In case you haven't noticed, both the mainstream media and social network sites have been on a negativity tear recently. By regularly listening to the news or jumping on Twitter/Facebook, you may start to question whether it's safe to go out of your house, that the country is going to hell in a bucket, that even the sky is falling. (Don't worry -- it isn't.)
High achievers know it's critical to maintain a positive mental outlook, no matter what's going on around them. So how do you develop and maintain this attitude? Here are some ideas I use personally to stay positive in a negative world, which I also share with my clients:
1. Mission Statement The starting point of all high achievement is a clear sense of purpose. So your Mission Statement is like "your personal pledge of allegiance" -- it describes who you are and what you are all about. The first thing I do with all of my clients is to have them develop a Mission Statement, then have them commit it to memory and recite it every morning. Why? Napoleon Hill, in his classic book Think and Grow Rich, stated, "Any idea, plan or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought."
2. Affirmations To become a "legend in your own time," you must first be a legend in your own mind. One way to do this is to use Affirmations: repetition of positive statements in the present tense as if they are already a fact. A simple example is to affirm, "I am a top achiever!" Many people are reluctant to engage in using affirmations, perhaps in part because they have seen Stuart Smalley doing "Daily Affirmations" on the TV show Saturday Night Live -- a hilarious parody done by comedian Al Franken which made using affirmations appear moronic. Yet Brian Tracy, a world leader in personal development training, says that he personally uses affirmations on a daily basis. So who are you gonna believe on this matter -- Franken (no longer on the air) or Tracy?
3. Goals If you don't know where you're going, how do you expect to get there? Having clear goals is the first step to knowing where you want to arrive, by what deadline.
4. Visualization One of the important skills taught to professional athletes is mentally picturing specific successful outcomes (i.e. the perfect golf swing) in a meditative state. So if this skill is being taught to millionaire athletes, why would it be any different for you? Visualize closing a big deal, seeing your name at the top of the production chart, being congratulated by the boss, etc.
5. Positive mental input Take on the challenge of a "media fast" for a week -- shut off the TV, ignore the newspaper, avoid commercial radio, etc. Most media in designed to "addict" you to their programming without benefit to you. As an example, suppose you listened to talk radio -- anybody from Rush Limbaugh to Howard Stern. Question: How much money has listening to them put in YOUR pocket? (Answer: NONE!) So I suggest you replace this negative input with reading success books, listening to motivational audio programs from Nightingale-Conant Corporation and attending skill-building seminars. This will have a positive effect on your attitude AND your bottom line.
6. Physical exercise High achievers understand the importance of staying in shape. Just like professional athletes, the ones who make it to the top know they must keep themselves fit. And a regular workout regimen has a multitude of benefits -- it reduces stress, clears the mind, builds endurance and provides that "look of a winner" for attracting and keeping business. It makes no difference what form of exercise you choose, just as long as you enjoy it enough to do it 4 - 5 times a week.
7. Positive support group Unlike magnets, likes attract. So if you want to be a high achiever, start hanging out with them, not with the also-ran characters that hang around the water cooler -- you'll be guilty by association. One assignment I give my clients is to identify successful people in their network of contacts and invite them to lunch to find out what they're doing. Most high achievers are flattered by invitations to share their success stories.
One final word: If becoming a high achiever was EASY, everyone would do it -- and then it would be worth the equivalent of flippin' burgers at your local fast food joint. The people who use the ideas I've described here KNOW how to stay positive in a negative world ... and they're the ones you'll see at the top.