You hear many self-made success stories, but have you ever heard a self-made failure story? Probably not. Failures with negative attitudes blame the whole world for their failures—their parents, teachers, spouse, bosses, the stars, fate, luck, the economy and the government. They will never accept responsibility.

You have to get away from the past. Dust yourself off and get back into the mainstream. Put your dreams together and move forward. Thinking of the positive things that are true, honest and good, will put you in a positive state of mind.

You have to get away from the past. Dust yourself off and get back into the mainstream. Put your dreams together and move forward. Thinking of the positive things that are true, honest and good, will put you in a positive state of mind.

If you want to build and maintain a positive attitude, you need to consciously practice the 8 following steps:

Step 1: Change Focus, Look for the Positive

You need to become a seeker of good. You need to focus on the positive in your life. Start looking for what is right in a person or situation instead of looking for what is wrong. Because of our conditioning, most of us are so attuned to finding fault and looking for what is wrong that we often forget to see what’s positive.

What is your focus? Search for the gold. If you are looking for what is wrong with people or with things, you will find many faults. What are we looking for? Gold or dirt? Even in paradise, fault finders will find faults. Most people find what they are looking for.

Step 2: Make a Habit of Doing It Now

The unfortunate part of life is as Oliver Wendall Holmes said, “Most people go to their graves, with music still in them.” We don’t achieve excellence because of our own lack of vision.

He slept beneath the moon

He basked beneath the sun

He lived a life of going to do

and died with nothing done.

– James Albery


We have all procrastinated at some time or another in our lives. I know I have, only to have regretted it later. Procrastination leads to a negative attitude. The reverse is just as true. They feed on each other. The habit of procrastination fatigues you more than the effort it takes to do the task.

A completed task is fulfilling and energising; an incomplete task drains energy.

If you want to build and maintain a positive attitude, get into the habit of living in the present and doing it now.

When I Become a Big Boy

This is like the little boy who says that when he becomes a big boy, he will do this and that and will be happy. And when he becomes a big boy he says that when he finishes college he will be happy. And when he finishes college he says that when he gets his first job he will be happy. And when he gets his first job he says that when he gets married, then he will be happy. And when he gets married he says when the kids get out of school he will be happy. And when the kids get out of school, he says that when he retires, he will be happy. And when he retires, what does he see? He sees, life has just gone by, in front of his eyes. It is too late.

Some people practice procrastination by hiding behind high-sounding words, saying “I’m analysing” a month later and six months later they are still analysing. What they don’t realise is that they are suffering from a disease called: Paralysis by Analysis and they will never succeed.

Then there is another breed of people who procrastinate by saying “I’m getting ready.” A month later they are still getting ready and six months later they are still getting ready. They’re getting ready to get ready, and they never get ready. They say “I’ll do it when I become an expert.” They don’t understand that unless you do it, you’ll never become an expert. They keep making excuses.

You cannot learn to swim by reading a it. You have to get into the water.

Step 3: Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

Gratitude reflects humility. It keeps a person grounded. It is a great philosophy to live by, ‘never forget what others have done for you and never remember what you have done for others’. Count your blessings, not your troubles. Take time to smell the roses. It is not uncommon to hear that someone, because of an accident, became blind or paralysed, but got a million dollars in a settlement from the insurance company. How many of us would like to trade places with that person? Not many. We are so focused on complaining about things we do not have that we lose sight of the things we have. There is a lot to be thankful for.

Related : How do You Recognize people with a Positive Attitude ?

When I say count your blessings, not your troubles, I don’t mean that a person should become complacent. If complacence was the message you got, then I would be guilty of miscommunication and you of selective listening.

Many of our blessings are hidden treasures—count your blessings and not your troubles.

Step 4: Get into a Continuous Education Program

Let’s get some myths out of the way. It is a general belief that we get educated in schools and colleges. During my seminars in many different countries there is a question I ask my audience all the time, “Do we really get educated in schools and colleges?” Generally, there is a consensus that some people do but most don’t. Don’t get me wrong. We get a lot of information in schools and colleges. We do need information to get educated, but everyone who has information may not necessarily be educated e.g a PhD may have a lot of information in his area, they may or may not be educated. We live in an information age. It is estimated that the amount of information is doubling every year. With information so readily available, it is easy to dispel ignorance. It is sad to see that we are taught everything but the most essential things. We are taught the three R’s (Reading, Riting, Rithmetic), but what good is intellectual education without understanding human dignity and values?

