Positive Attitude

By Leo Gura - May 9, 2014 | 12 Comments

Cut the shit! What it really takes to cultivate a positive attitude.

Video Transcript

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Hey, this is Leo from Actualized.org, and in this video I’m going to talk about positive attitude.

Let’s talk about how to develop positive thinking. What I really want to tackle in this video, because I have other videos that talk about positive thinking and optimism, equally titled Positive Thinking and Optimism if you want to check those out, but what I want to talk about here is how you actually cultivate a positive attitude.

It’s very easy, I find, to talk about positive thinking, to wax philosophical about positive thinking, to extoll the virtues of positive thinking, and we all know we want to be more positive, but then we just fall back into our groove and we remain the negative selves, the critical selves, the judgmental selves, the worrying selves, the stressed selves that we’ve always been.

How do you actually do this? What I’m going to say in this video is actually that this is a very advanced topic. Very few people in life actually have a true positive attitude. Of those people that do, many have it maybe because they were very fortunate with the way they were raised, or because they had very good genetics.

Play Your Cards

Genetics is a factor in your happiness and your mood set point. About fifty percent of it is genetic, so that can be an important factor as well. Ultimately, all we care about is what we can control. The genetics laid aside, you have to play with the cards you were dealt. Whatever cards you were dealt, how do you make the best of them?

How do you create a positive attitude? No matter how shitty your genetics are, or where you come from with your family background or any kind of incidents and trauma you’ve had in your life, it is possible to create a very strong positive attitude.

Ultimately, I’ve got to be honest with you, it’s not something you’re just going to get from watching one video. Stop bullshitting yourself. Positive thinking, people say “Well, positive thinking is so airy-fairy. It’s just wishful thinking.”

Actually, positive thinking can be a very hard-nosed, tangible things. The only problem is that almost nobody approaches it that way. Nobody is very rigorous about their positive attitude. Here I’m going to talk about what it really takes to start to develop this.

I’ve really started to realise that just in the last six months, because I’ve done so much personal development work, studying all these theories and all this stuff, a lot of times I’ll be able to put into place a lot of nice things for myself in my life, externally — I’ll get my money situation handled, I’ll get the gym handled, I’ll get the relationship handled — but then what I find is that I’m still not really positive on the inside.

The reason that is is because no external circumstance will ever make you a positive thinker. That’s inner work you have to do. This is ultimately what it’s going to take. It’s going to take time. It’s going to take months and years of work. Time and work, inner work, to do this. No external circumstance is going to do it.

If you think you’re just going to set your life up nicely around you — you’re going to get a nice house, a nice car, a nice wife and some other things that you’re going to have in your life — that’ll be nice. Maybe that’ll even make you feel good for a while. MAybe it’ll even make you feel good for a long time, but it’s not going to make you a true positive thinker.

It’s not going to get you a positive attitude, because your attitude is positive simply because you’re in very comfortable surroundings. As soon as I take away your wife, or your car, your house, or something else, or your job — all of a sudden you’re not going to have a positive attitude. You’re going to have a very negative attitude.

A true positive attitude means you’re positive no matter what. It’s not a fragile positivity. How do we do this? Here are the core pillars of how to do this. This is a very deep topic, so I’m going to go into other videos and cover these other pillars in more depth. Here’s the overview.

The Present Is Inevitable

Number one is that you really have to buy into this idea and accept that the present moment is inevitable, as it is. You cannot be a positive thinker, you cannot have a positive attitude if you do not accept this. The present moment, right now, what you think about the present moment is that it’s nice, but there’s something that could be better about it.

“Well, the present moment could be nicer, if only I had ____.” Fill in the blank with whatever you want: a thing, a situation, a person or even something about yourself that’s different. In the end, to have a positive attitude no matter what, to have a robust positive attitude, you have to come into this realization, this connection with reality, with truth.

The truth is that, in the present moment, this moment right now, nothing could be different than the way it is. No matter how good or how bad you perceive it to be, right now, nothing could be different than the way it is. It’s inevitable, the current moment.

The future could be different, but the present moment cannot be different. It is what it is. This seems simplistic, and you might wonder “Well, that kind of makes sense. But what does this really have to do with anything? How is this going to change my life?”

