3 Ways to Have a Positive Attitude Amid Failure

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This article is an excerpt from Matt Mayberry’s new book WINNING PLAYS published by Center Street/Hachette.

Many, many people talk about attitude and especially the “attitude of gratitude.” It has become such a normal topic of discussion that few people probably really think about it. I’m not sure how many people actually work on their attitude daily. But trust me, it can make all the difference when it comes to reprogramming your life so you can reap the rewards and gifts of failure. It’s important to have an attitude of gratitude and be grateful for everything in your life. Even — perhaps, especially — the failures.

How can some people defeat the odds and achieve success? How can some turn major failures into incredible gifts that not only bless themselves but the entire world? Simple. It’s the attitude they choose.

Selecting the right attitude.

When our attitude is right, we can achieve maximum results. The right attitude can help us soar to greater heights than ever before and create extraordinary lives and businesses. Likewise, the right attitude can bring out the best in others. That’s why I mentioned that we need to interact with people who have positive attitudes because they will help us achieve our best.

You’re probably saying, “This sounds great and all, but how am I ever supposed to have such a positive attitude when everything seems to be going wrong in my life?” I get it. I really do. It’s still something I battle with in my own life. Here are three simple ways to help you keep a positive attitude regardless of negative situations or events that present themselves throughout your journey.

1. Make a conscious effort.

Make a deliberate effort to work on your attitude. I always heard about the importance of a great attitude and every football coach I ever had brought it up, but I never really saw the value of it until I hit rock bottom. I struggled so much to keep a positive and encouraging attitude amidst the failure and hard times, but that all changed when I finally made a conscious effort to improve my attitude despite what was going on in my life. Nothing will change if you don’t change. Don’t let circumstances or misfortunes dictate your attitude. Decide today to build up your attitude and attract the right kind of people into your life from here on out.

2. Create an affirmation card.

Writing an attitude affirmation card can be a total game changer for you when you’re rewiring and reprogramming your thinking. You can create an attitude shift for the better. I have always reaped tremendous benefits of “speaking things into existence” by repeating affirmations over and over, and the same goes for when I needed a change in my own attitude.

When I wanted a Division I college scholarship, I wrote and recited every day, “I will receive a Division I scholarship,” and I eventually started to believe it. Simply take out an index card and describe the exact type of attitude you want to possess. You can write something like, “I (your name) am an honest, loving, and hardworking individual. I have a positive attitude, and I build up others and let my words radiate encouragement and success. No matter what happens in life, my attitude will never be sour and negative.” This is just an example to help get you started, but you get the idea. We need to rewire and reprogram our thinking and declare the exact type of attitude we want. If we don’t, it will be extremely hard to change our attitude when we experience a failure or a setback.

3. See goodness.

Most poor attitudes stem from your perception of something, so start to look for the good in everyone and everything you come in contact with. If you look for the positive, your attitude will reflect that. An amazing transformation takes place when you see the good in everyone and everything, even failure.

Don’t let a poor attitude be the reason why you stay in a mediocre state forever and why you never fulfill your potential.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

What You Need to Do Next Time You Stumble

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As entrepreneurs, business owners, and leaders, we repeatedly find ourselves faced with failure and adversity; it comes with the territory. Unfortunately, too many of us fail to recognize its rewards. We go through it instead of grow through it.

In her bestselling book Mindset, psychologist Carol Dweck breaks down what separates the high achievers from everyone else. One of the main differentiators is in how they view failure. Successful types are able to look at stumbling blocks and learn from it. Others — or to use her language, those with a “fixed mindset” — fail to look for ways to grow and ultimately hate to be challenged.

As a leader, you’ve (quite admirably) increased your chances of failing miserably. Sometimes you’ll see it coming; sometimes you won’t. In the words of Mike Tyson, “Everyone has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouth.”

That’s why consistently training yourself to deal with failure is important. It’s called creating a growth plan and there is no right or wrong way to do it. My growth plan consists of looking at my goals each and every day to remind me of what I am working towards, reading uplifting books first thing in the morning, listening to audiobooks in the car or on flights and having a group of similarly ambitious people who share the same hunger to make a difference and achieve big goals.

Also remember to ask yourself this simple question: “How can I grow through this setback?” It’s not an easy thing to do, especially after having been knocked down, but it’s the first and most important step to carving a path to the future. Before letting your mind race and drawing conclusions about what’s going to happen next, take the time to ask it.

Your future self will thank you.

