My mother hung a magnet on our refrigerator when I was ten years old that read, “Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.” I hated that magnet as a kid. I later learned that it was a Charles Swindoll quote. I also learned to love the quote – because I learned to love the impact it has had on my life.

Most people have a crappy attitude. There’s negativity everywhere and there’s a reason to be bummed out pretty much all of the time. To make matters worse, attitude is contagious. Negative attitude, for that matter, is perhaps more contagious that positive attitude. It’s why one negative coworker can ruin the mood of the entire team the minute they walk in the door. Positive attitude has to be on purpose. It’s a state of mind and it’s a commitment to staying positive despite and in spite of all the crap (and the crappy people) that happens to you.

You may think that your attitude is a result of things that happen to you. You may think that your attitude is a result of the people that you associate with or the way they treat you. You’d be thinking wrong.

Attitude is what you do with what happens to you. It’s how you react. It’s how you respond. Having the right attitude allows you to win in the face of great adversity. After all, “success is getting up one more time than you’ve been knocked down” – and it’s you attitude that determines whether you’ve got the strength to get back up.

Now, keep in mind – your thoughts are just the beginning. It’s your actions that define your performance. But it’s your thoughts and your attitude that lead to your actions. Get your attitude right and then get to work!

Without a positive attitude, ability guarantees nothing. It’s the classic chicken and egg problem. Which comes first? Ability or attitude? What’s more important? The answer is that they are both important and both necessary. Attitude plus ability results in achievement. And the stronger your positive attitude becomes, the stronger your desire to hone your abilities. The better you become, the better your attitude. And so it continues until one day, your beliefs and your ability to succeed are impenetrable. Attitude is the secret ingredient in the formula for success.

Attitude is NOT everything. It is your ability to stay committed to a positive attitude through everything that makes the difference between winning and losing.

OK, so how do you get a positive attitude? You decide to commit to having one. Positive attitude is a choice. It’s a commitment. And, it’s a gift that you give to yourself. You have to wake up in the morning and decide to make the day your best ever. You have to tell yourself that no matter what happens, you’re going to keep on trucking.

Before you go to work, you have to work on yourself. Start by doing something that makes you happy or that makes you think or that makes you feel fulfilled. Wake up in the morning and exercise. Wake up in the morning and turn on your favorite music. Wake up in the morning and read. Yes, read. I have found more inspiration, more direction, and more attitude help in books than anywhere else.

These are the books that influenced my thinking, my actions, and my success. Get to a bookstore (or Amazon) and buy a copy for yourself:

Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude – Jeffrey Gitomer

Life is Tremendous – Charlie Tremendous Jones

Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill

Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude – Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone

The Power of Positive Thinking – Norman Vincent Peale

Acres of Diamonds – Russell Conwell

You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish when you’re in positive mode. Try reading a few pages out of one of the books each morning before you go to work and watch your attitude – and your business – improve before you know it.