That’s because you haven’t really penetrated into the depth of what this principle really means. When you really penetrate into the depth of it and you live from this place, and you can do this, what you’re going to find is that if you just accept the current moment as inevitable, a lot of your tensions will melt away.

A lot of the things that are bothering you right now, that are making you unhappy, are going to start to melt away. You’re going to be accepting of them. Not in the sense that you have to tolerate them for the rest of your life, or that you don’t have to do anything about them, but in the sense that for right now, in the current, present moment, this tiny millisecond we’re living in, the now, that time is locked in and there’s nothing you can do about it.

The stress you’re creating, the resistance you’re creating to it, the fact that you don’t like the present moment and you want to rip yourself out of it, this is creating unnecessary struggle which is creating a lot of negativity, worry and anxiety in you and is unnecessary.

In fact, not only is it unnecessary, but it’s diametrically opposed to having a positive attitude. You can’t have a positive attitude by definition, if you’re anxious and worried, having negative thoughts. You need a way to drop those. One of the best ways is to adopt this principle very deeply in your life.

Worry Is Useless

The next principle is another thing you have to accept. This is something that also people do not want to accept, this idea that worry is useless. This is a very tough one, even for me to accept, that worry is useless.

Somewhere, in the back of our minds, and even in the front of our minds, we make all sorts of arguments for why the worry we do throughout the day, throughout the week, throughout the year, throughout our whole lives, is somehow justified, and that it’s somehow natural. That it’s actually good.

That worry is what’s getting us the results we’re getting in our life. It might go something like this “Well, Leo, you’re telling me not to worry, and you’re telling me that worry is useless, but wait a minute. The other day at my job, I was so worried about the report I had to submit to my boss that that worry lit a fire in my ass, and so I went off and I worked hard on the report and then I finished the report just in the nick of time, and I made it by the skin of my tooth.

I turned in that report, and it somehow got me by. My boss was happy. It held the situation over. But you know, if I look back at that situation, and if I take all the worry out of it, and if I wasn’t worried about the situation, then I would never have gotten that report in on time. Maybe I would’ve been fired.

So how can you tell me, Leo, that worry is useless?” I can relate to this. I can make this argument myself, often times I do. The problem is that this is a very disempowering way to think. Ultimately, the more work you do on yourself, and the more worry you start to let go in little places, what happens is that you’re so afraid and you’re so attached to your worry that you’re like “No, I need this worry.”

You’re like a little child with a blanket, who thinks this little baby blanket that he’s been growing up with, is somehow protecting him from the dangers of life. That’s what you’re doing with your worry. You’re using it as a little blanket. You’re saying “You know what? I need it. If I drop it, if I let go of this worry, then my life is going to turn to shit.”

It definitely seems that way. What you’re going to find is once you start letting go of that worry, it’s actually not quite as bad as you thought it was. In fact, what you’re going to realize is that, as you’re letting go of more and more worry, your performance is improving.

What you’re going to start to find is that those situations, like turning in that report to your boss, wouldn’t have even been a problem if you weren’t a worrier in the first place. The reason you probably got into that situation was because you were worried about it. You started procrastinating.

You started building it up in your mind. You started having negative visualizations. You started having resistance towards it. You didn’t do the work until the very last minute. Whereas if you weren’t a warrior, then you would’ve just done it days ahead of time, and you would’ve done it even better that you did by doing it in the last second.

That’s one way to start to combat this, but ultimately, again, this is a very deep idea, that worry is useless. Ask yourself: do you really believe that? Even I don’t believe it at a subconscious level yet. I know it logically. I know I should believe it. I know I need to, in order to get the performance I want in my life, but still, it’s difficult for me to believe and actually practice.

I’m retraining my mind every single day, as I’m noticing myself worrying, that worry is useless, because I know this is a core principle that needs to be put into place to have a positive attitude. Why is that?

If you’re worrying, then you can’t be positive. Worry happens on a micro level, every single minute and second of your day if you are a worrier. If you believe that worry has value, then of course, you’re going to keep worrying. It’s not going to work.

In order to shed all your worry, you have to honestly believe, truly believe, that worry is not serving you in any positive way. That’s the second pillar.

