Positive attitude is more of a psychological construct; it defines our perception, value system and how we look at the world & life. We may be repository of knowledge, highly skilled but might not be successful or happy, even if we are prosperous in materialistic terms, if we do not have proper attitude. Hence it is often stated that to be successful in any endeavour of life, one needs to have the right attitude.
It is in this context that the concept of positive attitude becomes crucial. Positive attitude in this context means a way of thinking that always sees the brighter aspects of life in any situation and in response to any stimulus. The genesis lies in the belief system an individual has about himself / herself as well as others. A positive belief system gives rise to positive attitude and this often leads to actions that are affirmatory. The reveres is also true meaning thereby a negative belief system leads to negative attitude and adverse actions.
Many success stories of achievers in the history are result of this twin phenomenon of positive belief and positive attitude. These individuals have always believed in themselves and have had the positive attitude to carry on and finally success was theirs. The world changing inventions of light bulb, phonograph, motion picture camera and other machines by Thomas Edison came after more than 1000 failures. He succeeded because of positive attitude preceded by positive belief.
The story of success of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) founded by Colonel Harland Sanders from roadside restaurant during great depression is another example of positive attitude. Near home, the success story of Sudha Chandran as a dancer despite physical disability is an example of “never losing hope” and a case emanating from positive attitude.
And there are several other stories in history of all countries that show the strength of positive attitude.
It is this “never losing hope” thinking embedded in positive attitude that helps an individual to go on and strive for success.
Applicability to Elders:
This attitude of positivity is extremely important for an elderly. As physical strength and mental agility decline with age, they need to develop positive attitude to wither away the storms and lead a happy and contented life. Since a person with a positive attitude choses to remain optimistic in the face of an adverse stimulus, it has strong affirmative impact on his / her physique / mind. Some of the effects could be:
- Less anxious / angry
- More composed
- Slighter worries
- Higher physical energy
- Stable mind and improved logical thinking
- Stronger cognitive ability
Essentially this means a person with a positive attitude is more likely to have a better physical as well as mental strength. Life expectancy could also be more. Most importantly such a person is expected to have better inter-personal relationship and lead a happy life.
Ways One can Develop Positive Attitude in Elderly:
Often the question is asked if it is possible to develop positive attitude particularly at elderly age. While difficult to do so at an advanced age, one can definitely try to inculcate some of the ways to imbibe attitude of positivity. First, thoughts that come to our mind are random and many of them are negative. A person should try to shun or deflect the negative thoughts. This is the affirmative way to battling negativity which will automatically lead to positive thoughts. Second, whenever a situation / problem arises by way of stimulus, an elderly person should try to analyse the same with an open mind without being intuitive.
A rational analysis of the problem with a brighter solution in mind might allow the person to take decision with a positive attitude. If this is done on a consistent basis for all stimuli, there is a possibility of developing a positive attitude in the long-term. Third, the elderly should keep away from friends / acquaintances who are always with negative ideas / thoughts and should be in company with people who are known to have positive attitude.
It is often said that an individual is known by types of friends he or she has. Keeping in company with right people might help to develop right / positive attitude. Fourth, keeping a healthy body / mind is an essential prerequisite for a good attitude. Therefore, regular exercise, yoga / meditation and a good diet will help to keep the body / mind agile and thereby, strong to develop a positive attitude. Lastly, the mental resolve is extremely important. Consciously every day we should get up and resolve to look at issues / problems of the day with positive outlook and this type of tenacity might help us to develop a positive attitude.
To lead a happy life, it is extremely important to have a positive attitude. Otherwise, we will go on looking at negative sides of everything and cursing our lives. Being positive is at the core of happiness and leading a blissful life. For elders it will also help in happy aging.
Dr A K Sen Gupta is the Co-Founder and Chief Trustee of My Retired Life Foundation (MRLF). This article has been published in Free Press Journal (FPJ) on 30th April 2022, where he is a regular contributor. Dr Sen Gupta was the Director of S.P. Jain Institute of Management & Research, Mumbai, and Director & Mentor at SIES College of Management Studies, Navi Mumbai. He was a World Bank Consultant and instrumental in setting up the National Banking College in Ghana, Africa, and a Professor at the National Institute of Bank Management, Pune.