Improve Your Attitude: Turn Negatives Into Positives
Look at the Worst Case Scenario
This might seem counterintuitive, but I’ve found that when you are staring at something that seems insurmountable, look at all the options, including the worst possible one. When I found out that one of the buyers of my business didn’t get her financing approved at the last minute, I was crushed. I felt a migraine coming on for the first time in my life. I have planned for over a year, and have already gotten my head around the things selling will accomplish for my family. After a mini melt down, I went into analytical mode. What is the absolute worst thing that could happen? This part of the sale is for the branch office, not the main one. The main office sale is still on. The worst case would be that I would have to close the branch office and take a loss. I would still have enough income to cover bills, and it would help with my taxes. I just wouldn’t have a lump sum payment to kill my student loans this year. While disappointing, I could live with that. In the end, the buyer has resubmitted her financing, and it looks like we are on for March 1. I’m hopeful, but won’t be crushed if it doesn’t happen..
You can also view debt this way. If you have no idea how much you owe and are only making minimum payments, afraid to add it all up, just do it. What is the worst that could happen? You owe lots of money and need to pay it off. You might even have to file for bankruptcy. It might take years, but you can recover from that. Look at Donald Trump, not so bad. Short of kicking the bucket, most obstacles can be overcome if you are willing to change and move forward in a positive way.
Turn Setbacks into Opportunities
When I was finishing optometry school, I applied to several residency positions. All were in the Southern US, where I had always lived and was comfortable, although not necessarily happy. I was led to believe I was the top finalist for one of the positions in Memphis, where I prefered to stay. At the last minute, the residency was awarded to someone that didn’t go through the formal application process. I had already turned down another position so that I could accept this one. That was a double blow because I had no job, and I felt like a loser because they picked someone who didn’t officially apply over me.
I ended up taking a residency position on the Navajo reservation in Northern New Mexico. This country girl did not know what the heck she was in for, but it ended up being the best thing that could have happened. I loved the West, and still live in the same area, just across the border in Colorado. I met my husband about six months after I moved here, and the position that I accepted was four million times better than the one I didn’t get. It taught me how to be an independent thinker and trust in my training and abilities. When you are out in the middle of the reservation, you’re pretty much it. There aren’t specialists in the office next door to help you out. Sometimes a missed opportunity opens the door to an even better possibility.
Start Saying I Can Instead of I Can’t
We all certainly have our skills and weaknesses. You don’t have to know how the final scene will play out. Don’t get so tied down in what you aren’t able to do that you miss out on the things you can. When we realized that we were $30,000 in credit card debt, that number seemed much to large to ever pay off. My husband’s teacher salary is only $33,000 a year, a whole year of work to pay off debt. It certainly seems impossible if you look at it that way.
What we could do was pay off the first balance of many. I believe it was around $800. It took almost no time. By focusing on what we knew we could do, the rest fell into place. We rocked it once we had the correct attitude. Take this month and every time you hear yourself say “I can’t” change your mindset. Maybe you think it’s impossible to save $1000, but I bet you can save $50. Build from there. If you can do it for a month, I bet you’ll never cross back over to the negative side.
Life is unpredictible. You can live it enjoying the positive things you have or moaning about the negatives. Most everyone who is reading this likely has basic necessities and opportunities to improve ourselves if we take them. I love to analyze options from all angles, but life is so much better if you can find a way to turn the negatives into positives.
What negative has turned into a positive for you?
A recent example: two of my small appliances burnt up in the same day! (Yesterday). The silver lining? I get two brand new awesome ones (eventually, these things are pricey).
I had a housemate for a little bit that we called Eeyore. He could make ANYTHING super depressing. It got old, quickly.
The 2009 downturn was the negative catalyst to launch my site. 3 years later I retired from the corporate world. If it wasn’t for the downturn, if still be working, which is not as fun as not working 🙂
I love stories like that. Definitely a huge positive from a negative.