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Self-confidence is the prerequisite to great undertakings.
I'll do the best I can!
I can start here!
Someone can teach me how!
I'll see what happens!
I have a plan that will work!
David Schwartz states, "You are what you think you are." What better statement can be used to reflect why some people possess a confident view of themselves? Take a good look at the people with whom you come into contact. You will observe that some people receive the "Hey, buddy" treatment while others receive the sincere and important "Yes, sir." (Schwartz, 1987)
Look closer still and you will observe that those people who command respect are also the most successful. What an individual thinks about himself determines how he acts. A positive disposition is at the center of it all. Here are four examples:
One of the most inspiring stories of maintaining a positive attitude in the middle of adversity is that of Joseph, a teenager of ancient times. He was the eleventh of twelve sons in a wealthy Middle Eastern family. He was born to a man named Jacob, whose trade was raising livestock. As a youth, Joseph outshone his brothers. He was Jacob's favorite son. He would tell his father about anything his brothers engaged in that was evil or wrong. His brothers got fed up with him.
Joseph shared a few stories with his brothers when he was in charge of them. Some of his brothers wanted to kill him, but his eldest brother, Reuben, prevented them from following through with their wicked plans. After placing Joseph in a pit for a while, his brothers sold him into slavery.
Joseph ended up in Egypt, working in the house of the captain of the guard, a man named Potiphar. Because of his leadership and administrative skills, Joseph rose quickly in the ranks. Later, the wife of his master tried to persuade him to sleep with her. When he refused, she accused him of attempted rape and had him thrown into prison.
Sometime later, Joseph met a fellow prisoner, the chief cupbearer, who had been an official in Pharaoh's court. Joseph was able to help him to interpret his dream. When he realized that the official was grateful for the favor, Joseph made a request of him in return.
Joseph had hoped that when the cupbearer was returned to court under the good graces of the monarch, this official would remember to put in a good word for him so he could be released from prison. He waited and waited. One year, then two years passed before the cupbearer remembered Joseph, and only because Pharaoh wanted someone to interpret his dreams. In the end, Joseph was able to interpret the monarch's dreams. The king was so moved at what Joseph did that he put him in charge of the entire kingdom.
1. Pour into your mind fresh, new thoughts of love and faith.
Through all of his struggles, Joseph maintained an enviable attitude toward life, people around him, and God.
2. A successful future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
In 1985, Mary Johnson, now fifty-five years old, was being interviewed by a popular television talk show host. Mary was asked a number of questions, including: "How were you able to become so successful against great odds?" The host then proceeded to outline some of the challenges Mary overcame:
"You were born into abject poverty. Your father died when you were only an infant. Your mother died when you were only sixteen years old, just when you were about to enroll in college. After struggling financially through university, you were fired from your first job for standing up for a fellow worker. Through it all you became a multi-millionaire. What are the secrets to your success?"
Mary Johnson collected her thoughts. Then, with a smile on her face, she answered, "There were two ingredients that were exercised over the last twenty-five years that pulled me through the hard times and helped me to achieve most of my goals. First, I maintained complete faith and trust in God that He would see me through my trials. Second, I exercised a positive disposition in my thoughts, in my walk, and in my daily living. I always felt that no tribulation lasts forever, that joy would come someday."
3. There are many things we wear, but the most important is our attitude.
4. Our outward actions reveal to others who we really are.
1. Expect the best in every situation—not the worst.
2. Keep believing in yourself—even if others refuse to.
3. Cling to hope—even when others say it's hopeless.
4. Remain upbeat—even if life is beating you down. The choice is yours.
5. Setbacks should act as a motivator or a tonic. Difficulties should encourage us to reach for our goals with more hunger.
Paul Smith is his name. Paul grew up in a very poor, downtrodden neighborhood in Nassau, Bahamas.
To make matters worse, at the age of ten Paul was struck accidentally in his left eye with a baseball while playing a friendly neighborhood game. Not long afterward, he lost his sight in both eyes. Paul was devastated by this unfortunate experience.
Over the next three years, Paul grappled with a very low self-image. But one day, while listening to the news on his local radio station, he heard an inspiring report of another individual who, unlike him, was born blind at birth. In spite of the challenges, this person developed the arts of songwriting and singing. He was later awarded several Grammy awards for outstanding singing, performances and writing. His name is Stevie Wonder.
