It is not world we live in that determines our level of pain and suffering. Rather, it is our perception of this world and our attitude towards difficulties that may impact the level of our gratitude and happiness. I often find that my perception of same situations quite differed from my friends; some of them chose to complain when I tried my best to see opportunities when facing obstacles. I once asked a friend why they cannot appreciate the world we live in, and her answer was very insightful, she said, “Because not everyone lives in your world.”  

On the one hand, I feel fortunate for all my blessings and opportunities, but on the other, I also think that people sometimes inhabit the world they create for themselves. For many, that world may be filled with negativity. I then started looking at my own life and realized that even though I am content most of the time, I also fall victim to habits that have a negative influence on my life.  

Below, I am including a list of habits I consciously try and avoid in my everyday life in order to better my attitude.

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  1. You live in fear of others 

This habit has two sides to it. On the one hand, we may live to please others, and on the other hand, we also live in fear of criticism. Both of them will make you unhappy in the long run. If you live to please others, their criticism will take a heavy toll on you, even if you did your best. We should also not fear to receive negative feedback. It is not always bad to hear what you did wrong, because this is how we improve. However, if you know that you have delivered excellence, then receiving harsh words from others should not diminish our well being. The buck stops with you. And if you are satisfied with what you have achieved, that should be enough.  

2. We look to the past for the wrong reasons 

It is not always wrong to reflect on our failures, but only if we do so with a strong, positive mindset to improve the next time around. However, often times we look back and see obstacles to attempting new challenges in the future for fear of failing again. There is joy and pain in the past for every one of us, but the future can be exciting. No matter what has happened before, it does not prevent us from striving to achieve something extraordinarily special today.

3. You give negative emotions a foothold 

There are many negative emotions that cannot contribute anything constructive towards our lives, whether it is someone you cannot forgive, or someone who makes you extremely jealous, or any other obsession that lives rent-free in our heads. These negative emotions can cause all kinds of bad effects such as sleeplessness, stress, and panic, to name a few. I know that there is no magic wand we can wave to just get over it, but we can try to banish it from our thoughts until our emotions are a bit more manageable.

This is why, whenever I feel negative thoughts getting the upper hand, I visualize a tranquil setting such as a beach or a sunset, and then name the next important task on my list. I know it is not always healthy to ignore emotions forever, but I have found that if I don’t let them rule my life, I can always go back to them with a more positive attitude and hopefully a bit more perspective.  

By breaking out of the cycle of constant fear of failure and training ourselves to focus on the opportunities, we can develop an ability to change our attitude. It is not the circumstances that may change, but it is our ability to react to them in a positive light that will allow us to grow. Overtime, our ability to indetify possibilities to better our future will improve, and with more positive experiences, our courage to explore those venues will lead us to a more fulfilling future.