Keeping Your Attitude Up When Circumstances Are Down

“Instead of spending your time thinking about how bad things
are, think about how good they will be!”

Everyone knows that a positive attitude is key to the
successful life. But what happens when things go wrong? What
happens when circumstances deal us a blow? We have a
tendency to let our attitudes take the dive along with our
state of affairs.

Life deals us setbacks, both minor and major, on a regular
basis, but if we are going to be successful, we need to know
how to deal with them and keep our attitudes intact!

We need practical tools to help us understand how we can go
about keeping our attitude up, when the circumstances are
down. Here are some thoughts to help us do so:

Take some time-out. I’m sure you are aware of what happens.
You are going about your day and everything seems to be
going well, when out of nowhere disaster strikes. All of
your best-laid plans begin to tumble. Sometimes
circumstances surprise us and we react.

Unfortunately, this often compounds the problem because by
reacting we tend to operate out of our weaknesses instead of
our strengths. We make decisions that are not well thought
out. We function with a bad attitude that says, “I can’t
believe this is happening!”

The next time circumstances turn against you, take some time
to just step back from the problem and think. This will
enable you to deal with the issue at hand rationally,
instead of emotionally. It will allow you to put your state
of mind back into its proper place. It gives you the
opportunity to choose your attitude as you face the
circumstances at hand.

Remember that we don’t have to do something right now. Go
grab a cup of coffee and relax a little bit. By doing this
you function with you being in control and not the

Keep your eye on the goal. A second step in keeping our
attitude in the proper place is to make sure we keep the
important things important. One of the biggest problems with
trouble is that it gets your focus off of where it should

When I experience difficult circumstances and people ask me
how it is going, I tell them, “I am just keeping my eye on
the goal.” It has always been fascinating to me that when
racecar drivers get into trouble, they keep their eyes
straight ahead and do not move them away. There is just too
much chance of wrecking that way.

Instead, their eyes are on the goal, and this keeps them out
of trouble. If you find yourself getting down about
circumstances, sit down and write out what the goal is. Give
some thought to how you can achieve that goal or others you
may have.

A man was asked how he was doing and he responded, “Pretty
well, under the circumstances.” The other man asked, “What
are you doing under the circumstances?” Good question. We
shouldn’t be under the circumstances we should be focused on
the goal and moving forward.

Focus on solutions, not problems. The squeaky wheel gets the
oil, the old saying goes. Negative circumstances don’t sit
idly by. They scream for our attention. When we face
difficult circumstances, we tend to dwell on them. We talk
about them, fret about them, and give them way too much

Instead of talking about problems, talk about solutions.
Instead of spending your time thinking about how bad things
are, think about how good they will be! Don’t have family or
staff meetings about the problems and how big they are. Have
meetings on the solutions and how you will implement them.

Don’t let yourself or other team members complain. Encourage
them to solve, with an emphasis on the positive results that
will come from doing so. Then take some time to put these
solutions down on paper, so you can monitor your progress.

Get some positive input. The mind tends to build on itself,
so when we begin to go in one direction, i.e. worry, it can
be a slippery slope. One thing we must do is get our
thoughts back on track with positive ideas.

When circumstances have got you against the emotional wall,
get with a good friend who can encourage you. Listen to a
tape by Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar or another motivational

Pick up a good book and give it a read. Whatever external
influence you can get to put your attitude back on the
positive side of the tracks – do it! It must be one of our
first goals to start plugging good things into our minds to
fuel our attitudes.

Tell yourself the good. One of the greatest internal powers
we have is the power to control our thoughts. Spend time
dwelling on the good things about your life or job instead
of the problems. Think about positive things, things you
enjoy and give you a sense of happiness and peace.

There is an old childhood song that says, “Count your
blessings, name them one by one.” That is great advice! Let
your positive attitude develop from within as well as from
without. This makes all the difference!

Some questions as we close:

Q. Do you have a habit of reflection before responding?
Q. Do you have a habit of keeping your eye on the goal?
Q. Do you focus on solutions or problems?
Q. Do you give yourself positive outside influence?
Q. Do you have a habit of telling yourself the good?
Q. Do you remind yourself that nothing is forever?

Remember that circumstances are not forever. Sometimes it
seems like we are going to be up to our eyeballs in the
situation forever, when in reality, this too shall pass.

There will be a time in the future when circumstances will
change and you will be on the mountain instead of the
valley. This will give you a sense of hope as you live and
work that will change your attitude, make you feel better
and put you on the fast track for growth!

Chris Widener