There is a reason that this lesson is number one. It was the first lesson in my sales training manual, and it is the lesson I am most reminded of in my day-to-day life. In fact, a lot of the lessons from the bookfield* are simply reiterations of this fact: that your attitude will determine the outcome of your daily life.
It is scientifically proven that individuals with a positive attitude (or outlook on life) are happier and healthier people. The Mayo Clinic claims that positive thinking and self-talk can help reduce stress (more on this in future posts). Your attitude affects your thoughts, which affects your decisions, which affects your surroundings and the people you interact with. My wife used to teach in special education, and she had a student that would come in every day and say, “I’m going to have a bad day today.” Laura (my wife) would respond, “well, with an attitude like that, yes. You will have a bad day.” But it is never too late to turn a day around. Laura would work tirelessly with this student to turn bad days into good simply by helping her change her perspective.
Ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy? There is both a natural and supernatural aspect to this concept. The things that you think and say will set into motion a natural chain of events that will result in what you might call a “good” or a “bad” day. Spiritually, we know that life and death is in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). Thus, the things you think and say also have a supernatural effect on your circumstances, because the natural and spiritual realm are inexplicably intertwined.
So how can you ensure that you never have a “bad” day? (Please note that I am not discrediting the necessity of negative emotions – it is important that we feel things like grief, anger, doubt, and sadness. See the movie Inside Out for details.) Realign your perspective. Ask God what his thoughts are on a situation. Remember that your are too blessed to be stressed. Tell yourself that you are good at what you are doing. Ultimately, give yourself the power to positively affect your day through the things you think and speak. And when uncontrollable events come your way, take it in stride and surrender it to the Lord. I like how Graham Cooke puts it.
“From this day on, for you there is no such thing as a good day or a bad day. There is only a day of grace. And some days the grace of God allows you to enjoy what is happening. And some days the grace of God allows you to endure what is happening. But don’t think about good and bad anymore – just enjoy the grace that is present. And out of that grace will come an expectancy.” – Graham Cooke
*Bookfield (n.) – Since the main product of the Southwestern Company was educational books (study guides, word books, test prep guides, etc) and software, this became the endearing yet terrifying term used to describe the Southwestern Advantage internship experience.