The importance of a positive attitude and an optimistic outlook on life is a concept that is repeatedly emphasized and thrown around casually. This is a bit of advice that is easy to brush off and push to the back of our minds, but I have found that regardless of its commonality, is vital to success is any field and should be taken to heart.
Throughout my life my dad taught me countless invaluable lessons, and although it is impossible to decipher which is the most important or influential, one bit of wisdom that I apply to my life on daily basis is that happiness and positivity can be found in any and every situation. He always made it a point to bring joy to every task and maintained a lighthearted approach in everything he did. This is something that I have come to find to be exceedingly important.
The way I have learned to look at this is that with a negative attitude you are almost sure to ruin a good experience, and with a positive attitude, you can only enhance a bad one, so logically it just makes sense to look on the bright side.
My dad taught me this from the moment I could walk, and without even knowing it. For example, for as long as I can remember, when I was with him I never simply walked into a grocery store, I skipped. He turned something as seemingly simple and mundane as walking into the grocery store into a positive part of the trip. Every time we would hold hands, skip away from the car, and bounce towards the store with smiles stretched across our faces.
People would watch us with grins across their faces because happiness is just contagious. I don’t exactly remember when we started this tradition, but I assume we started the moment I had the ability to walk, and continued it through all of our time together. Even though this seems like a small act it made such a large impact on me.
I would look forward to trips to buy groceries with him, just because I knew that no matter what, it would in some way enhance my day and lift my spirits. I think this is a great example of how we should all live; instead of merely participating in life, or simply walking into the store, we should turn each moment into a monumental, positive memory that propels us into more, even more significant and captivating situations.
There are times when bad things happen, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Sometimes it’s hard to see the bright side, and moping seems like the best possible option, and I totally agree. I’ve thought this exact thing many times when I’m down, and submit to the idea that I should get a free pass, and am allowed the right to have a sour attitude for as long as I desire.
I soon realized that embracing negativity and allowing whatever has hurt me to affect my mood never pans out to be a productive or wise way to handle a situation. It’s become apparent to me that these are, in fact, the times that it is most important to maintain a positive outlook. It is one thing to be a positive spirit when it is easy and convenient, but it is truly admirable when one strives and achieves this when it is incredibly inconvenient.
On one gloomy day of my freshman year of high school I got in the car with my mom to go home after cross country practice. As I told her about my day I could sense that something was off. I could see in the way she gazed at me that she was holding something back, just as the massive gray clouds above were holding off the oncoming storm, but were ready to burst.
Once we got home my mom and dad told me that at the age of 46 my dad had been diagnosed with terminal cancer that was aggressively spreading from his stomach to other vital organs of his body, and was given 4-6 months to live. This news totally turned mine and my entire family’s worlds upside down. As you can imagine it was a rollercoaster of emotions that we were thrown into totally unprepared, and unsure of how to deal with the months to come.
In addition to being a positive spirit, he made more relationships and inspired more people than ever, and in his darkest time. Many people met him and were totally unaware of the turmoil happening inside of his body because of the incredible light he was on the outside. I see this as the ultimate example of continuing an uplifting lifestyle, even when it is incredibly inconvenient.
It is truly inspiring to me that even at the most heartbreaking time in his life he still maintained his thirst for happiness, excellence, and success. Like any normal human, he had his ups and downs, and times of grieving, but for the majority of the journey, he maintained not only a positive attitude, but a strong sense of determination.
He made admirable efforts everyday not only in his health, but in his family relationships, spirituality, and business ventures. He continued to be a light in everyone’s life that he came in contact with, and didn’t let any setback show, and continued to make each and every person he came in contact feel important, inspired, and welcome. When it would have been easiest for him to walk, or even trudge, he skipped.
One of the most important things I’ve learned is that, as cliché as it may sound, you really cannot take a day for granted, and being sad and will never improve an already flawed situation. You attract what you put out in the world. One of my favorite quotes, that is also from one of my dad’s favorite author’s lays this out quite clearly by stating: “Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results; bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results,” -James Allen, As a Man Thinketh.
The next time you’re trudging through life, just think that there is so much to be happy about, and by acknowledging this happiness you will surely set yourself up for more gratified experiences. Why have a negative attitude when you can have a positive one? Why walk when you can skip?