Every story that captures our imagination, every statistic that illuminates an idea, every viewpoint that enlightens the debate forces us to question our understanding of the world. Whether it ultimately changes our thinking or not is immaterial…the real value of knowledge lies in its ability to make us more complete.
I recently read a statistic that said for every happy, positive friend you have, your chances at happiness are 9% greater. Interesting thought.
Naturally, I began to run through my list of friends. We tend to attract people like ourselves into our circles, and even though I knew I came from heavily negative-thinking stock, I was sure I had changed enough to attract at least 50% of positive friends. No so. Just getting to 27% was harder than I thought – three people!
What did these people have in common? It wasn’t their physical stature. They were all shapes and sizes. It wasn’t their income. All incomes were modest at best. Was it their jobs? Each one of them enjoyed their job, so that might have something to do with it. However, they all had a positive view of the world in common. As I’ve noticed so many times before, it came down to attitude.
But how do you change your attitude? First, you might want to find one of your positive friends (if you don’t have any, making one would be your first step) and get together with them to specifically talk about their viewpoint, their core values, their dreams and their goals. Really listen to what they have to say without judgement (your negative self is very quick to make judgements). Think about what they’ve said and whether or not you can apply any of it to your life.
Then spend a day trying to be aware of negative thoughts. Each time one pops into your head, counteract it with a positive thought. For example: “It’s raining – now I can’t work in the yard today!” can be changed to “It’s raining – since I can’t work in the yard, I can start that book I’ve been wanting to read.” This is a small change, but once you start reinforcing the positive thought, you will naturally begin to change your attitude.
Try doing something nice for someone else – no strings attached. You can make this into a little game. Practice bestowing at least one kindness per day to a family member, coworker, neighbor, stranger – anyone! When you get better at this, try two per day and so on. When this becomes second nature, try being nice to a person who is NOT nice to you. You’ll be surprised how disarming and helpful this can be to both of you.
Practice might not make perfect in this case, but it will help you on the road to becoming a happier person. Then friends might be seeking you out to up their 9% happiness quotient.
We carry some wonderful gift books that speak to positive thinking:
We also have an entire Attitude-themed section of motivational products.