By Liggy Webb, Founding Director, The Learning Architect
I am delighted that I will be doing a monthly online column for www.trainingmag.com, and I am looking forward each month to sharing with you positive and insightful information. My work as a presenter and writer takes me all over the place, and as an international consultant with the United Nations I go to some fascinating places.
My new book, “How to Be Happy,” came out this month. The first chapter is entitled, “Life Is What YOU Make It!” Those words have been a personal mantra for me even through some of the most difficult and painful times.
Understanding and knowing that we are so much more in control of our lives than we sometimes believe is not only reassuring, it is empowering. The way we think determines the way we feel and is the control pad for the volume of happiness we choose to experience in our lives. The quality of your thinking essentially determines the quality of your life.
Your perspective is your reality, and your reality is your perspective. We can make a conscious choice about how we want to interpret every situation. It’s the glass half-empty or half-full approach.
I know from firsthand experience that a firm belief in the power of positive thinking has bailed me out of many potentially derailing situations. Thinking positively is not about putting your head in the sand, nor is it about being unrealistic. By developing a positive attitude, you still recognize the negative aspects of a situation; however, you choose to focus on the hope and opportunity that are available. This approach helps you to avoid getting locked into a paralyzing loop of bad feeling and allows you to move on quickly and act to solve problems and embrace life’s inevitable challenges.
Pressure- and stress-related illness is an increasing feature of everyday life. We are all human, and we are designed to experience the whole palette of emotions. Fear and anxiety can grip us all. It is how we manage some of those challenging situations that is a prerequisite for our overall well-being in the long term.
The term “PMA” (positive mental attitude) has almost become a bit of a cliché. So many books on success or self- improvement start with a sharp focus on cultivating energy, enthusiasm, and optimism in all areas of your life, and, in my view, rightly so. Developing a positive attitude is the key to health and happiness.
The theory is that you will live longer and be healthier and happier by cultivating a positive attitude toward life and being an optimist. I love this quote:
“Whether you are an optimist or a pessimist might not affect the outcome, it’s just that the optimist has a better time in life!”—James Borg, Mindpower
Creating and maintaining a positive attitude is the most efficient and low-cost investment you can make to improve your life. A positive way of thinking is a habit that must be learned through repetition and conscious effort on your part.
Take Personal Responsibility
The antidote for negativity is that you accept complete responsibility for your situation. The act of taking responsibility short-circuits and cancels out any negative emotion you may trigger. By embracing responsibility, you will reap many rewards. The successes brought by this attitude act as a foundation for self-respect, pride, and confidence. Responsibility breeds competence and power. By living up to our promises and obligations, we win the trust of others. Once we are seen as trustworthy, people will willingly work with us for our mutual gain. Making excuses can put the brakes on our progress, while accepting responsibility can lead us to succeed.
Life is a journey and, granted, you may well get a little travel sick along the way, and you may hit a few potholes. However, by developing a positive attitude, you will be much better equipped to be able to deal with everything. It takes practice, and there certainly will be days when you struggle to see the sun for the clouds. You may well decide you want to wallow a little, and that is OK. The question, though, is for how long?
Life is what you make it, and what makes your life worth living is your own personal quest and adventure. How exciting and wonderful is that?
Life Is What You Make It: Top Tips
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”—John Lennon
Liggy Webb is an expert in the field of modern life skills. Having worked in the learning and development arena for more than 20 years, she is the founding director of The Learning Architect, a consortium of behavioral skills specialists. For more information, visit www.thelearningarchitect.com. Webb’s new book, “How to Be Happy,” published this month. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a first-edition signed copy and to receive complimentary well-being toolkits. For more information, email@example.com. As an international consultant for The United Nations, Webb travels to various duty stations and peace missions around the world. In her spare time, Webb is a fiction writer and set up the Montpellier Writers Group in her home town of Cheltenham to encourage others to discover their potential through creative writing: http://www.montpellierwriters.co.nr.