Originally Posted on Fortune.com

Will You Be Stubborn and Break, or Adaptable and Succeed?

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People often experience an inability to adapt, and instead will come to the conclusion that they will always fail and may as well stop trying altogether. They will settle for where they are and become stagnant in life — never moving forward, and may even move backwards.

Take Jack for example. He was a young man in Ohio who wanted to play music professionally. All through high school, he played the guitar and wrote songs. His teachers, friends and family loved his music and told him he was very talented. Finally, he entered a talent contest and came in third. It depressed him so much that he decided to quit music and go to college to obtain a business degree.

This was what his father wanted all along, and the young man just surrendered his dream. He gave up. He let this tiny failure derail him. Instead of recognizing that it was a major accomplishment to win third place, and that if he applied himself and continued to hone his craft he could actually win the contest the next year, he just gave up. That young man will more than likely go to his grave with many, many regrets.

Jack was not in a “variable” state. He was rigid and negative. It’s essential for the health of complex systems, and Jack, like you, are a complex physiological system. If you’re “variable,” then you’re going to see your failure as an opportunity — as a gift to unwrap and use for success.

I remember once talking to a taxi driver in Los Angeles. He explained that when the city experienced earthquakes, the super highways would actually bend and curve with the wind and rolling grounds. I thought this was strange and tried to imagine how solid objects could be fluid.

But when you think about it, everything is made up of atoms and atoms are movable. After some research, I discovered that when architects design bridges, buildings and highways in California and other parts of the world, they create designs with the right amount of variability so the buildings and roads will bend with the earthquakes or with high winds.

Too much variability or flexibility and the roads and buildings will be unstable and crumble. Too little variability and the buildings and roads will be too rigid and brittle and the first serious earthquake will destroy it.

The same is true in sports or business, and really in all of life. If a business leader, teacher or coach is stubborn and refuses to make changes despite evidence that what they’re doing is not successful, then their efforts will eventually end in failure. If an athletic coach never changes the way he designs plays, then the opponents will quickly learn the team’s game and conquer them.

The coach, the leader and you must know how to attain a state of variability. If Jack had been able to attain this variability, he would have more than likely gone on to win music contests and eventually obtain a recording contract. We’ll never know.

Keep this in mind: Variability is not only important in sports and business, but in all areas of life. When you fail in life at whatever it is you’re trying to do, you have to demonstrate flexibility and stick to it to help you achieve the success you desire.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

When Faced With Adversity, Focus on Solutions, Not More Problems

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All too often, the first thing we do when adversity appears is focus on the negatives and all of the problems in our lives. Failure and adversity are only present in our lives to help us, not hurt us. It’s extremely important to never lose sight of this truth.

To turn failure into a gift and grow through the tough times instead of just casually going through them, you must begin to start focusing on ways to actually resolve the situation. Many people let their minds wander toward the negative, which then prompts them to focus on more problems instead of searching for ways to resolve the situation and grow from it.

The individuals and companies that are able to get through tremendous setbacks and actually grow because of them are the ones who focus on solutions, not more problems. Look at Thomas Edison for a quick example. His persistence in continually searching for solutions after facing one failure after another is a prime example of the utter importance of focusing on ways to advance.

Failure is never a final end result unless you make it so. Edison used every experience to get one step closer to where he was trying to go all along. This is the same type of mindset that we need to apply to our own lives and businesses when failure and adversity strikes.

Taking the time to fully analyze your situation in solitude, while focusing on solutions instead of problems, can revitalize your mind and help you focus on where you are headed, how you feel, and more important, how you view failure from that moment on.

If you do what’s easy, your life will be hard. If you do what’s hard, your life will be easy.

This applies to basically everything that we do. What’s easy is to focus on the negative when tough times occur. What’s easy is to focus on the problems in our lives instead of directing every bit of our energy towards the solutions.

We have to remember that what we focus on expands. If we focus on problems, we will get more problems. If we focus on solutions, we will get more solutions.

The next time failure, adversity or a setback knocks you down, make a list of possible solutions for the problem at hand. You don’t have to know the ins and outs of every single thing, but right when a solution of some sort comes to mind, immediately write it down.

The essence of capturing solutions and then putting them to paper activates our brains. We start to think of more ways to overcome our current hardships and how we can grow from the situation at hand. Once we have a list of 20 to 30 solutions, the next objective is to decide which solution is best and getting to work on putting that solution into play.

If you think long and hard enough, regardless of how bad your situation may be, the solutions are there. This type of thinking can be a total game changer for you and your business.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com