful, disappointed, or angry, read that promise to yourself. You'll immediately feel better and be better able to cope.
  2. As a long-term recipe for success. Start your day by reading the vow aloud and you'll experience more joy, regardless of what the day brings you. Do this for at least two weeks and you'll "lock in" your positive attitude.

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