There are so many opinions and motivational systems that attack the issue of attitude that I am almost unwilling to put my two cents in lest it be just thrown into the pantheon of power through positive thinking hype. Go on Amazon sometime and search “postive thinking.” The deluge of titles will blow you away. The deluge not withstanding, here are my humble views based on a 30 year career.
The phrase “If you believe it you can achieve it” is pure BS. It is an external superficial idea that will inspire you temporarily. Personally, I think that phrase is backwards. It should be: “when you achieve it, you’ll believe it.”
The question is: achieve what? I’m not sure I believe that I can write coherently, and in an engaging way, never mind with appropriate grammar. But so what? Here is where I achieve: I get myself to sit down everyday and write, no matter how I’m feeling. The achievement is turning on the computer and actually typing on the keypad. Achievement is based on small incremental steps that result in believing that I can do something. Just changing what I say to yourself or how I say it means nothing. Thinking about what I will do means nothing. I could care less about a positive attitude. I care about an “action attitude.” If I can get myself to fully engage in pursuing my goals through action, my attitude can’t help but change for the better.
I must inspire myself from within not without, by the sweat of my own action. If I am constantly watching the horizon for what will inspire me long term, I will be staring for a long long time. If I’m feeling uninspired, stuck and negative, I look inside. Look for the small first step that I can take, that will lead to a small second step that leads to a third and on and on. After a while, these steps become habitual and begin to have exponential results.
There’s a great song by Colin Hay called “Waiting For My Real Life To Begin.” It is about a man, presumably an artist, waiting for his big break. There’s a great lyric in it that goes
“When I awoke today, suddenly nothing happened,
But in my dreams I slew the dragon.”
It’s a sad song really. He keeps stating in the song that “He has a plan” and yet he does nothing to execute it! He’s just waiting around for the phone to ring. There is a lyric in the song that goes:
“Any minute now, my ship is coming in,
I’ll keep checking the horizon
And I’ll check my machine, there’s sure to be that call
It’s gonna happen soon, soon, soon…”
He sounds really depressed and helpless. Every time he gets to the “I’ll keep checking my machine” part, I want to scream: “pick the damn phone up and MAKE a call you idiot!
You see, it never occurs to him to slay the dragon in real life. Maybe not all at once, but it could be done slowly, one call at a time, one opportunity at a time. There is no such thing as an overnight success. There’s working in anonymity for a long time and the hard work hits critical mass, resulting in success. But success is never there without concrete hard work and consistent action.
Do you want things to happen in your career? In your life? Do you want to FEEL more positive about your situation? It’s simple, do something, anything to add to the foundation that you are building your life upon!
I challenge you to do something unexpected today. It may be something small, but make it something that stretches you out of your comfort zone. Tomorrow do the same, and again and again until it becomes a daily habit. If you falter in your discipline, start again. We all lapse in our work ethic, in some cases from time to time, in other cases constantly. It’s human nature. When that happens, don’t wait for inspiration from the outside. Take action and it will inspire you!
Slay the dragon. Start with a toenail and work your way up as most of us will, but take a first step and start building an attitude of action. It will be surprising how daily effort over time WILL slay the dragon. Do this. You’ll feel positive and more in control of your destiny, I promise.