How to Maintain Professionalism; “Don’t Ever Give Up!”

Positivity and Professionalism

Professionalism – The skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well

Giving Up – A verbal act of admitting defeat

Definitions provided by Webster’s Dictionary

Life is a journey of incredible challenge.

Failure, frustration, and stress are very natural components of the journey.  We are expected to experience these types of emotions along the way.  After all, nothing worth having ever comes easy.

Self-doubt will uncontrollably creep into our minds, yielding a negative domino affect.  We will begin to view life with a negative mindset.

  • Opportunities will feel bleak
  • Goals will appear unattainable
  • Situations will seem hopeless

In the face of challenges, it is perfectly normal to develop this type of defeatist attitude.  However, in spite of such a mindset, it is imperative to heed some very important advice:

“Don’t ever give up!”

It is important to remain aware of self-doubt once it creeps through.  We must consciously decide to not allow such negative thinking to infiltrate and infest our psychological makeups.  We simply cannot allow ourselves to hold us back.

Imagine yourself running a marathon.  You’ve just reached the marker indicating that only two miles remain in your conquest.  You have somehow pushed your body through 24.2 miles and are extremely close to the finish line.  Your ultimate goal is nearly completed.

At this point, you’re exhausted, sore, and gasping for breath.  You’re not quite sure how you’ve come as far as you have, nor are you confident you’ll see it through to the end.  You feel as though your body will collapse at any second.

However, the most challenging portion of the race is where you will ultimately prove yourself.  After all the time and effort you’ve put towards preparing for the run, followed by the 24.2 miles you’ve logged thus far, there’s no chance you’re giving up now!

This marathon analogy shares parallels with the journey of life.

As noted in my previous post entitled “How to Maintain Professionalism; “Get Up and Try!”, the effort you put forth will carry the most weight with anything you set out to do.  After all, we cannot guarantee end results, though we can do everything in our power to put ourselves in favorable positions.

Considering the effort you’ve offered and the dedication you’ve shown, you owe it to yourself to see your conquests through to the very end.  The most challenging portions of your conquests will test your true strength, determination, and will.  Those final two miles will determine who you are and what you’re made of.

When you most want to quit is when you most need to push.  When you feel you’ve got nothing left, dig a little deeper.  When you fall, pick yourself up and keep moving.  You’re so very, very close.

Good luck.

This completes the “How to Maintain Professionalism” series of Positivity and Professionalism.

How to Maintain Professionalism;

How to Maintain Professionalism; “Focus On Yourself!”

Positivity and Professionalism

Professionalism – The skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well

Yourself – A reflexive form of you

Definition provided by Webster’s Dictionary

From time to time, we find ourselves fixated on other peoples’ situations.  We become overly concerned with their mistakes, failures, and negative attitudes.  We become especially consumed by their actions which negatively impact ourselves.

It is human nature to fixate on others.

It is easy for people to distract us and negatively affect our moods.  In regards to the workplace, it can be extremely difficult to concentrate on tasks and maintain professionalism while dealing with such coworkers.

There is essentially one strategy you can use to deal with difficult people in the workplace.  It is some of the most important advice you will receive, and perhaps the most productive method through which to save yourself from others:

“Focus on yourself!”

“Focus on myself?  But, I’m a team player!  People come to me with issues and concerns, which makes me feel like an integral component of this company.  I have always wanted and continue to want for people to like me.  I can’t simply focus on myself and tune everything else out!”

The notion of focusing on yourself has nothing to do with stubborn pride nor inconsiderate selfishness.  It does not indicate a lack of teamwork or an inability to work well with others.

This advice is designed to help you concentrate on your daily objectives.  After all, you will maximize productivity if you tune out what you cannot control.

People are responsible for their own actions.  At the end of the day, they will say and do as they please.  We ultimately have no control over others.

As you enter your place of employment, remind yourself that you cannot dictate the behavior of your peers.  Know that you do, however, have control over the way you respond to their actions.

Make a conscious effort to implement this action on a daily basis and commit it to practice.  Once engrained in your routine, you will feel extremely refreshed, with the baggage of others having been removed from your back.

While it is counterproductive to fixate on the behaviors of others, it is more than okay to focus on yourself.

How to Maintain Professionalism;

Find Your Silver Lining

Positivity and Professionalism

Silver Lining – A prospect of hope or comfort in a gloomy situation [From the proverb “Every cloud has a silver lining”]

Definition provided by Webster’s Dictionary

It is human nature to concentrate on the negative components of a situation.  A negative thought process is likely to ensue in the midst of a bad situation.

We are conditioned to dissect our situation, attempting to determine what has gone wrong and why.

Then, in an attempt to prevent further damage, we brainstorm ways in which we can put an immediate halt to the situation.

