Is it possible to adopt a positive attitude in the workplace if you’re doing boring work in a dead end job, have a boss whose only concern is whether you are making her or him look good, and don’t really have the option of quitting, at least for now?
Is whistling while you work, singing in the rain, or putting a smile on your face really going to make a difference when you know deep down your job sucks?
What you need is something else. Something besides just sucking it up or pretending you don’t see what is going on all around you. What you need is a new understanding what it means to have a positive attitude.
A positive attitude requires a lot more than not focusing on the negative. It requires what Carol Dweck calls a “growth mindset.”
A growth mindset looks at events and asks: What can I learn from this?
Its first reaction isn’t to decide if it is good or bad, right or wrong.
The assumption behind this outlook is “I can always learn and get better at what I do from what goes poorly as well as from what goes well.”
A positive attitude in the workplace sees more
A positive attitude in the workplace means you see it for what it is and also for what it can be: the ideal place for you to learn what you need to learn to develop your potential.
Sounds too simple?
Think about it.
You spend more of your time each day in the workplace than you do anywhere else. During that time, you have thousands of opportunities to develop personally and professionally.
The test for you each day is: Will you take advantage of those opportunities?
Will you let them slip by, unexamined, and either wait for people around you to change, or hope that the universe will somehow change your situation for you?
Will you play helpless, or continue to wallow in your sad story about how you are the victim of a boss or of coworkers who don’t appreciate you?
Or, will you grab those opportunities and see what you can learn from them?
Will you use them to learn new skills, to learn more about your work responsibilities, to better manage your emotions and moods, to take initiative, and to improve your connections and interactions with your co-workers?
A positive attitude in the workplace values interaction with co-workers
The people with whom you work are especially important for helping you discover what you need to learn to improve the way you communicate and interact with others.
Every day, you can learn something from each interaction if you are willing to take the time to identify which ones went well, which ones went poorly, and what you did or didn’t do in each one that contributed to its outcome.
From such self discovery, you can learn new strategies and new communication skills that will enable you to dramatically improve the way you interact with co-workers.
All of this is hard interior work. A positive attitude in the workplace not only takes on such work but relishes the challenge of self discovery. They are acts of courage required of everyone who hopes to become who they are meant to be.
Finally, you can use what you have leaned about yourself and about your workplace interactions to improve your relationships with family members and friends.
A positive attitude in the workplace can transform your whole life. Learn how to use the power of language to get started.