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Maintaining a Positive Attitude at Work

“Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what people do or say. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.” ~W.C. Fields

For all the effort we put into advancing our careers and being the best possible versions of ourselves as employees, it is incredible how one little aspect that has the potential to bring us even greater success evades us: positive attitude at work.

Unlike hard skills or quantifiable KPIs, attitude is an immeasurable “metric”, but a super-important one nevertheless.

Employee attitude is about how we approach our responsibilities and engage with colleagues across the different rungs of the organisation. How we respond to everyday challenges at the workplace and the outlook we assume when things are not going as swimmingly as we would like. Because they rarely do – or will.

It’s an inevitable part of working with people of different backgrounds. Each with their own quirks and foibles.

Focus on What’s Within your Control

A positive mindset should not be viewed as an idealistic notion when it comes to navigating the intricacies of the modern workplace: it has become a necessity.

Every day, employees have to deal with a slew of challenges that can easily bog them down. However, through the power of positive thinking and a concerted effort to cultivate the right employee attitude, it is possible to ride through these challenges and thrive at the workplace.

It is not easy, especially when some co-workers appear deliberate in their efforts to make your life a living hell. Could be a negative Nancy or a bad boss. The office gossiper or vapid manipulator. The vindictive retaliator or perpetual liar.

Every office will have these characters. If not reined in, the negative culture can infiltrate the entire fabric of an organisation and sap morale, impacting performance and productivity. But that’s beside the point…

As an employee, it is upon you to rise above these challenges in order to set yourself up for success. As challenging as it may be, adopting a positive attitude at work makes it easier to ride the wave of workplace pressures.

Perception plays a big role in cultivating that mind-set. How we allow ourselves to view and interpret things and situations – which in turn guides our interaction with co-workers and the overall relationships we have with them.

You also need to make peace with the fact that you cannot control every aspect of your work. As much as you may do your best to maintain positivity, some people at your job will still be negative.

Avoid taking things personally as you will only be letting yourself get sucked by the negative attitude. Remember that at the end of the day, your mission at work is to get our job done to the best of your abilities, so you’re better off focusing on what you can control: your attitude. And perception.

“You can control two things: your work ethic and your attitude about anything.” ~Ali Krieger

Positive Attitude at Work: Turning Negatives into Positives

What’s incredible about the power of positive thinking is that it has an amazing way of altering the course and manifesting good things in our life – work or otherwise.

A positive attitude at work can obviously help you manage work challenges and stress better, which allows you to concentrate your energies on the things that matter without getting side-lined by the trivialities.

More than that, though, practising this mindset in your day-to-day can set you apart and is one of those little things that do not go unnoticed.

Its benefits – which often manifest from unseen or unexpected situations, including challenges or circumstances that might not sit well with you – may not be realised overnight, but this positive outlook can prove to be a turning point in your life and career.

For instance, in The Irrepressible Mind: 9 Steps to Overcome Adversity, I describe how a personnel manager at a major auto-manufacturing company was tasked by the department head with overseeing upcoming talent recruitment while his boss jetted off on holiday.

The initial reaction from the personnel manager was similar to how many of us would perceive the situation (an unnecessary distraction!), especially considering the daunting in-tray he had to contend with already. Taking charge of the interviews would mean more hours spent on work over the ensuing weeks and less time for himself and his family.

Since he had no option, the manager chose to change his perception of the task he had been handed and use the opportunity to demonstrate his managerial skills.

Little did he know that this unwelcome situation would later turn out to be a hidden opportunity when he was promoted to Department Head after his boss was moved to a different division a few months later.


This is just one example of how positive attitude at work can get you closer to your goals and dreams, sometimes unwittingly.

Importantly, though, it’s good to detach this mindset from any outcome and learn to practise it without expectations. It is a concept that students of the Law of Attraction school of thought should be all too familiar with.

As the saying goes:

“When you detach from expectations, you allow space for miracles to unfold.”

That’s the power of positive thinking.


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