Apr 222012

A question from one of our subscribers: “How do you keep your dreams and goals alive in the face of adversity and depression?”


Here’s my response:


“That’s a Positive!” (Part 1 of a 3 part series)


          Are you one of them? I am! Who am I talking about? One of those people to painstakingly search to find the positive aspect of even the most dire situations. When a member of the UnCommon Courtesy & Coaching staff gave me a plot synopsis of The Hurricane, my response was: “Well, isn’t it great that the author is doing so well now as a result of his bad experience.”  Even for me that was a stretch! Are you a nay-sayer? One of those people who repeatedly focus on the negative aspects of any situation? Well, as irritating as that search may be for others to listen to, there are many benefits to developing and keeping a positive outlook in life.

The Need for a Positive Outlook

A positive outlook has many obvious benefits, but hidden benefits as well. It is well documented that a positive outlook is beneficial for your overall health, but think of the subtle benefits as well.  If you have a positive outlook, you will be able to calm yourself in anxiety provoking situations.  Consider how you might respond to an employment performance review. If you have a negative outlook, you will no doubt experience needless anxiety and depression by focusing on every “mistake” and “criticism” that your boss talked about during the review. You might even conclude that the things mentioned by your employer could be the basis for your eventual dismissal. If you have a positive outlook, you will decide that the “feedback” and “challenges” your boss gave your during the meeting are “opportunities“ to position yourself for greater success with the company in the future.

There are other, more unintended, benefits to having a positive outlook. People who hold a positive outlook on life tend to be happy and have a sunny disposition. It is easier to be around someone with a sunny disposition.  If you are an employer or salesperson, having a sunny disposition may make it easier for you to influence and direct those around you.  Consequently, you will be more likely to achieve your goals because people will want to work with you.  A person with a positive outlook is also more likely to be the one that everyone is drawn to at a party. Therefore, they are also the people who will form connections and freindships with people who can help them reach their goals.

Developing a Positive Outlook

Although the reasons for maintaining a positive outlook on life are clear, the method for developing such a view of life may seem as cloudy as a stormy sky. Allow me to offer three suggestions.

First, examine the mantras that run through your head day in and day out. What do they tell you. Do they say that life is good or bad? Do they tell you that you will succeed or fail? Do they focus your attention on good outcomes or bad ones? If your life is directed by a negative mantra, then choose a more positive mantra to live by.

Second, think about what you do that reinforces your negative outlook on life. Every person has a series of habits that have become ingrained. Some habits, such as brushing your teeth twice a day, are good.  Others are bad. Do you set yourself up for failure? Have you decided to measure yourself by an unrealistic yardstick?

Third, take a look at the people who you have chosen to surround yourself with in your life.

Part 3: Maintaining a Positive Outlook

          Reprogramming your mantra

                    Seeing the humor in life!

          The search is on! Remember to search for the positive


‘mso-sp� u:����/span>The newsletter will periodically continue to include articles of this length. However, I would also like to offer you something a bit different.  Issues of the newsletter that do not contain my articles will include what I like to think of as “personal growth exercises.”  Personal growth exercises will briefly discuss an area that many of us can improve in (i.e., communication skills, our interaction with others, or ways to improve our behavior), and then challenge the reader to grow in that area. The Pinnacle Perspective will continue to include motivational quotations and inspirational stories. I believe that reading inspirational stories can encourage you to positively change your life and the lives of those around you.  If you receive inspirational stories from others, please include me in your re-distribution lists!  There are so many great stories out there, and I aspire to make UnCommon Courtesy & Coaching a cornerstone for inspirational material on the Internet! I’ll be busy this week making up a list of personal growth exercises to pass along in the coming months, and I look forward to input from all of The Pinnacle Perspective’s fantastic subscribers!



Please send any articles, poems, or quotes that you have about changing your life, living life to the fullest, and personal growth to me at susan@uncommoncourtesy.com !

[1] Atkinson and Schiffrin (1971) “The Control of Short-Term Memory. Scientific American, 224,82-90.

: Ar�jmo����t-family:Arial’>4.     How often has my rush to get through my day caused me to treat people abruptly?


  1. Have I rationalized my rude behavior toward others as being what is socially acceptable in our society?
  2. Do I dismiss my critical comments toward and about others as my way of  “telling them the truth”?
  3. How do I react when other people treat me poorly?
  4. Do I have empathy for my acquaintances, friends, colleagues, and family members?
  5. Do I treat people around me in the warm, kind, compassionate, and courteous manner that I would like to be treated?

10. What can I do to have a positive direct and indirect impact on others?


Take time today to choose to have a positive impact on someone’s life! We’ll talk more about empathy building next week.


          Warmest regards,




P.S. I will eventually address the issue of implementing a new standard of conduct, but there are a few other issues that I would like you to first consider in the upcoming weeks.


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