The Secret to a Long Life: Close the Complaint Department!

attitude check

A rather unusual pair of comedic Christian missionaries – identical twins Rick and Mick Vigneulle – often conduct an “Attitude Check” program for high school students. One of the highlights is when they ask the teenagers to shout out what they think make people successful in life.

They dutifully list everything the kids say and then pause to consider the responses at the end. Many of the things you’d expect the kids to say are often missing from the list, like money and connections. What dominates the list are all personal attributes that fall into the category of our attitude.

I could sum most of these up by simply saying that even teens – who we often write off as ignorant, apathetic, or both – understand that the most vital key to success is having a positive attitude. Over the years, I’ve come to deeply understand that your internal beliefs are reflected in your external results.

Lose the rain cloud

If you’ve ever been a fan of the funny papers, you’ve probably seen a cartoonist illustrate a character with a bad attitude by putting a little rain cloud over his or her head. I don’t think that’s far from the truth. If you have a persistently negative attitude, you’ll find that it tends to “rain on your parade” almost all the time.

And not only does a positive attitude increase your opportunity for success, it can dramatically increase the number of active and enjoyable years you spend here on Earth as well. 107-year old Lona Collins recently told reporters that one of her secrets to longevity was to not complain.

It is very easy to become a complainer. After all, business and life do throw some tough challenges our way. Unfortunately, complaining is the easiest – and least productive – way to respond to problems. Complainers don’t solve problems, complainers magnify problems.

Discernment is required

Let’s face it, some problems can be solved and some can’t. When you run into a problem for which there is no solution – at least in the short term – you just have to adjust your attitude and move on. But to do this you have to recognize and agree with the fact that you have control over your attitude. There are many things in the world that are beyond your control – your attitude isn’t one of them.

Complaining is an outward expression of inward ill feeling, such as unhappiness, envy, frustration and others. We need to learn to let these go. If we bottle them up, we eventually explode. If we express them by complaining, we chase away people with positive attitudes and draw in other complainers.

It’s not a pretty picture, so if you’re prone to complain, try to start catching yourself at it and head it off. If you’re deaf to your own complaints, ask a trusted loved one to give you a secret signal whenever you start harping on something. You’ll be happier and more successful in life and in your small business.

Will a positive attitude guarantee you material wealth? No. But when it’s combined with hard work and a sound business strategy, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish.

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