So at the age of fourteen Paul determined that he would triumph over his situation.
Paul later became a talk show host in the Bahamas. The show, which was successful for many years, covered issues concerning the blind and disabled.
All of this was achieved after Paul had developed a great appreciation for himself in spite of his disability.
Consider the story of Sergio Zyman. He was the mastermind behind New Coke, something that marketing consultant Robert McMath sees as one of the greatest product failures of all time. Zyman, who successfully introduced Diet Coke, believed that Coca-Cola needed to act boldly to reverse its rival, Pepsi.
His solution was to stop offering the drink that had been popular for nearly one hundred years, change the formula, and offer it as New Coke. The move was an abysmal failure that lasted seventy-nine days in 1985, and cost the company about one hundred million dollars. People hated New Coke, and because of this, Zyman left the company.
But Zyman's experience with Coke didn't keep him down. Years later, when asked if the venture was a mistake, Zyman answered, "No, categorically. A failure? No. A blunder? A misstep? Yes. But not a failure."
What made the difference in Zyman's life was his attitude.
"By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. For He spake, and it was; He commanded, and it stood fast."—Psalm 33:6, 9
"He laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed forever."—Psalm 104:5
As the earth came forth from the hand of God, it was tremendously beautiful. The mountains, hills, and plains interspersed with noble rivers and lovely lakes. The trees were majestic. The air, untainted by pollution or miasma, was healthy and clear.
Although the earth was completed, with its beautiful animals and vegetables, God capped His creation with the act of creating mankind.
"So God created man in His own image; male and female created He them."
It is clear from the passage that there is no occasion for erroneous conclusions. Here are some reasons why people possess a positive disposition of themselves.
1. God created man in His own image. Mankind is blessed with both inner and outward resemblance of God. This is evident in man's spiritual nature. He became a "living soul." Mankind was blessed with a free will, a self-conscious personality, the "express image of his person."—Hebrews 1:3
2. Mankind was placed as God's earthly representative over the lower orders of being. The psalmist says, "Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet ... the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air ... and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas." The relationship of man to the rest of the creation was to be one of rulership. Mankind was created as stewards over the animals, plants, and virtually over the entire planet. Although, because of sin, man's influence is now limited, man is still the crowning creation of God.
In order to possess a positive view of yourself, you must be thankful and believe that you are very special, that you are blessed with what it takes to reach your goals with God's help.
Embrace a positive attitude and you will be on your way to success.
You're not responsible for every thought that passes through your mind—only for the thoughts that you hold there.
If there's an area of negative attitude causing you trouble, keep a close eye on it.
You can triumph over any setback with God's help.
Always look at the other side of the coin.
Your attitude or thoughts help shape you into who you are today.
If you ponder on happy thoughts, more often than not you will feel happier about life. But if you focus on the negative experiences in life, the opposite is also true. You receive from life what you expect or want out of it.
Here are seven dynamic insights or solutions that can help you develop a greater appreciation for yourself:
A positive attitude is everything.
Look or search for the cause of pessimistic thoughts. Deal directly with the root cause of a negative disposition. This will help you stay positive more often.
A positive attitude is a choice.
An upbeat attitude is a choice in the same way you select your career, life companion, and type of clothes you wear. Remind yourself that your life didn't just happen. You play an active role in it. You choose how to respond to what the world throws at you.
Dump your bad attitude in the bin.
Past experiences have a way of paralyzing us from achieving our goals in life. Therefore, learn to throw your bad past in the garbage bin, and leave it there.
Put your positive attitude into action.
Put creative plans and dreams into action. Have a critical eye for achieving success. Set a time limit on accomplishing it. Then go for it.
Exercise self-control over attitude hazards.
Stay away from negative hazards like fear or failure, anxiety, anger, and frustration. Learn to control how to respond to minor annoyances like arriving at work late, missing an appointment, and so on.
Visualize yourself attaining your goals. Talk about achieving your goals to a friend. Laugh at life. Encourage others, and by doing so you will inspire yourself also.
Join a supportive group.
Keep company with positive people who will inspire you when you need it most. Share some of your vision with friends who mean you well, people who want the best for you. Our attitude is expressed by our body language and the contagious expression on our faces.
Attitude is a product of belief.
No one can live beyond what he thinks he can.
