Staying positive

However gloomy you feel or bad your day, it always helps to look on the bright side of life, writes Jeff Hasenfratz

When I was in the army, a sergeant once told me that if I ate a lizard (yep, a lizard) first thing in the morning, my day could only get better. Hmm... was that with or without sauce? Trying to stay positive in the midst of a bad-news economy and unforeseen blips such as the Sobig virus may be a challenge, but it doesn't have to be impossible. Here are my 10 tips for staying positive:

1. Call someone who always makes you smile
Often, that's all it takes to lift your spirits.

2. Remember, it's OK to be partially happy
Like the concept? Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk who has written about 50 million books (OK, about 70 plus), suggests that, while everyone gets into a trough now and then, there are usually some things we can still be happy about.

3. Eat a bit of your favourite food
Need I say more?

4. Hang out (more) with upbeat people
There's nothing like the energy of a group of optimists! Check out the "Networking Nights" put on by Springboard Resources.

5. Take a short course
Pick something you've always wanted to know more about. Be fearless! Get a different perspective! No time or money to take a course? Stand up on a table and look around you, just like Robin Williams in the film Dead Poets' Society.

6. Say "yes" more often
If you're a parent, as I am, you'll know that it's often a lot easier to say "no" than "yes" to your children's requests. This carries over into life in general. Surprise (and please) yourself and others more by looking for opportunities to say yes.

7. Choose to be positive
Not to get spiritual on you but, as the Buddha said, it's a mind game. I started trying this with my kids about a year ago (you know, telling myself that I would not get irritated with, well, whatever). I've not yet reached enlightenment, but this choosing stuff makes sense.

8. Give some joy
You didn't think you would be able to escape the Golden Rule, did you? First give a little joy (start with a smile!); you'll be sure to get some back.

9. Volunteer
Come on, admit it, there's someone in the world in a worse situation than you. Find a cause that you care about and give a few hours of your time. You'll feel great, meet some interesting people and do a bit of good.

10. Take a walk in a quiet place
It gets the blood moving and relaxes your mind. Try one of the country parks or Hong Kong Park in the early morning.

JEFF HASENFRATZ is managing director of MINDSIGHT, a career management services consultancy offering talent retention, career and executive coaching and outplacement services in Asia. He is a qualified executive coach and a Mandarin-speaker.

Taken from Career Times 26 September 2003
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