We need to know the true meaning of education:

Intellectual education influences the head and values-based education influences the heart. In fact, education that does not train the heart can be dangerous. If we want to build character in our offices, homes and society, we must achieve a minimum level of moral and ethical literacy. Education that builds fundamental traits of character—such as honesty, compassion, courage, persistence and responsibility—is absolutely essential.

We don’t need more academic education; we need more value-based education. A person who is morally educated will be a lot better equipped to move up in life or succeed than a morally bankrupt person, with excellent academic qualifications. I would prefer to go to the second most qualified surgeon in town who has character, than go the most qualified surgeon who lacks character. The same thing holds true in any profession.

Step 5: Build High Self-Esteem

What is Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem is the way we feel about ourselves. When we feel good, the world looks nice, productivity goes up and our relationships are a lot better. The reverse is just as true. What could be the reason? It is that there is a direct correlation between our feelings and behavior.

Related : 5 Ways To Boost Your Self Esteem In Right Ways

How Do You Build High Self-Esteem?

If you want to build high self-esteem quickly, one of the fastest ways is to do something for those who cannot repay you in cash or kind.

Whenever we do something positive in life, even if no one is watching, we rise a little bit in our own eyes. Whenever we do something negative like lying, cheating, stealing, even if no one is watching, we fall down a little bit in our own eyes—that’s the magic of self-esteem.

There are many individuals and organisations who do voluntary activities where there are no gains in cash or kind such as organising blood donation, eye donation camps. You ask them why they’re doing this and their answer is “I feel good.”

Many times you hear parents telling their kids, “Do what feels good” without understanding that Feeling good is a natural outcome of doing good; and doing good is a natural outcome of being good. How can a person feel good when they don’t do good?

This one phrase, “It is my life, I will do what I want,” has done more damage than good. People choose to ignore the spirit and derive the meaning that is convenient to them. Such people have tied this phrase to selfishness and this has had a negative effect on them and the world around them.

These people forget that we don’t live in isolation. What you do affects me and what I do affects you. We are connected. We have to realise that we are sharing this planet and we must learn to behave responsibly.

There are two kinds of people in this world—givers and takers. Takers eat well and givers sleep well. Givers have high self-esteem, a positive attitude and they serve society. By serving society, I do not mean a run-of-the-mill pseudo leader-turned-politician who serves himself by pretending to serve others. Nor do I refer to the drug dealers, who, after making ill-gotten wealth, setup a drug rehab centre in order to become legitimate.

We all have the need to take. But the sign of a healthy personality is one that also has a need to give.

Step 6: Stay Away from Negative Influences

What are negative influences?

Negative influences are negative people, drugs, alcohol, pornography, profanity etc. All negative influences pull people down. It depletes energy that could have been used constructively, to achieve new heights.

Impressionable minds get influenced by adult behavior and the media. Peer pressure affects not only children and teenagers, it is also prevalent in adults. It shows a lack of self-esteem when people do not have the courage to say “No, thank you,” and stay away from negative influences.

A person’s character is judged not only by the company they keep but also by the company they avoid.

If you associate with achievers, you will become one. If you associate with thinkers, you will become one. If you associate with givers, you will become one. If you associate with negative people, you will become one.

Whenever people succeed in life, petty people will take cracks at them and try to pull them down. When you refuse to fight petty people, you win. In martial arts, they teach that when someone takes a crack at you, instead of blocking you should step away. Why? Blocking requires energy. Why not use it more productively? Similarly, in order to fight petty people, you have to come down to their level. That is what they want, because then you become one of them.

Step 7: Learn to Like the Things That Need to be Done

Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible.

– St. Francis of Assisi


Does an athlete always like to go for practice? Probably not. But he does it anyway. Some things need to be done whether we like them or not; for example, mothers caring for their young. This may not always be fun and may even be painful, but if we learn to like the task, the impossible becomes possible.

Step 8: Start Your Day with Something Positive

Read or listen to something positive first thing in the morning. After a good night’s sleep we are relaxed and our subconscious is receptive. It sets the tone for the day and puts us in the right frame of mind to make the day a positive day. In order to bring about change, we need to make a conscious effort and be committed to make positive thoughts and behavior part of our lives. Practice having positive thoughts and behavior daily until they become a habit.

If you follow the eight steps above, you will be a winner.

William James of Harvard University said, “If you are going to change your life, you need to start immediately.”


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