“If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams, and you will always look lovely.”
~ Roald Dahl
I set my alarm for 15 minutes and curled into bed. It was one of those moments when you know you are making an irreversible mistake, and yet, you go through with it anyway. The overwhelming temptation of getting into bed for even just a little bit won the battle of homework-meets-my-sleepy-brain, and when my alarm went off 15 minutes later, it took every ounce of me to swing my legs over the side of the bed, stand up, and reluctantly pull on running clothes.
Just a few miles, I told myself. Up to the grocery store and back. My normal running loop took me through neighborhoods, up to the nearby Kroger store, and then, depending on how I was feeling, I’d finish off with a couple hill sprints or elongate the run with a slower steady pace down to the church and back up to my apartment complex. It was a beautiful day, sunny with a slight chilly breeze, and blossoms covered the majority of trees around me, feathery pink and white petals blowing in the wind. Nevertheless, even the beauty of the afternoon could not persuade my cloudy gray outlook. This is going to suck, my mind adamantly assured my body as I dragged my feet down the stairs and out the door. It’s the first step that’s the hardest, I countered, putting earphones in, and starting slowly down the road.
But the run never got easier, and by the time I reached the grocery store, my legs were sore, my lungs were tired, and I was ready to quit. Last hill, I told my mind, and reluctantly pushed my body uphill. At the top, I stopped to stretch and catch my breath. The afternoon light was slowly preparing for Golden Hour, and around me, the world seemed at once sharp and full of clarity. I could make out the individual petals of the snowy flowers on the tree in front of me, the brilliant green of the vines weaving themselves around the black-ironed gate to the side of the sidewalk, and suddenly, there was nowhere else in the world that I would rather have been. It wasn’t that I was hit by a surge of newfound energy or jolt of inspiration; it was simply that I felt alive and happy in the moment, and that was enough to help me continue the run and finish strong.
I tend to steer clear of “Self-help” articles and books, not because I don’t think that they have the potential to be powerful and encouraging, but because I find they can be repetitive and sometimes overzealous. I found this article on a running blog, and as I was scanning it, my attention was caught by the bolded section “4 mentsments to A Successful Attitude.” The author believes that a successful attitude for training, racing, and pursuing running goals is comprised of positivity, belief, confidence, and determination. The simplicity of this is engaging to me for two reasons:
1) Each element can be focused on independently and implemented into aspects of daily life.
Okay, I admit it. This is cliché. Normally, I would roll my eyes at a statement such as, “Positivity breeds confidence,” and “With the right attitude, you can accomplish anything.” Sometimes, you just need to have a bad day and to embrace being upset for a time. I believe that it’s healthy to express frustration, sadness, or anxiety. However, it’s equally important to sort through those feelings and to learn how to let them go. Allowing a bad day or pessimism to colour daily outlook creates a harmful mindset. There’s power in slowly integrating the four elements of a successful attitude into your life. It doesn’t have to be all at once, and it can be in something as simple as accepting a compliment (belief), or tackling a new challenge (determination). It can be a weekly goal: “This week I’ll work on approaching certain situations with confidence” – or a monthly resolution: “For the month of April, I’d like to create positivity in my life and in my interactions with others.”
2) Through the development of these four elements, attitude eventually inspires vision; the two become inextricably intertwined.
At this time in my life, it seems that every individual around me is burdened with the idea of “future” looming in the forefront of their minds. As graduation approaches, I believe that it is ever more important for my generation to consider the synergy of attitude and vision. A few nights ago, two of my best friends in college were talking about the power of positive visualization, and although I was at first skeptical of this concept, the logic of it eventually shone through. A positive and confident individual attracts the same; in other words, what you seek, you must also exemplify. (And there it is again, cliché sneaking its way back in.) There is, one has to admit, some truth to this idea. A determined individual who holds confidence and believe in himself will find a way to succeed.
That being said, it’s not an easy process, integrating these elements into daily life and forming a better, healthier mindset. I have no doubt that it will take me a long time to create an outlook that brims with positivity and confidence. It’s something that I have always struggled with, and so I’m hoping to take small steps in the right direction. And I hope that you might too.
There is one element that I’d like to add to the list: empathy. An effective attitude is comprised of the four elements, but I believe that it’s also important to recognize the situations of those around us. Placing oneself in another person’s shoes for a time illuminates that individual’s attitude and perhaps even his or her vision. The ability to empathize with others has significant impact on way that we treat those around us; without empathy, positivity, belief, confidence, and determination, no vision can be realized, no run finished strong.
Article Link: 4 Elements To A Successful Attitude
- How Your Feelings Can Affect Your Fate: Positive Changes You Can Make Today - March 3, 2017
- The Audacity of the American Consumer - December 7, 2016
- Shine Theory: Making Your Voice Heard - November 23, 2016