“A bad attitude is like a flat tire. If you don’t change it, you’ll never go anywhere”
True to the above quote, a positive attitude is vital to success in all areas of life, and your career is no different. Most of us have a fairly positive attitude towards work during the initial weeks of starting a new job but maintaining this positivity often gets challenging as time goes by. A negative outlook towards work can result from various factors such as- difficult bosses and co-workers, overly stressful or boring tasks, or simply just a general dissatisfaction with where you are as opposed to where you want to be in your career.
Most people make the mistake of thinking that attitude towards work is determined entirely by external sources, such as co-workers and the work itself. Hence, they often do nothing more than complain to bring any change to the situation. What you must realize is that while external factors do play some part in shaping your attitude towards work, it is actually more dependent on internal factors- such as having positive expectations, developing right perceptions, and being flexible.
It has been proven by research that we are only as happy or unhappy as we make up our minds to be and that we ourselves can decide how positively or negatively we want to respond to our jobs. No matter how negatively you view your current work situation, below are a few ways you could develop and maintain a positive attitude at work:
1. Drive out negative thoughts, and stop complaining: A negative attitude is bred by negative thoughts, and excessive complaining fuels these negative thoughts. To breed positivity within you, you need to first identify your negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Thinking negatively, such as “I hate my job, I am overworked, etc.”, isn’t going to help your situation at all. You could instead think “With all the extra work, I have an opportunity to push my own limits.”, Or “At least I have a job that pays me money when there are many who are unemployed.” The idea is to focus on the positive no matter how bad you feel your situation is. Your feelings will ultimately change with your thoughts.
Also, avoid complaining too much. Firstly, no one likes a chronic complainer; and secondly, you are only enforcing negativity within you and others by complaining.
2. Look from someone else’s perspective: You might have heard the saying, “The grass always looks greener on the other side”. It means that we often tend to think that others always have it better than us. Keep in mind that you are only viewing your situation from one perspective, i.e. your own. Look through someone else’s perspective and you might realize that while you hate your job, others might be envying your position. Similarly, you might be thinking that someone else has a great job, but you wouldn’t fully know of the troubles and hardships associated with that work. Know that every job has it's good and bad. There is no job in the world where each day starts and ends with happiness and contentment.
3. Improve personal life and leave work at work: Remember that work does not constitute your whole life. Negativity towards work develops when your work starts to take over your personal life. It is important to have a clear distinction between work and home. If you have pending work for which you need to put in extra time, it is advisable to stay in your office after work hours and complete the work there itself. This allows for the pressures of work to stay clear from your home. Pursue your personal interests and hobbies outside your job and spend time with your family and friends. Also, don’t let your work hamper your health and quality of life. Make sure to get adequate amounts of sleep and eat your timely meals. A clear separation of personal life from work recharges you for each work day, which improves productivity and thus negates a negative attitude towards works.
4. Keep company that inspires positivity: The people you hang out with rubs off on you. If you associate yourself largely with disgruntled co-workers, whose only favorite past-time is backbiting about other employees and complaining about the organization, you will undoubtedly develop a negative attitude towards work. It is best to reduce such individuals and groups to simple ‘hi-hello’ acquaintances. You should rather befriend those individuals who have a positive outlook on work. They will discuss genuine problems and provide constructive feedback, which will not only help you develop a positive attitude towards work but also help you improve and grow towards career success. In any organization, you can be sure to find both types of people, so make sure not to get involved with the wrong kind.
5. Focus on Long-term goals: Daily work life is subject to ups and downs. You can have bad days, weeks or even months. Instead of dwelling on short-term situations, focus on your long-term goals. If you don’t have a long-term goal, you should first set one. Identify what you would like to achieve professionally, financially, socially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, and set attainable goals for yourself. Now assess your current work and find out how it can help you in achieving these goals in the long run. Having a clearer idea of what you want to achieve in the long run gives you something to strive for, and consequently improves your attitude towards your work.
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