About 2 years ago I realized the toll that working retail was taking on me. Without noticing I had become much more bitter, suspicious, negative, negative and negative. Oh, did I mention negative? I didn’t like going anywhere except home after work and made it my mission in life to avoid other retail stores at all costs. If you have worked retail you understand me, if not, go to Amazon and buy “Retail Hell” by Freeman Hall and it will provide perspective. Funny side note is I discovered the book Retail Hell while on vacation on Jost van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands over Christmas in 2010. Unfortunately, I came down with a stomach virus and was confined to the villa for two full days. My only entertainment was a television that received two stations and that book. So as I laid alone in my villa shivering out a low fever, that book was my lone companion!
Anyway, working retail can be a challenging situation especially if you work in a store that is located in a more affluent area. My experience was that customers treated you like a second class citizen, that is if they noticed you at all. The grind of being on my feet for 40 hours per week was brutal and when combined with corporate performance pressure and demanding customers…well, you get the picture. Then under girding all of those issues were the difficulties of living with MS. Needless to say my attitude was poor and I had to change. I did not like the person that I had become and the thought crossed my mind that if I realized my attitude was bad, then how bad was it in actuality? Similar to when the drunk realizes he’s drunk, that means he’s super drunk!! The question was how to change? How would I change my mindset to be more positive?
In order to change any habit you must change either the motivation behind the habit or the routine that supports it. Insert definition of insanity here! If you continue the same action expecting a different result…you must change your actions in order to get different results! First, I left my job in retail! Then, over time I implemented brand new actions and thoughts in my life. I had to start thinking before I opened my mouth, then say something about the glass being half full versus half empty. I constantly reminded myself about the positives of humanity. I instilled in my thinking that the majority of people are not out to screw me or with me. I began a hobby which allowed me decompression time and joy. I found things to do in life that made me happy. I began exercising and eating healthier and lost some weight. And all of these things I still focus on today. I still have negative tendencies, but I am getting better at recognizing them before they materialize.
The hardest and most important change was my negative talk. When you feel negative on the inside it will usually manifest itself as negativity coming out of your mouth. The thing that I didn’t realize about being a negative person is the people around you get tired of being around you. Listening to someone constantly complain is a complete and total drag. Sometimes life is tough enough as it is, but combine that with one or two negative people and things just get unbearable! And often times negative people find themselves alone or constantly searching for new friends or hanging with other negatives. My talk was usually about something “getting on my nerves”, complaining about work, what I didn’t like about something, how much money wasn’t in my account and so on. Negative self-talk and negative talk in general will simply perpetuate a negative attitude.
Do you have a negative attitude or tendencies? Don’t assume!! Here are a few characteristics:
-tendency to see the downside in things
-have a negative effect on others/you’re a drag
-tendency to belittle others
-negative internal self-talk
-frequent use of sarcasm
-rude to others
I am sure there are others, but these are a few that I recognized in myself after I started making an attitude change. Looking at the list still makes me a little embarrassed, but I own the way I acted then and thank my past self now for making changes. I will say the thing I enjoy the most about working to be a more positive person is noticing the good in the world. I know it is not realistic to think life is always going to be rainbows, chocolate chip cookies and puppy kisses. But it is also not realistic to think it’s always going to be cloudy with a good chance of rain and a high probability of ultimate death and destruction!!
Always know this: you control and create every aspect of your life. The more positive your attitude the more opportunities you will see in life. My new attitude has allowed me to begin things I never thought were possible. When you see the positive, you see the opportunities. When you are negative, you see the difficulties. Which do you want for yourself? Do something today that your future self will thank you for!