A positive person is able to accomplish more at work than a negative person. Agree or disagree?   

Various Scriptures would lead us to agree:

  • Proverbs 17:22: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”
  • Philippians 2:14: “Do all things without grumbling or questioning.”
  • Psalm 118:24: “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Earthly wisdom also reinforces the statement: 

  • Football coach Lou Holtz stated, “Virtually nothing is impossible in this world if you just put your mind to it and maintain a positive attitude.”   
  • Senator Tommy Tuberville is quoted with, “Positive attitude plus effort equals performance.”

Okay, it’s easy to see these Scriptures and quotes and acknowledge the statement as truth, but to me it’s one of those positions in life that is easy to agree with but often difficult to do.  It’s a “simple, but not easy” declaration.  After all, life is full of messy and unpleasant situations, so how can we look beyond our circumstances and arrive at a positive attitude?

At my previous employer, we utilized a 3-2-1 tactical approach to improve the odds that we could be positive as we approached our work.  I believe that for people to maximize their potential at their current employment, this approach is worth trying before you throw in the towel and quit in hopes of finding greener pastures elsewhere.  After all, who knows…your current pasture may not be too green because you just have brown lenses through which you’re looking.  

The 3-2-1 strategy emerges through three simple tactics to practice before you begin your work:

  • 3 – Reflect on 3 things for which you’re grateful.  Be as specific as you possibly can to ensure you actually “feel” the reality of each item.
  • 2 – Take 2 minutes to pray and offer your day and situations to God, asking Him to be in control of your attitudes and actions throughout the day.
  • 1 – Determine 1 intentional Act of Kindness through which you may be able to demonstrate God’s love to someone else.   

What I’ve personally found, and heard the same from many others, is that going through this brief exercise each morning firmly establishes our thought habits for the day in a positive way.  As we then encounter the inevitable downturns of a day, we’re already grounded in a positive position that helps us view potentially negative situations in a balanced manner.

Try it! I think you’ll like it!   3…2…1…Go!

Dave Sparkman currently serves as the volunteer Crossroads Career board chair and local ministry leader. He is also the founder and managing director of Spark Your Culture, a corporate culture consulting firm. Prior to that he worked at UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune #5 public company, serving in the role of Chief Culture Officer. His unemployment experience came from the implosion of Arthur Andersen, where he served as the West Region Managing Partner, People.

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