Seldom, if ever, will a thing be done by someone who thinks it cannot be. Building your business requires the work of people who believe that a thing can be done.
The evening of October 21, 1931 lights all over the United States were dimmed to honor the passing of Thomas Alva Edison at the request of President Herbert Hoover. Years earlier one of Edison’s lab assistants said they had failed to make a working electric light despite 10,000 tries. Edison replied that they had not failed once, but that by having tried 10,000 times they were just that much closer to having found the answer.
Imagine where we would be today if Edison had replied, “You’re right, let’s quit trying.” Edison believed they could make an electric light work, and he passed that positive attitude on to his young employee.
Here are ten Biblical principles to help you develop and maintain positive attitudes in the workplace:
1. Set positive goals
Everyone knows high achieves regularly set goals for themselves. As you consider goals that are important to you make sure that they are positive goals; goals that will focus on, and achieve that which is important to you.
Paul writes, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13b-14). Paul clearly had a goal in mind, and he wasn’t going to let past difficulties keep him from reaching towards achieving future goals.
2. Develop specific action steps to achieve goals
Goals in and of themselves do not help us very much unless we also develop specific action plans that will help us achieve our goals.
Moses did precisely this as he instructed the spies going into the Promised Land to determine the strength of their armies. Nehemiah also developed very specific action steps when he went to rebuild Jerusalem. Luke wrote, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28).
3. Review progress toward goals frequently
You can review your progress yourself, but a wise leader will also get feedback from superiors, peers, mentors, and those whose opinions he trusts. Solomon wrote, “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7).
Check progress toward goals and ask for feedback regularly. The longer you wait to assess progress the more likely you will find yourself off-course.
4. Underscore the positive
Develop a habit of reviewing your work to see the positive in what you have done. Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8 NAS). Paul’s admonition is clear; find the positive and dwell on it rather than the negative.
It is important for you as the leader to convey a positive attitude at all times, and to be able to reinforce the positive attitude in others. This is impossible to do if you focus on everything that is wrong, but is easy if you focus on the positive.
5. Associate with positive people
Attitudes are contagious so surround yourself with people who have a positive outlook. Moses understood how contagious negative attitudes are when he said, “And now, is anyone afraid? If you are, go home before you frighten the rest of us!” (Deuteronomy 20:8 LB). Moses was giving instructions to the military commanders about who should be allowed into the army. He didn’t want anyone who wasn’t fully committed that might have a negative attitude because he knew that their attitude would affect others.
Gideon provides another example as God reduces the size of his army from 32,000 to the 300 bravest men and Gideon then defeats the Midianite army that “could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore” (Judges 7:12).
6. Turn negatives into opportunities
View negative situations as opportunities. No work environment is perfect so there will be times when things go wrong. If you approach these difficult times as opportunities for growth you will maintain and spread a positive attitude in your organization. James writes, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever your face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:23). Every difficult or negative situation is an opportunity for you to stand apart from the crowd by being positive. Endeavor always to turn negatives into opportunities!
7. Maintain good physical, emotional, and spiritual health
Your good mental and physical health shapes your attitudes. Maintaining your health is an important part maintaining a positive attitude. “Being cheerful keeps you healthy. It is like slow death to be gloomy all the time” (Proverbs 17:22 GN). Making time for exercise, rest, you family, and God will go a long way toward keeping a positive attitude.
8. Believe in yourself
You have overcome difficult situations before, and the difficulty you face today is probably no worse than other situations you’ve faced. Believe that you have the skills to overcome a negative situation by maintaining a positive outlook. “If the axe is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success” (Ecclesiastes 10:10). Know that God will give you the strength and skill to face every challenge if you look to Him.
9. Serve others
Consider donating time to the service of others. The opportunities for service are endless; churches and para-church organizations always need volunteers, so do hospitals, schools, etc. Find a worthy organization and give them a few hours a month. You’ll be amazed at how this simple act of service will change the perspective you have on the rest of your life.
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul exhorts them to “Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ. So, then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Gal 6:2,10 NAS).
10. Focus on God
It is difficult to maintain a positive attitude when things are going well most of the time, and near impossible to do when chaos erupts all around us.
The key to keeping your head when all around you are losing theirs is to keep your focus on God. As Luke points out, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to one, and despite the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16:13 NAS). To keep your focus on God join a church, consider a good bible study, read your bible every day, and spend time in prayer.
One Final Thought
There are a number of people who expound the “power of positive thinking”. They say that your power to think positively leads you to positive results.
This is where the Christian leader must separate themselves; the ability to maintain a positive focus is driven by our faith in God. Consider the prophet Jeremiah’s warning to Judah, “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when the heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8).
Keep your focus on God and you will not only have a more positive attitude yourself, but you will help those who work with you to keep a positive attitude as well.
If you would like a broader discussion on this topic, download the free 6-page whitepaper, “Building Positive Attitudes Builds Results” It includes:
- the 4 origins of attitudes
- the affect of attitude on self-image
- 6 ways an employee’s perceptions inform their attitudes at work
Join the Conversation
As always questions and comments are welcome. How does your attitude effect your work? How does it impact how you feel throughout the day?
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Category: Personal Development | Character