Cheerfulness Is The Way

The third pillar is to accept. This is a pillar of acceptance. You have to accept that cheerfulness is the best attitude and the best strategy towards solving problems in life. Think about this one too. Do you believe that’s true? Do you believe that being happy, no matter what the circumstances are, no matter how bad the situation is, do you believe that being happy is actually your best way out of that situation?

Most people would like to say yes, but then in practice, they behave as though they believe it’s a no. What happens is as soon as something catastrophic happens in their life, then all the happiness and all the cheerfulness goes out the window. It’s like that become a luxury.

With this kind of mindset, you can’t really have a positive attitude, not a consistent one. It’s going to be a fragile one. If you want a rock solid, consistent positive attitude, then you can’t let negative circumstances come and dictate how you’re going to feel.

If you think that being scared is actually helpful to you, when a negative situation happens, or panicking is actually helping you fix the situation, then you’re going to keep doing that. You’re going to think “That’s the best strategy. If something horrible happens to me, obviously I should be sad or fearful about it, because that’s helping me survive that situation.” You might say that to yourself.

Actually, that’s not the case. That’s not true at all, but your brain will certainly trick you into thinking that. It certainly will. That’s your survival instinct mode kicking into gear, but that’s not conscious. To have a positive attitude means you have to be conscious all the time.

This is a challenge. It’s challenging to be cheerful in a tough situation. It’s easy to be cheerful in a nice situation, but it’s hard to be cheerful in a challenging situation. This is an important pillar to accept.

Having The Right Strategy

Strategy is an important point we need to talk about, because a lot of people get mixed up about strategy and what it is. Some people will think “Well I’m going to take some sort of strategy towards this situation that I’m going to encounter tomorrow. I’m going to make some sort of decision. I’m going to deal with my problem in some sort of way.

If the result of that interaction between my strategy and the problem is positive, and it’s to my liking, then my strategy was correct. If the result was negative, and it didn’t go the way I wanted to, then my strategy was incorrect.”

That’s actually not the right way to approach strategy. That’s a mistake. Proper strategy is correct, regardless of the outcome. You might wonder how can that be. Take an example like poker. In poker, there are very clear dos and don’ts for what kind of hands you should play, and what kind of hands you shouldn’t play.

Ultimately, poker is a pretty simple model, it can be modeled mathematically, so you can run the percentages and you can always, if you have a computer or you’ve got a really sharp mind, you can always take a look at the hands and if you see all the players’ hands you can always take a look and analyze it, run the numbers and say “OK, you should clearly fold right now, even though you have a strong hand. You should fold, because the odds are against you.”

Or maybe you calculate it the other way around. There are actual odds that you should be doing, you should be playing. But then, sometimes, if you watch the world poker tour or something like that, poker on TV, you’ll see some players are mavericks and they’ll rebel against the odds, and even though the odds are against them, they’ll still play against the odds. Sometimes they’ll actually win.

What does that mean? Does that mean they are smart, they’re intelligent, they have a proper strategy in place? No, they just got lucky. That can be happening in your life. You could be getting lucky with various decisions and strategies you’re employing. You could be getting lucky.

This doesn’t mean it’s the right strategy. What’s the point here? How does this connect back to positive thinking? The way it connects back to that is that this idea that cheerfulness is the best strategy. That’s what I’m trying to convince you. Being cheerful, no matter what is happening in your life.

That means that if someone dies in your family, you still remain cheerful. Think about that. I’m not kidding. Imagine that in your life, that if someone died who was close to you, and you could still remain cheerful. What would it take for you to do that? That takes serious internal self-control and discipline to do.

Not in a forced way, but actually, to genuinely be cheerful. Not that they died, but still cheerful in the moment, because what’s the sadeness going to get you? What’s the fear going to get you? Is it going to actually help you? Is it the best strategy to live through that life problem?

If someone dies who’s close to you, is getting upset about it, or sad about it, is that the best way to live through that problem? Or is the best way to remain cheerful? We know, logically, that the best strategy is to remain cheerful, but in practice, how many of us can actually execute that? Very few.

Discipline Is Important

This is where self-control comes in. This is where training and discipline come in. Building yourself up and convincing yourself with these pillars. The more you practice them, the more you implement them, the more solid and grounded you get in them, and then they actually take root in your life. Then you can actually use them in tough situations.

