Spread a Positive Atmosphere and Contagious Optimism
You can choose to wake up sad or to wake up happy. You can’t put your happiness into anybody’s hands but your own. You have to choose to make the best of your life, regardless of the circumstances. — Taraji P. Henson,[i] Actress and author
The Optimist and the Pessimist
President Ronald Reagan enjoyed telling a story about two twin brothers. As they were growing up, it became obvious that even though they shared the same birthday, their personalities were complete opposites. One was a total pessimist and the other was an eternal optimist.
At the age of 7, the twins’ parents had them checked out by a psychiatrist to see how they could be such polar opposites. First, the psychiatrist brought the pessimistic twin into the room. Opening the door, the psychiatrist showed the child a room overflowing with shiny new toys. “All the toys are yours!” exclaimed the doctor. The little boy began to weep uncontrollably. “What on earth is wrong?” asked the psychiatrist. Through his tears, the boy asked, “What am I going to do one day when they all break?”
After this, the psychiatrist took the optimistic twin into an old dilapidated barn. He pushed open the creaking door, revealing a huge pile of manure covering the floor of the old barn. The little boy’s eyes opened up wide, and his face lit up with a grin from ear to ear. He picked up a shovel and began zealously scooping the manure. “What on earth are you doing?” asked the baffled psychiatrist. “Well,” said the optimistic twin, “with all this manure, there must be a pony in here somewhere.”
The optimistic person chooses to wake up happy. They choose to always see the bright side of things. They choose to find the positive in seemingly negative situations. The happiest people on earth are the most optimistic people on earth.
We can choose to be those people. We can choose to have a contagious smile and a contagious optimism that creates a positive atmosphere and appositive change in the world around us. We can choose to not only be among the most successful, but also the happiest group of people on the planet.
Seeing the Good
So often you meet people who are successful and they seem miserable. — Ethan Hawke,[ii] Actor
Many seemingly and actually successful people are seemingly and actually unhappy. You may have played the big part and gotten the big promotion. You may have the fame and the fortune. You may have achieved your goals and much success, but that doesn’t always equate to happiness.
Just because someone has it pretty good, doesn’t mean they are seeing and appreciating all the good that they have. They may, in fact, have it pretty good, but they are misunderstood. They’re miserable. They’re either failing to see the good in themselves, in what they have, or in others. If they could only see the good, they’d be happy.
There’s another story about two travelers, that also relates to the problem: One traveler who was approaching a city came upon an old man standing by the side of the road. The traveler stopped and asked, “What are the people like in that city?” The old man asked in return, “What are the people like where you came from?” The traveler replied, “They were a terrible lot, mean, undependable, dishonest, detestable in all respects.” “Ah,” said the old man, “You’ll find the same in that city.”
A short time later, a second traveler came by and stopped to ask the old man the same question. Again, the old man asked back, “What were the people like where you came from?” This traveler answered, “They were fine, wonderful people, honest, industrious, and generous to a fault. I was sorry to leave.” “Ah,” the old man said to him, “Those are the kinds of people you’ll find in this city.”
No matter what our circumstances are. No matter how much we’ve failed or how much success we’ve achieved. No matter who we are or what stage of life we’re in. We can all choose to do this: see the good in things, see the good in people, and see the good in life. Not all successful people do this, but everyone who is both successful and happy do this.
The happiest successful people are full of optimism. They find all the good they can in every person, place, or thing. They bring out the good in themselves and in others. They are in the business of seeing and making good things happen.
Find Your Happy Place to Make a Happy Place
I think my show is awesome. It’s called ‘A Trip to Unicorn Island,’ and essentially Unicorn Island is a synonym for my happy place. Everyone has a Unicorn Island within them, and I’m going to show you that you don’t need me or anyone else to be happy. It’s interesting: You’re coming to my show and I’m telling you that you don’t need me. How’s that for a business strategy? — Lilly Singh,[iii] YouTube star
In the movie, Happy Gilmore, Happy (Adam Sandler) had to learn to find his happy place in order to hit the golf ball well. Fans and haters would distract him and try to get him sidetracked from hitting the ball, but when he was in his happy place, he did alright. There’s a happy place for each one of us to find. And it’s available to us anywhere, anyplace, in every moment of every day. We just have to choose to find it.
Our success and our happiness often has little to do with outside circumstances. Instead, it hinges upon who we are on the inside. If we’re solid on the inside, we’ll be solid on the outside. If our inner world is great, our outer world will be great.
