The other day I said something negative to someone.
Not a big deal. I was just expressing my disappointment in their less than friendly service. What made me do that? Was it based on my feelings at that moment or did other thoughts and circumstances cause my response?
Clearly, it was a choice. A spur-of-the-moment choice to be sure, but a choice, nevertheless.
So I started thinking: If I have a choice between negative and positive, why wouldn’t I pick positive every time? And why wouldn’t you?
A pretty complex issue
As I thought about it more, I realized it’s a pretty complex issue. I also realized that the words I speak are the last item in my thought process (actually my “response process”) before I respond to what has been said or done to me.
You may simply think of it as a verbal exchange. But if you do, you have no chance of understanding what positive attitude, based on positive thought, is really about.
SECRET: It’s not the positive or negative words. It’s everything behind them, everything that caused them, and every subconscious action that created them.
Think about the way you formulate your words and phrases. Do they have a pattern? Are they always positive, always negative, or a mixed bag? My guess is a mixed bag. If you are striving for a positive attitude, the mix should weigh toward the positive — everyday. And, the goal should be to eliminate the negative as often as possible.
Easy on the surface, but much more thought provoking as you get into the detail.
As I thought about “why words happen,” I began to jot down the circumstantial and environmental influences that generate the spoken word.
Now it gets complicated. BUT, if you can get this, you can leapfrog to a positive attitude simply by understanding what it takes to create the “right words.”
Making positive choices
Here are the elements that influence and create what you say — positive or negative. Your job is to consider these one by one and to make positive verbal choices.
1. Surroundings: where you live or work; how the environment affects your thoughts.
2. Relationships: associations that influence you and your thinking.
3. Beliefs: what you know to be true.
4. Experiences: similar things that happened in the past.
5. Situations: influential things happening to you.
6. Feelings: your feelings about the situation.
7. Circumstances: the circumstances right now.
8. Status at the moment: your present state of mind.
9. Thoughts: your immediate thoughts.
9.5 Words: what you say as a result of ALL of the above.
Up until now, I’m sure you never gave much thought to what causes you to “say what you say.”
It’s not the other guy’s attitude; it’s not the other guy’s words or response — it’s a combination of your past experiences, your present situation and your mental choices.
And while that may sound heavy, even abstract, it’s the basis of understanding and the basis for a (your) positive attitude. IF you are able to harness each of the 9.5 elements, you can convert your thoughts from negative to positive — BEFORE you say one word.
I’ll agree that this topic is a bit off the radar, but you say what you say because you don’t give consideration or credence to how your environmental and sociological circumstances actually impact your word choices.
The power in this is that your word choices determine how others perceive you (nice person, mean person, blah person, yada yada.)
Beginning the process
OK, so now what? You have the information, but you’ll probably be the same old person tomorrow as you are today — UNLESS you begin the process of self-evaluation through self-awareness.
Here’s what to do every time you speak negative words: Stop, take a moment, and write down what caused your negative thoughts.
For example, you take your car to the dealer for a warranty repair. The service manager informs you that your warranty has expired. He also tells you that if you had bought the extended warranty, you would have been covered, but now you will have to pay double. This infuriates you, and you respond in a negative manner.
Now, did the service manager cause the negative response? Or did your thoughts on the way over to the dealership about how much problem the car has been, or other incidents of lousy service, or perhaps you need a car by a certain time to take your spouse shopping, influence your negative response?
Here’s another secret: This is not an easy process — and not many people have positive attitudes. (Could there be a correlation between those two statements?) Here’s my promise: If you commit 90 days to discover where your words come from, you’ll have the best opportunity to spend your next 9,000 days in the positive zone.
Wishing you a good today, and a better day tomorrow.
GitBit: Want some more attitude attributes? Go to www.gitomer.com and enter ATTITUDE ATTRIBUTES in the GitBit box.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of “The Sales Bible,” and “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless,” is president of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer. He gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail