October is Positive Attitude Month, and everyone is encouraged to maintain a positive attitude. Despite the negative headlines and surrounding conditions that too often lead to feelings of despair and hopelessness, it is possible to maintain an optimistic outlook on life. It may take considerable effort, but anyone can achieve and maintain a positive outlook. During these very trying times, it is especially important to be positive instead of negative.
Deveonne Cooke, local Counselor and Life Coach, points out the importance of having a positive attitude: “Attitude determines the outcomes we receive. You get the results of what you think.”
The kind of attitude one keeps can make all the difference. Chuck Swindoll comments on the importance of attitude as a critical factor of life:
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company…a church… a home. “
“The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our Attitudes.”
During the month of October and every month for that matter, everyone can become aware of factors that impact the attitudes that we are in charge of. Three factors that influence our attitudes are what we hear, what we see, and what we say. In order to maintain a positive attitude, we must monitor closely what enters our minds. In the words of John Bunyan, individuals must become guardians of “every gate that opens in our heart.” Howard Morgan speaks of “gates” in this way: “They are the places that we have to monitor diligently so that we allow only that which is positive and healthy into our lives.” Three such gates are the “ear gate,” “eye gate,” and “mouth gate.” The picture of the three wise monkeys comes to mind to remind us that we must consciously seek to “hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil.”
As guardians of the gates of our heart, we recognize these three factors that influence attitude and we must:
Watch what we hear: Hear No Evil
Whenever possible, individuals should consciously and consistently make every effort to listen to words and music that edify and encourage rather than words and music that tear down and destroy. Positive generates positive, while negative produces negative. We must learn to listen attentively that we might not only hear but also understand. We should consciously make a concerted effort to listen to hear words of life and hope, for as K. Eubanks noted, “It is faith that breathes life into hope. It is hope that fuels a positive life-giving attitude.”
Watch what you see: See No Evil
Without question the mind can be flooded with negative images of all sorts, but we can choose to focus our attention on the positive. We must determine to dwell upon positive mental images rather than negative ones. We can use visualization techniques to see ourselves successfully completing the tasks set before us. Paul J. Meyer maintains that “Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon, must inevitably come to pass.”
Watch what you speak: Speak No Evil
Since “life and death are in the power of the tongue,” we must carefully choose the words that we speak, as this poem states:
We know the tongue has power to generate life,
To produce seeds that will eventually take root
And will bring forth two very different kinds of fruit:
Love, joy and peace or envy, confusion and strife
Can build or destroy a brother, a friend, a wife.
We are encouraged to make positive confessions and to speak words of positive affirmation regarding ourselves and others. The Scriptures remind believers to let our words always be seasoned with salt, that they may minister grace to the hearers.
The essence of the importance of guarding these three gates is captured in a simple children’s song that expresses profound truths: “O Be Careful Little Eyes:
Accentuate the Positive:
Overall, a great way to maintain a positive attitude is to follow the admonition of the popular song: “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative and don’t mess with Mr. In-between.” Listen to this classic rendition of the popular song from Bette Midler and Bing Crosby accompanying this article.
During Positive Attitude Month we encourage readers to soar in life, as they follow the advice of Patricia Russell-McCloud: “Step forward with discipline, determination and knowledge that attitude determines your altitude, how high you will fly in this life.”