“The economy sucks.”
“I’m going to lose my job any day now; I can tell.”
“It’s all the government’s fault.”
“I heard there’s going to be another drop in the market.”
“This could be the next Great Depression.”
“We haven’t had a sale in weeks.”
“Did you hear that GM declared bankruptcy?”
“I’m broke because of this damned economy.”
“I may not be able to retire.”
“This is the end of human creativity.”

Jon's a bit...stressed...about all the bad news recently.

Have you heard any of these recently? I bet you have. We all have. They’re real downers, huh? Did it sort of put a damper on your day? Yeah. Mine, too. Keep reading, though; hope is ahead.

Human communication is a funny thing. It works almost like a virus. When you hear that the market is doing poorly, you tell someone else, who tells someone else, who tells someone else…it creates a spiral of negativity, a self-fulfilling negative destiny. Awesome, eh?

Negativity is an ugly, evil thing. It ruins days, wrecks lives, and brings nations to their knees. When it’s communicated verbally or visually between people, it breeds. When it breeds, it grows stronger. To quote Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, “It’s a vicious cycle.” The good news? The cycle can be beaten and broken.

Here’s how:

Be positive and make some NOISE
A few months ago, when asked how life was going, I would reply, “I’m pretty tired, I’ve been working really hard,” etc. etc. After a couple of weeks of being a Negative Nancy, I noticed people’s eyes would glaze over when I said that crap, and they’d move on to someone else. Why?

Because no one wants to be around a Negative Nancy. After I had this revelation, I started to take a serious look at how negativity affects not only my personal life, but also my success in business and relationships. I discovered some pretty profound stuff. For example:

“That person is so lucky. No wonder they’re happy.”
I think we’ve all said the above or thought it at some point. If you haven’t, you’re a better person than I am and you can stop reading this article now.

The truth of that phrase is that it’s backwards. Happiness draws happiness to itself, creating luck. It should read: “That person is so happy. No wonder they’re lucky.”

Make your own news
I’m addressing business owners and executives now: We are the rock stars of our era. We’re the leaders of our communities, and, like it or not, role models to everyone who looks up to us. If you say you’re having a great day, your company is rocking out and life is beautiful, it improves the day of everyone you tell and everyone who reads it. That, in turn, improves market mood, which increases consumer spending, which increases sales. It’s a win-win, baby.

There’s a saying given that summarizes the phenomenon of negative occurrences in the past two years: “One hell calls another.” That certainly feels true, doesn’t it?

But the inverse is also true.

If one hell calls to another, so does one heaven
Thinking positiveSales genius Jeffrey Gitomer says this in his Little Red Book of Sales: “Every day is a good day. If your day is bad, it’s because you made it bad.”

He is absolutely correct there. When you wake up in the morning, resolve to take advantage of every possible opportunity. You can make it a good day by force of will, regardless of how you personally feel at the time. (Trust me. I’ve put this principle to test during flu season.)

An honest assessment of your life
The first step in attaining personal happiness is to know the answers to a few simple questions. They are as follows:

  • Why are you alive?
  • What do you want to accomplish? Why?
  • What do you want to leave behind?

Why do you exist?
Don’t worry, we’re not going to break out the peyote and spirit drums. I’m not trying to get existential on you. I’m asking you, logically, what purpose do you want your life to have? If you don’t know the answer, you’re not alone. Here’s a tip:

Find the thing you’re best at that has the highest value to the community you want to live in, and commit every fiber in your being to being as incredible at that talent as you can be. If you do that, not only will you love your work, you’ll also improve quality of life where you live for everyone else.

What do you want to accomplish? Why?
Make a short list of the five biggest things you’d like to accomplish in your life, then ask yourself why you want them and write that down, too. Trust me, seeing those things on paper is profound.

Once you’ve got them down on paper, give them a good, hard look. First of all, analyze your motives. Do they contribute to your overall purpose in life? Yes? Awesome. No? Scratch ’em off.

Next, sort the remaining items by level of desire from highest to lowest. Scratch off all but the top item.

You should have one item left on your list. Now, start working on that item. Paste it up everywhere you can see it: the bathroom mirror, on your kitchen cupboard, over your TV…heck, tape it to the ceiling above your bed. Humans are creatures of procrastination. The object is to constantly confront yourself with your goal so it remains at the forefront of your attention. Sorry gang, no more excuses. Get out there and bust those buns until you’ve conquered your goal!

What do you want to leave behind?
Ooooh, this is a tough one. The simplest answer to this for me was the answer to the questions: “What do I love most about the world, and how can I preserve it and pass it on for the next generation to enjoy?”

I’ve got lots more to talk about, but we’ll leave off there for now. Thanks for stopping by, Constant Reader, and see you soon.

So what do you think?

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Click here to read Part 2!