Harvey Mackay

Ten-year-old Billy stumbled while boarding the school bus one morning and bruised his cheek on the stair. But he got up, brushed himself off, looked out at his dad, who was at the bus stop, and gave him a thumbs-up.

Later that morning the school nurse called his father and said Billy had an accident at school. He ran into another student during a gym class and had a bump on his forehead but was OK. The nurse said Billy seemed more concerned about the other student.

At the end of the day, as Billy was heading for the school bus, he slipped on some ice and broke his wrist trying to catch his fall. When his father arrived at the hospital, he found his son chatting away with the nurses.

He said, "Dad, look," as he clutched a dollar bill. "I found this when I fell. Today is my lucky day."

Life and our circumstances are all about how we think of them. And for most of us working stiffs, our circumstances include making a living, sometimes at a job or career that occupies a big bite of our time. Shouldn't that big bite taste good?

Career success is an ongoing journey, not a destination. You've got to show up every day and concentrate consistently on the activities that lead to achievement. You can keep moving forward from goal to goal, but your job satisfaction and performance will suffer if you don't bring your best attitude to work.

Insurance magnate and author W. Clement Stone wrote: "There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative." By the way, Stone lived this philosophy to a ripe old age of 100.

If you recognize some negative traits invading your attitude, take some action before it's too late. Don't waste time when you've got a problem to solve or an idea to put into action. A rapid response gets attention and builds excitement.

Focus on the bright side. Emphasize what you genuinely enjoy about your job and the people you work with, and express your gratification as much as you can.

Keep your eye on results. It's easy to fall into routines and patterns that emphasize the process instead of the outcome. Learn the rules, but apply them with an eye on what you want to achieve.

Check your use of language, and change it when necessary. This includes inner talk and outer talk. Change your negative words and thoughts into positive ones. Understand that some days will be more challenging, but don't fall back into bad habits. Turn negatives into positives. Don't obsess over obstacles and setbacks. Treat failures as an opportunity to spot mistakes and move forward.

Ultimately, the only control you have in life is over yourself, your thoughts, actions, responses and behaviors.

Don't fixate over what you can't control; concentrate on what you can.

You'll stay positive if you remind yourself of what you already possess. Every day, spend some time thinking about your health, family and friends and the advantages you have, instead of focusing on what you lack.

And if, after you have given serious consideration to all this advice, you are still unable to conjure up a good attitude toward your job or career choice, find another line of work and quickly! You aren't doing yourself, or the people around you, any favors by staying in a situation that will only get worse.

It's up to you to fix what you can, and that starts with your attitude. Don't sell yourself short. You deserve better.

When it comes to having a winning attitude, think about this story of a taxpayer and an IRS tax auditor, who was reviewing the taxpayer's records. While the auditor worked through the papers, the taxpayer shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

The auditor adjusted his glasses and said, "Mr. Smith, we at the IRS feel it's a great privilege to live and work in the United States. And as a U.S. citizen, you have an obligation to pay taxes. And we expect you to pay them eagerly with a smile."

"Oh, thank goodness," Mr. Smith said, wearing a giant grin on his face. "I thought you were going to want me to pay with cash."

Mackay's Moral: Take control of your attitude before it takes control of you.

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