No. 27

Have you ever wondered why some people have a negative, pessimistic attitude about most things while others are generally positive and up-beat? Based on many years of work in the field of human resources, it's my personal belief that the answer to this dilemma, while very simple, is not understood by the majority of people. Since these individuals don't really understand it, they don't know how to go about changing a negative attitude to a positive attitude, and in the process, living a happier, more productive and successful life.
=The reason one person is positive and up-beat while another is negative and pessimistic, is because our overall attitude and our outlook on life is a reflection of our self-image. In other words, what's "taking place" on the inside shows up on the outside. Because this discovery was made in the past 50 years, many people did not learn about it in school or later in life, as they moved out into the world.
Almost by chance, a plastic surgeon, Dr. Maxwell Maltz, discovered the concept of self-image and later wrote about it in his book, titled Psychocybernetics, which has sold in excess of fifteen million copies. As Dr. Maltz worked with his patients to change their physical appearances with the aid of plastic surgery, he began to notice a definite, marked change in their attitude and their willingness to tackle jobs and assume risks that would have been considered impossible before.
Further research revealed that an outward physical change was also accompanied by an inner emotional change. Thus the conclusion was reached: the self-image is the mental picture we hold of ourselves and this mental picture relates to both the "outer" and "inner" person and it literally controls our lives. In fact the discovery of the self-image has been called the most important psychological discovery of the twentieth century. When an individual holds a positive picture of himself, he performs better than when he holds a negative picture. In a very real sense, a ‘winner’ feeds on his or her success.
The real meat of the coconut can be found in this statement: The human nervous system cannot distinguish between actual true life experiences from those imagined in vivid detail in the mind. In other words, we must see ourselves as successful and begin to act this way before it will ever come to pass. There is however, a real pitfall that we must take steps to avoid. In recent years many schools have developed courses to help students develop a healthy self-image. While the intent is great, many times the methods have been found wanting. It takes more than telling a student or any human being that he or she is a good person with real value because a healthy self-image is not based merely on words but on solid achievement. Our subconscious mind can tell the difference between praise and performance. To say it another way, nothing truly worthwhile is ever easy.
Since our rewards in life are determined by the quality and quantity of service we provide to others, it's important to understand that our value to society is determined by what we make of ourselves. We can change our life for the better by changing our self-image, which is simply the way we see ourselves, both physically and emotionally, that is to say, from both the outside and the inside. It also becomes easier to help other people when we understand the reasons behind their negative attitudes. It’s a wonderful thing to help a person change his or her self-image and begin to see the winner God created them to be. In reality, the more we help others, the more we help ourselves. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)

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