This is why this is an advanced idea. You can see why this is advance now, because very few people truly have a positive attitude in life. Now you also might have this objection, or this thought that goes something like this:

“Well Leo — OK, positive thinking. I hear you. It sounds nice. But isn’t positive thinking actually dangerous? I mean, I’m a realist. Isn’t it better to be a realist in life rather than this starry-eyed optimist, and approach everything optimistically? Isn’t realism the best approach?

What if you’re optimistic, and then all that optimism you have, all those goals and dreams and outcomes you’ve set for yourself, all those just come crashing down when it collides with reality? What if you’re cheerful, and you’re telling yourself to be all happy, and then someone close to you dies, and you’re not able to maintain that?

What happens then Leo? Isn’t that reckless? Isn’t that dangerous? Aren’t you setting yourself up for pain?”

The answer is this: you are setting yourself up for pain if what you’re doing is setting these hard expectations, and you’re very attached to the outcome. It doesn’t have to be that way. This is where discounters and naysayers of positive thinking will get it wrong.

They’ll say “Well, positive thinking, that’s going to set me up for failure. That’s going to set up for disappointment.” The problem is they’re being positive and telling themselves “I’m positive, but I need the outcome to be positive. If it’s not positive, everything’s going to hell”.

True positive thinking is being more relaxed, more chill, being outcome detached. You’re a positive thinker. You’re thinking positive about the situation. That doesn’t mean the situation won’t turn bad. That doesn’t mean you can foretell the future and get everything you want to happen in your life to happen in a way that you want it. Never going to happen.

On the contrary, it means you’re going to have ups and downs. You’re going to have things unexpectedly happen. You might have some sort of lofty ambition or goal for your business, and then it comes crashing down and the market comes and crashes, and your business crashes with it.

Or maybe you have some nice expectations, and you’re thinking very positive about your relationship. Then your relationship ends up in a divorce. That could happen. I’m not saying you can necessarily prevent that in all situations. The idea here is that if you’re a positive thinker, you remain positive and you’re not attached to it.

True Positive Attitude

If you’re a realist or a pessimist, then what you’re doing is like “OK, if I’m thinking positive, then I actually need it to pan out. I need it to be positive all the time.” Of course, that’s not going to work. That’s a neurotic way of doing positive thinking. True positive thinking is like being cool and chill, and it’s like “You know what? If it happens, good. If it doesn’t happen, still good. Heads — I win. Tails — I win.”

That’s what a true positive attitude is about. I’m going to wrap it up here. This is what cultivating a positive attitude means. It’s really about acceptance. You have to accept. What do you have to accept? Once, you have to accept the present moment, as it is, completely inevitable. Number two, you have to accept the worry is completely useless and of no value to you.

Number three, you have to accept that cheerfulness is the best strategy to go through life with. You have to try to live up to that. I know it’s hard. This doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s going to be very hard.

If you’re like me, then you see the long term potential here. How awesome would it be to develop yourself, internally, so that you could have a true positive attitude about life? So that no matter what happens to you, you can remain cheerful. So that you’re not worrying and you’re not feeling like you have to worry.

You know that the worry’s not helping you. You’re in the present moment, and you accept the moment as it is. If you could achieve all those things, you’ve basically accomplished nirvana. You’ve got heaven on earth. Nothing can hurt you, you’re untouchable.

This is a very powerful goal to set for yourself, to cultivate this attitude over the months and years, as you’re growing yourself and you’re doing other stuff, try to move your way, inch your way up towards having a true positive attitude about life.

Wrap Up

This is Leo, I’m signing off. Go ahead and post me your comments down below. I’d love to hear what you think. Please like this if you like this video, click the like button so it gets spread around. Also share it. Share it with a friend on Facebook or somewhere else.

Come check out Actualized.org. Sign up to my newsletter. If you like this video, then all my videos are very similar. I’m talking about the psychology of life. How do you master your life? How do you master your mindsets? How do you master your self, so that you can go out there and put into place all the external niceties of life — good relationship, good career, good business, good money, good health.

