Many scholars and researchers have studied the benefits of having a positive attitude.  Athletes focus on winning as well as skill development.  Optimism leads to more creative thinking and the energy to accomplish goals.  A positive attitude reduces stress and leads to better health according to the Mayo Clinic.  Operating a business successfully requires energy, health and creativity as well as many other skills and resources so a positive attitude is an asset that can benefit any business.

“A person with positive mental attitude aims for high goals and constantly strives to achieve them.” – Napoleon

The American Heritage Dictionary defines attitude as “A state of mind or feeling with regard to some matter; disposition.”  Attitude is not what happens to you but how you choose to interpret what happens to you.  Therefore, a positive or negative attitude is a choice you make.  How you view the world can be changed, so if you do not currently have a positive attitude, there are steps you can take to improve your outlook.

One of the most powerful tools for changing your attitude is monitoring your self-talk.  Each of us has thousands of thoughts that go through our minds each day.  Are your thoughts primarily positive or negative?  Do you tell yourself you can accomplish something or it’s impossible?  Monitoring how you talk to yourself and stopping the negative thoughts can help you change your attitude.  When you wake up in the morning practice thinking about the good things you will be doing during the day, the enjoyment you will have and the accomplishments you will create.

Monitor your self-talk to stop negative thoughts and change your attitude

Experts in the art of positive thinking recommend reading positive materials to focus more on the good than the bad that happens.  Napoleon Hill, an early proponent of positive thinking said, “A person with positive mental attitude aims for high goals and constantly strives to achieve them.”

Having a positive attitude is not about ignoring bad things; it’s about reframing your reaction to what you perceive as “bad”.  When the economy shifts and sales go down, that can be viewed as a bad business environment.  A person with a negative attitude might complain and whine about the state of the economy but do nothing to change the circumstances.  A person with a positive attitude is more likely to look for new opportunities created in spite of the change in the economic climate.

Have a question about your small business? You can reach Arlene at or leave it in the comments here!

Down to Business is a weekly small business advice column featured in The World Newspaper, originally published online by the Oregon Small Business Development Center Network, and republished here with permission. 

Arlene SotoArlene Soto

Arlene M. Soto is the director of the Small Business Development Center at Tillamook Bay Community College. She came to Oregon in July 2007 from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center Network, where she managed the Region 4 office in Cheyenne for almost 13 years.