Often times, we first search for a temporary fix before considering a long-term solution.

From there, we formulate a defense strategy, should we encounter a similar situation in the future.  Our brains are wired this way as a defense mechanism.  This thought process is designed to better prepare us to handle negativity.

While simply trying to make sense of and survive a negative occurrence, it can be extremely difficult to concentrate on its positive aspects and find a silver lining.  The trick is to physically stop, take a deep breath, and mentally remove yourself from the situation for a moment.

As mentioned previously, at the onset of a bad situation, it is perfectly normal for us to immediately begin brainstorming a defense strategy.  However, our first priority should be avoiding a state of panic.  If we’ve already begun to panic, we must take a deep breath and remove ourselves from that irrational state as quickly as possible.

Once palpitations have ceased and thoughts are flowing more clearly, consider the following:

  • The situation could be a lot worse.  Any situation could ALWAYS be a lot worse.  Begin listing ways, to oneself or aloud, in which the situation could be worse.
  • There is always at least one positive transpiration in the midst of any negative occurrence.  Even if it’s a simple matter of personal growth through a difficult learning experience, there is always a positive to be found.  Again, begin listing the positives, either to oneself or aloud.
  • Consider what you’ve accomplished from a perspective of positivity.  Acknowledge the ways in which you’ve controlled your thought process and remained rational while making the best of a bad situation.  Give yourself a pat on the back.
  • Understand that this thought process will require practice for perfection.  This silver lining mentality will not become second nature after just a handful of survived negative situations.  However, once a part of one’s mental makeup, this thought process will help to combat negativity in the future.

The next time you feel negativity swirling around you, consider the above-mentioned coping mechanism.  It is certainly within your power to find a silver lining within even the most bleak of situations.  However, the silver lining won’t reveal itself to you.  It is up to you to take that first deep breath, begin your controlled thought process, and dig to find that silver lining.

This process requires practice, patience, and, of course, positivity.

Combat Negativity, Promote Positivity, Find Happiness

Positivity and Professionalism

Negativity – the quality or state of being negative

Positivity – The quality or state of being positive; actualness; certainty; confidence; peremptoriness; dogmatism

Happiness – An agreeable feeling or condition of the soul arising from good fortune or propitious happening of any kind; the possession of those circumstances or that state of being which is attended with enjoyment

Definitions provided by Webster’s Dictionary

Negativity is all around us.  It is an unfortunate inevitable component of society.

Negativity is as much a part of our world as the air we breathe or the water we drink.

Negativity occupies the side opposite to positivity on the proverbial attitude coin.

Though negativity is not a tangible item, it sometimes feels as though we could slice negative tension with a cleaver.

Negative minded people and external circumstances are often to blame for the spread of negativity.  However, there is not always a finger to point or blame to place for the presence of negative energy.

Negativity is an aggressive, fact-acting emotion which buries itself in one’s subconscious.  Negativity will often work its way through one’s surface and into his or her core without the person even realizing.

One’s goal should never be to avoid negative thinking altogether.  Such an impossible goal would cause stress to mount and guilt to ensue.

Instead, at the onset of negativity, one’s goal should be to productively manage and overcome such thoughts.  When negative thoughts seep into one’s subconscious, he or she can practice positive thinking as a combatant.

The secret to happiness doesn’t lie in an unrealistic plan of eliminating personal imperfections and avoiding any possible wandering negative thought.  Happiness is achieved via a three-step process which requires practice and determination before becoming habit.

  1. We must recognize and acknowledge negativity as it begins its aggressive attempt to take us over.
  2. From there, we must search for, find, and focus on all positive aspects of a negative situation.  There are ALWAYS positive components of even the most unfortunate situations.
  3. Once we’ve focused on the existing positive aspects, we must ultimately use the negative energy to create a silver lining.

The energy is already there.  We’re just using a practiced thought process to convert the energy from negative to positive.  We are simply turning over the proverbial attitude coin.

“If you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining.”
-Bradley Cooper as Pat Solatano, Silver Linings Playbook

Positivity and Happiness; One and the Same?

Positivity and Professionalism

Positivity – The quality or state of being positive; actualness; certainty; confidence; peremptoriness; dogmatism

Happiness – An agreeable feeling or condition of the soul arising from good fortune or propitious happening of any kind; the possession of those circumstances or that state of being which is attended with enjoyment

Definitions provided by Webster’s Dictionary

Though these two terms carry similar definitions, they are not one of a kind.

Though not identical in meaning, positivity and happiness build off and complement one another.  The two share a ‘Yin-Yang’ relationship.

It is possible to maintain a positive mindset without truly feeling happiness.  However, it is not possible to feel genuine happiness without the help of a positive attitude.