Our inner well-being highly influences our over-all well-being. Our internal state often dictates our external state. If things are right internally, we’re making things all right externally, regardless of how they are or how they appear.
We can’t be a happy success if we’re a walking mess. If we’re a mess on the inside, it doesn’t matter how blessed we are on the outside. We just won’t be happy.
Those who have it together on the inside operate effectively, successfully, and happily on the outside. They live the good life because they are good within. They live a happy life because they are happy within. And each day every one of us has a choice to do just that.
Work and Life Can Be Fun
Learn to develop humor without folly. In leadership, we learn that it’s ok to be witty but not silly; fun but not foolish. — Jim Rohn[iv]
When people express puzzlement that a religious person can have such a wicked sense of humor, I say, “I belong to a sinners-only faith, and I’m at the top of the league table.” — Nuri Vittachi,[v] Journalist
The best leaders know how to laugh, even — and especially — at themselves. — Bill Murphy, Jr.[vi]
No matter where you live. No matter where you work. No matter what you do. You can choose to make your work and life fun. And you can help make it fun and more enjoyable for others too. It’s your choice.
Work and life can be challenging, tiring, and difficult. It can be serious business. But it can also be mixed with a little joy, a little fun, and a little laughter — or even a lot! It is what you make of it.
The most successful and happy people know how to laugh out loud and laugh at themselves. They’ve learned to laugh at their mistakes and little quirks. They know how to smile and whistle while they work.
We are not all comedians, nor should we necessarily try to be. But we can find some fun and some humor mixed in our everyday lives. We are not all millionaires, nor have we all arrived at where we want to be, but we all have a certain measure of blessings, which should cause us to smile and share them with others.
Laughter is good medicine. It can lighten a heavy heart and a heavy work load. Smiling is a good exercise. It makes others feel valued and appreciated, brings meaning into their day, and motivates them to make the most of it. Spreading smiles and laughter is good for business, good for your soul, good for your life and the lives of others. It is something we should be doing more and more.
A Positive Attitude is a Positive Inspiration
We have to undo a 100-year-old concept and convince our managers that their role is not to control people and stay “on top” of things, but rather to guide, energize, and excite. — Jack Welch,[vii] former CEO of G.E.
What a wonderful thing it is to leave a legacy of joy. What an enviable thing it is to have others see the joy… in all that you do. — Zig Ziglar[viii]
Successful people motivate others. There are 100’s of ways to motivate others; a positive attitude and a smile on your face is near the top of the list. If we want to inspire, we can do it with a positive attitude that others admire.
Having a positive attitude means maintaining a positive outlook. It means being hopeful, confident, and enthusiastic about all the good and positive things that are being achieved and will be achieved. It means keeping an optimistic picture in your head as you look ahead. Successful people are able to do this, and help others do the same.
If you want to stay positive and spread a positive atmosphere, come to realize and remind yourself and remind others of all the positive things you possibly can. Think positive. Speak positive. And be positive.
You can do this. You’re a winner. Success is in your blood. You were born to soar higher. You’re an overcomer. You did great today. You’ll do better tomorrow. You’re on your way up. You’ve got the tools and the talent to achieve your dreams. You’ve got the capability and the opportunity to make big things happen. Remind yourself of these things. Remind others of these things. Speak words of positive encouragement to yourself and to others and watch it have a powerful and lasting impact in your work and life, and in theirs.
Attitude is everything. It can keep us from success or allow us to soak it up. A positive attitude, outlook, and atmosphere, will help us and others to continue progressing in success.
[i] Redbook, October, 2016, p. 108–109, “Taraji,” by Lori Berger.
[ii] The Red Bulletin, July, 2016, p. 21, “Bullevard.”
[iii] Fast Company Magazine; June, 2016, p. 119, “The 100 Most Creative People in Business.”
[iv] Success Magazine; April 22, 2014, “7 Personality Traits of a Great Leader,” http://www.success.com/article/rohn-7-personality-traits-of-a-great-leader. Accessed 7/1/2016.
[v] Christianity Today, July/August, 2016, p. 46, “Meet the Makers: 20 Leaders Mixing Faith and Innovation.”
[vi] Inc. Magazine; June, 2016, p. 12, “4 Habits of Exceptional Bosses.”
[vii] Fortune Magazine, March 26, 1990.
[viii] Zig Ziglar, Confessions of a Grieving Christian, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1998), p. 240.