I'm a seriously optimistic man and I have been all my life, even though like most people, I've had plenty of times when my optimism has been challenged. So how do I remain optimistic? It's really simple, I choose to be optimistic.
Sadly I know way too many people who choose to be miserable, and they've been choosing it for so long that it's probably too hard for them to ever change. My decision to be an optimistic man starts every morning, regardless of what is going on in my world.
Each morning I spend a few minutes thinking about my life. I think about where I have come from, the things I am grateful for, the people in my life whom I love and adore, the people who help me to make a living and how I want my day ahead to unfold.
When thinking about my day ahead, I get very specific. I think about what I want to wear based on how I want to feel, I think about actual meetings, the people who will be in the meetings and the outcomes I would like to achieve. If I am writing for the day I visualize the words flowing easily, the ideas coming into my mind being great ones and I start to get a sense of well being as I know that the day ahead is going to be not just good, but spectacular.
I know this sounds really simple, but it has a very profound effect on me. It puts me in a very loving and grateful state of mind, it puts my life and where I am right now into perspective and, most importantly of all, it puts me in a positive, energetic and passionate state of mind about the day ahead. It is pretty hard to have a bad day when you start it like this.
Sometimes I lie in bed and think about these things for a few minutes, sometimes I do it in the shower and other days I sit in the morning sun with a hot cup of tea and my eyes closed, soaking up the rays and energy.
It may seem like a very simple idea, but that's the beauty of it. Everyone can do it and you will notice the powerful affect that it has on your life.
Every single day is a gift. Sure we all have crappy days and sometimes it is really hard to sit and think beautiful thoughts when the kids are screaming, the washing machine is overflowing, you are now late for the biggest presentation of your career and you get into your car and the battery is flat. But that is life. It isn't the world out to get you. Sometimes we just have to go with it, laugh out loud and accept what is happening. How we react is entirely our choice.
You have probably heard about the power of gratitude. Sometimes it is really hard to be grateful. When we have lost a loved one, or a relationship has ended, or we have been diagnosed with a terrible disease, it's hard to put on our happy face and go skipping off into the sunset. But these are the times when we really do need to be grateful for everything.
Gratitude is the emotion that can conquer most emotional ills. It brings perspective into our lives, it moves our focus away from what we don't have to what we do have and it reminds us of the things in our lives that are profoundly important.
Knowing what to be grateful about can sometimes be a stumbling block. After our loved ones and food on the table, the list often seems to end. But, when you think about it, we could spend all day every day being grateful for all the things our lives have had in it and perhaps some of the things we have been lucky enough to avoid. We might even be grateful now for some things that seemed terrible at the time yet ended up being incredible opportunities.
As an example, I am extremely grateful that I got decompression sickness when I was a commercial diver and almost died. Sounds strange, I know, but if that hadn't happened to me I would never have started down the road I am on now. I wouldn't be a writer or a presenter, sharing my experiences and philosophies with people around the world. One little nitrogen bubble lodged itself in my brain and my world was turned upside down. Today I give thanks for that bubble every morning.
In fact the things I am most grateful for have all come from the most challenging situations in my life. Somehow being thankful for these situations stops them from being painful and allows me to see them as pivotal moments that led to where I am today.
So every morning take a few minutes to think about others, to think about everything that has brought you to this place and how you want to handle things. The results are empowering.
The best part about this ritual is that the more you do it the better it feels. Whenever you get a quiet moment, when you are sitting in traffic, waiting for an appointment, in-between jobs or waiting for the train, just focus your thoughts on the positive aspects of your life - the things you are grateful for, the people you love and care for, and the actions you are taking right now.
When you do this, the world will change right then and there. It will become less harsh and less loud, and you will notice the little kid eating the ice-cream, the cloud that looks like an elephant, or a sign that makes you laugh.
The world we live in is spectacular in every way. It simply depends upon how you look at it. You can choose whether it is dull and grey, or bright and beautiful. Look at those people who seem to go through life aware that they have the choice. They are vibrant, they are happy, they are content and they are filled with love. You can be too.
Business success or failure is most tied into the attitude of the owner. I know that to be absolutely true. Choose the right attitude and you will amazed what changes in your life. I've been doing it for 30 years and it works every time, all the time. It's entirely up to you.