I’ll use a water-related analogy to depict the importance of positivity.  When I’ve been thrown into the lake without warning, I rely on my positive attitude to help me temporarily tread water.  Though it’s perfectly normal for me to have irrational fears of drowning, I know I’ll one day remember how to swim again.  At that point, I’ll swim to shore and safety.

That being said, I can’t claim to be happy while treading water and running low on energy.  However, it is my positive attitude that is helping me to maintain sanity and serenity.  I choose to not fixate on my current unfortunate situation that could drown me.

Instead, I look forward to the greener pastures that I will most certainly find.  I remind myself that I’ve survived this predicament before, and will survive it again.  I will regain my ability to swim and bring myself to land.

On the flip side of the coin, one cannot experience true happiness while not maintaining a positive attitude.

Think about it.  How is it possible to feel genuine happiness without clinging to positive undertones?

By now, you may have played “Devil’s Advocate” and considered the following scenarios:

  • One is “happy” that a long-winded peer has finally stopped talking.

This person is impatient and egotistical, feeling as though his or her time is too valuable for said peer.

  • One is “happy” that an arch nemesis has fallen on difficult times.

This person is merely spiteful and practicing the exact opposite of positivity.

  • One is “happy” that the spring semester has finally ended.

This is actually a feeling of relief, not happiness.  Though perfectly common, this person may hold a negative perception of his or her coursework, instructors, and semester in general.

The human mind is an imperfect creation.  We are humans, not robots.  We never have 100% control over the thoughts we think and the feelings we feel.  After all, it can be difficult enough to control the things we say without worrying about passing thoughts.

That being said, it is inhuman to completely refrain from experiencing negative thoughts.  It is impossible to enjoy happiness at all times.

However, being aware of negative thinking is the first step in working towards a positive mindset.  The more aware we are of oncoming negative thoughts, the easier it becomes to combat them.

On my next post, I’ll discuss ways in which we can actively fight negative thoughts, promote positive ones, and strive for true happiness.

“Good Grief…”

Negativity and Positivity; How Easily they Spread

Positivity and Professionalism

Negativity – the quality or state of being negative

Positivity – The quality or state of being positive; actualness; certainty; confidence; peremptoriness; dogmatism

Definitions provided by Webster’s Dictionary

Negativity and positivity are, essentially, opposite sides of the same coin.

The dangers of negativity are just as strong as the powers of positivity.  The two are equally contagious and easily spread.

We are all products of our past life experiences.  While some have been conditioned to view the glass as half empty, others were taught to see the glass as half full.

Many people carry negative attitudes with them because it is all they know.  Such people may have been raised by cynical parents, or perhaps were surrounded by pessimistic siblings, classmates, or teachers.  Inbred negativity causes people to consistently focus on the cons of any situation.

On the opposite end, positive people will typically attempt to find the best of a situation.  Such people may have been surrounded and influenced by positive thinkers.  They were likely taught to focus on the good and not dwell on the bad.

Though it is important to acknowledge the negative aspects of a situation, there is no need to allow for such aspects to affect your attitude and cloud your judgement.

Let’s envision a hypothetical scenario involving a negative-minded person and a positive-minded person, both of whom have accepted new positions with companies.

A negative person is likely to immediately begin fixating on negative components of his or her situation.  Such a person is quick to judge coworkers, criticize the company for perceived flaws, and complain about his or her salary.

This type of person will generally concentrate on negative aspects, and is likely to share unhealthy thoughts and feelings with his or her peers.  While some are able to remain quietly negative, many feel compelled to speak their minds and spread their displeasure.  Is this venting, or public self-pity and wallowing?

This employee is setting a bad example and, consequently, may cause his or her coworkers to chime in on the negativity.

On the flip side of the coin, a positive person will view his or her new job with a much healthier mindset.  A positive person will likely view a new career position as a fresh start, a chance to learn crucial information, and an opportunity to network and establish relationships.  Such a person will have a positive affect on others, who are apt to jump aboard the optimism train.

Though we are products of our pasts, we are also significantly influenced by our current surroundings and situations.  People brought up in positive environments can be negatively affected by present negativity.

The same holds true for those who grew and developed in negative atmospheres.  These types of people can be positively impacted by favorable current situations.

Though we develop through our life experiences, we need not let forgettable past situations define who we are and who we become.  We can all make conscious efforts to surround ourselves with positive people in healthy settings.

As you enter your next situation requiring social interaction, ask yourself one question.  Is your glass half empty, or half full?  Remember, your attitude will have a direct impact on the attitudes of those around you.

“So I was sitting in my cubicle today, and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it.  So that means that every single day that you see me, that’s on the worst day of my life.”
-Ron Livingston as Peter Gibbons, Office Space