Here are five things you can do to maintain a successful attitude:
1. Establish definite goals.
2. Don't be too hard on yourself.
3. Reflect on where your attitude is and where it may have taken shape.
4. Learn to accept yourself for your own uniqueness.
5. Approach every day as if you are already a successful person.
Our attitude must be grounded on the promises of scripture and from a root of faith. There are some situations in your life that are not under the sole control of God. Let us look at some of these:
1. Envying others
"A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones." (Proverbs 14:30) Envy is most destructive to the person doing the envying; this is why God says it is rottenness to the bones.
2. Feeling like a total failure
Take a moment to read Ephesians chapter 1. Note the key words, holy, chosen, and predestined. No one on earth is a total failure.
"Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled." (Hebrews 12:15) When a Christian becomes bitter, that person is selling him- or herself out to the old nature. That bitterness eventually surfaces in speech and actions.
"Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger."—Proverbs 19:15 "No one can ruin your day without your permission."
Most people will be about as happy as they decide to be.
Others can stop you temporarily, but only you can do it permanently. Whatever you are willing to put up with is exactly what you will have. Success stops when you do.
"You will never have it all together. Life is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the trip." (Author unknown)
* * *
There are also three important points to consider when helping a child to develop a positive self-image:
1. You must teach a child to respect him- or herself.
Most children don't feel too good about themselves early in life. A child must be encouraged to respect and appreciate him- or herself for who he or she is.
2. A child must learn to earn respect.
When a child does a task well he or she must be congratulated. The opposite is also true if a task is done poorly. The child must then be told, in love, that he or she needs to be more focused.
3. A child must experience respect from others.
You can tell a child that you love him or her, but the child must feel that love as being real. Children sense when you respect and love them.
The outward actions of our attitude become a window to our souls.
2. Failing Forward, Thomas Nelson; John C. Maxwell, 1984. Page 157
3. Genesis 1:26
4. Psalm 8:6–8
5. Elizabeth Kubler Ross
6. John 3:16
7. How To Stop Worrying and Start Living; Dale Carnegie; Page 157, 1985
8. The Winning Attitude: John C. Maxwell, 1993, Page 26
9. Author unknown
I have the simplest of tastes.
I am always satisfied with the best.
It is a proven fact that human beings cannot live happily in isolation. We may choose a relatively solitary path; yet it is our relationship with others that will largely define the quality of our lives. By the same token, it is our attitude toward others that helps us procure a good view of them. In order for us to continue to maintain a good view of others, we must have a fixed view of ourselves. The health of all our relationships with others, from the greatest to the least intimate, depends upon our relationship with our own self—the type of attitude we present to the world. When we cultivate the right attitude we can achieve oneness and harmony with those we encounter.
Socrates gives a good example about how we should view others.
This story is taken from the book entitled Dare to Win, by Mark V. Hansen and Jack Canfield. A stranger came up to Socrates and said, "I would like to live in your country. What kind of people does it have? In my country the people are not very nice. They lie, they cheat, and they steal. That's why I'm moving out."
In his wisdom, Socrates replied, "It's the same way here. If I were you I would keep looking."
A short time later, another man came up and asked about the people in Athens. Socrates again asked the man about his own city. The second man replied, "They are wonderful. They are truthful and industrious. I thought that I would like to see the other world."
In his wisdom, Socrates replied this time, "It is the same way here. Why don't you go into the city? You will find it just the way you imagine it would be."
This kind of attitude, the healthy kind, encourages us to take possession of a positive outlook on others. Our imagination creates our reality. It is deeply rooted in our attitude, in the midst of reality.
John is the kind of person with whom you would love to communicate. Whenever you meet him he is in a great mood. John always has something uplifting to say about life and people. If you were to ask how he is doing, he would reply, "If it gets better, I would believe that it is a setup."
He was also a great manager and motivator for a restaurant in Nassau, Bahamas. If one of his employees was experiencing a bad day, John would always encourage the person to focus on the positive things in life. One day someone asked him, "How do you maintain such a positive disposition all of the time, even when things are not going well?
John replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, 'John, you have a choice. Look for the good in every experience or person you come into contact with. If the person is in a rotten mood, dig for the good in him.' There is good in the worst of us. Look to increase your chances of having a good day. You can focus on negative things and guarantee yourself a bad day. The power is in your hands."
Excerpted from Fourteen Principles of Attitude That Affect Our Lives by Carl R. Johnson Copyright © 2012 by Carl R. Johnson. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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