THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index

12 ways to be more positive
Barbara A Lewis

Extracted from: What Do You Stand For? - A Kids' Guide To Building Character

Find out more or buy the book here

1. You can choose to be optimistic. You've probably heard a pessimist described as someone who sees a glass of water half empty, while an optimist sees it as half full. The pessimist focuses on the negative (the missing water), while the optimist sees the positive (the water that's there). Who has a better outlook? Who's likely to be happier, more confident and sure?

2. You can choose to accept things as they are. This doesn't mean you wilt and give up. It means that you don't struggle, whine, and bang your head against a brick wall when things don't go right—behaviors that make you a helpless victim. (It's what eats you that puts the pounds of weight on your spirit.) Instead, you get on with your life. You move forward.

3. You can choose to be resilient. Have you ever watched a tree swaying in a storm? A tree that stands rigidly will never win a battle against the wind. Trees that bend with the wind are those that survive. Like a tree, you can bend and sway as life batters and blasts you - then bounce back again, supported by your strong, deep roots. When you're resilient, you can survive almost anything - being hurt, frustrated, or let down, losing friends, making mistakes, and much more. Remember the image of a tree in the storm. You can learn a lot from nature.

Developing positive attitudes doesn't mean that you'll never experience pain, suffering, or disappointment. You will. But having good attitudes will help you turn your problems into teachers so you can learn from them and grow.

Developing positive attitudes doesn't mean you should ignore problems. If someone steals your bike, you won't say "So what?" Instead, you will contact the police and report your stolen bike. You'll do everything you can to get it back. But if you can't get it back, you'll accept the fact that it's gone. And you won't let that drag you down.

Flip a coin in the air. What do you get? Either heads or tails. Problems always have a flip side, too. If you fail a test, you can flip the coin and learn to study harder or find a tutor. If you lose a friend, you can flip the coin, repair the friendship, and find a new friend. If you don't like your looks, you can flip coin and develop a fantastic personality.

4. You can choose to be cheerful. Have you spent time around cheerful people? If you have, then you know that they energize you. They are like human battery chargers. You can be one, too. Start by refusing to say gloomy things. Bite your tongue. Count to 10. Pull up the corners of your mouth. When you send out positive words, thoughts, and feelings, positive people (and things) are attracted to you.

5. You can choose to be enthusiastic. Greet each new day with excitement. Approach tasks and chores with zest. Enthusiasm is catching! The more up beat you are, the more people around you will feel and act the same.

6. You can choose to be more alert. If you are more alert to potential problems, you can be better prepared for them and even dodge some. Of course, you can also be alert to positive experiences. You hear an announcement about a team tryout or new club. You write down the time and place and plan to go.

7. You can choose to have a sense of humor. When you do something silly (everyone does), don't miss the opportunity to laugh at yourself. It's one of life's great joys. I've done lots of loony things, and I've provided my self (and others) with many happy hours of entertainment. Once I was invited to give a talk to some senior citizens at a rest home. Without checking the address carefully, I mistakenly charged into the Board of Realtors and announced to their startled faces that I was there to teach them a lesson on honesty!

If you laugh a lot, you will be healthier. Laughter releases good chemicals in your body that stimulate you and can help you to grow.

8. You can choose to be a good sport. This attitude can win you friends even if you don't win the game or competition. Being a good sport means losing gracefully—smiling, shaking hands with the winner, not blaming other people or circumstances for your loss.

9. You can choose to be humble. People who toot their own horns seldom attract an audience. If you are genuinely interested in others, they will see your good qualities even if you don't advertise them. They don't feel that you're trying to one-up them. They can relax around you and be themselves.

10. You can choose to be grateful. Think about it: You probably have a lot to be grateful for. Gratitude puts a smile on your face. It makes you feel good about your life. And other people feel good about being around you.

11. You can choose to have faith. For some people, this means believing in God or another Higher Being/Higher Power. Others put their faith in their country, in other people, in things, or in themselves. Having faith means believing that things will work out for you—and you can work things out for yourself. If you expect to fail, you probably will. If you expect to achieve, you're much more likely to reach your goal.

12. You can choose to have hope. Without hope, life has no meaning or point. We expect nothing, plan nothing, and don't set goals for ourselves (why bother?). Hope may be your most important positive attitude—the basis for All the others. What do you hope for? What are your dreams? What are your ambitions? Your purpose in life? If you are willing to consider the questions, you're already a hopeful person.

Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.