You can do all that stuff. Ultimately, it’s about how to master yourself from within and grow yourself. To me, that’s the greatest joy in life, self-actualization, self-growth, self-improvement. I’m delivering on a weekly basis — tips, strategies, techniques, all the stuff I’m actively researching every day for myself, I bring that stuff to you.

I’m publishing it on my newsletter for free, so weekly, you get free updates, new articles, videos, other goodies I have planned for you. Go ahead and sign up, and I’m going to keep you on track. Especially with this positive attitude stuff. This is something you’re going to have to baby-step your way up towards.

You’re not going to get there just in one leap, with one video. If you chip away at it over time, and you grow yourself, and you commit to this process of constant self-growth, then you will get there. That can be a very powerful thing. That is what it really means to have an extraordinary life. Go ahead and sign up.

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Angella says:

I have been working on positive attitude. Thanks for your insight.

Dalo says:

Worry is useless ! That’s nice one

Mason says:

Really enjoyed your video! It was the bomb diggety!!

Kristin Reichborn Kjennerud says:

Staying positive is all good and well and would probably be helpful in most situations. But there are situations where I wouldn’t advice people to stay positive. To give an example. In Mexico, last month, 43 students were killed by the mafia. Local government in Mexico is controlled by the Mafia. Thus the police arrested the students for protesting against the Mafia – and delivered them to the mafia.

If I was the mother of one of these students I wouldn’t want to stay positive. I would prefer to hunt down the responsible and hold them to account. Sometimes structures are unjust and you need to do something about it. Staying positive would not help. Did you read Tomas Pikkety (capital of the 21st century) or Bordieu (the distinction)? French literature.

Kim says:

Excessive worrying is one of the reasons I decided to make a change. No one needed to worry, because I did it all for them. Everyone else’s problems became my sleepless night, my what’s going to happen to him, her? My problem to solve and I couldn’t; so all I did was not solve everyone else’s problems and worry myself sick. “Did” as in past tense, no longer. It does take hard work, it does take dedication and time, but being positive is key in any situation. The situation is what it is; its what action are you going to “do” next that matters. Worry? Won’t solve it. I have an extensive worry resume…

AND thank you Leo for another fantastic video!

Florence says:

I see what you’re saying, and I agree with a lot of it, but there are certain things were positivity seems impossible. A colleague of mine lost her 29 year old son two weeks before his wedding from a heart attack. She is absolutely devastated, as is his fiance who saw him die and tried to perform CPR on him on the street. How can someone possibly be cheerful after something like that? I think as humans we are supposed to have moments of grief and sorrow. It would defy so much of our nature and existence to always be positive in times of trauma, otherwise why else would we have such a range of emotions programmed within us? So I see where you’re coming from, but sometimes I find your ideas a little simplistic and exclusive to those who don’t experience genuine trauma (like a mother losing her son).

Joe says:

Leo If my son dies I will be sad. I will not be joyful ! I need to Grieve my loss so I can return to being joyful.

Ayshea says:

Thanks Leo, great video x

Dana says:

Worry or pessimism looks like a strategy not to experience surprising bad results. It looks like an unexpected terrible outcome, is way more painful than the expected terrible outcome. Also some thought exist in some people that being drunk with happiness is punished by the rules of the world.

Leo Gura says:

Yes, well… all those are limiting beliefs which need to be eradicated. They’re souring your life and making you under-perform. Happiness is the best place to create results from.

Marjorie says:

Hi, Do you foresee writing a book about being self actualized. I enjoy the videos, i would always enjoy hearing about all the glory of uplifting the human spirituality. But i never want to see you leave, without having had a book written by you. History is known to take its course, people leave and new ones arrive. But you! People want you, people love to have you around always. if one day you decide to leave us, example, (not do any more videos), will you leave your mark in writing. And let us always have a reference as to the wonderful and amazing ways human beings can become fulfilled without any effort through being self actualized.

I like you as my role model, a true gift you came into my life. Thank you

Natalya says:

I work for a large result-driven corporation, where I constantly have to push myself to deliver good to high quality work. If you’re in a chill/relaxed state, it’s hard to go an extra mile to achieve what’s expected from me at work. If you’re supposed to be detached from the outcome, how can you push yourself to do a great job?

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