A Positive Thinking Attitude can be cultivated. You can learn how to change your thinking, in order to shift how you feel, in order to obtain positive outcomes!
"The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes." -Charles Swindoll
One way to work on the Development of Personal Values is to work on our attitude, and make it a Positive Thinking Attitude. Our attitude is the composite of our thoughts, feelings and actions. If we change our thoughts about a certain situation or person, our feelings will eventually shift, and the actions resulting from how we feel will differ as a result.
Perception is one of our six mental faculties. It gives us our point of view, and show us how we think. It's been said that as we change how we look at things, the things we look at change.
A simple example of perception shift is when someone cuts us off in traffic. We can get frustrated and downright offended if we let ourselves. Or, we can instead try to think from the other person's point of view, that is, change our perception of the event. We can say to ourselves, "perhaps the person is in a rush to visit someone dying in the hospital". All of a sudden, it doesn't really matter anymore that they cut us off, does it? If anything, we may wish them well and godspeed as they continue on their day.
A quick change in perception, and we can continue our car ride, not frustrated or angry. This ability to change our perception is key in the development of personal values, and will give us a conscious tool to use in building a positive thinking attitude.
Most of us have at least one person in our lives that really pushes our buttons, or “gets our goat”. If we aren’t thinking, we automatically will react to what the person says or does, like we usually do. It’s a predictable outcome. It's also a challenge to retain a Positive Thinking Attitude when dealing with these types of people. However, if we consciously make a decision to change our thoughts about this person, we can obtain the most amazing results! We can choose to respond to the person, rather than react.
I’ve done this recently, and it works! I decided one day, just for funsies, (I like to challenge myself constantly to grow, it keeps things interesting and keeps my ego guessing!) that I would make an absolute effort to compliment this person, and NOT react to what they usually said/did to get me going. It didn’t matter what was said, I didn’t argue, or try to change his mind. The outcome was a 360 degree change. Now the comments that used to drive me crazy just fly in one ear and out the other. Astounding.
Once we started talking authentically, without my preconceived mental barrier of how our conversations “always end up”, we found some common ground, and shared interests. I stopped judging what was said and really actively listened.
This was accomplished by changing my own attitude, or the belief you could say I held, about how my relations normally went when in the person's presence. It set up different feelings in me, which resulted in different actions on both our parts. Keep in mind, I didn't try to change HIM. I changed myself and my own attitude.
It's a ongoing challenge to manage relationships, especially the ones in our lives that are less than ideal. Empowerment is knowing that with a slight attitude change, we can consciously change our thinking and ultimately, our results.
Some great recommendations for books for the Development of Personal Values, changing our behaviours by changing our thoughts, and more specifically, fostering a positive attitude, are:
How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
The Power of Positive Thinking – Norman Vincent Peale
Pulling Your Own Strings – Wayne Dyer
Alternative actions to take, other than reading, in order to foster a Positive Thinking Attitude include reading positive affirmations, quotes that inspire you, and keeping a daily gratitude journal. Gratitude keeps us connected to our Source (or whatever you call That Which Is). I've found it hard to keep a grumpy attitude once I make a list in my head of 10 wonderful things to be thankful for.