By Rich Lindblom, YSN

Earlier this week I shared a column espousing the amazing power of positivity.  But there is an even more powerful force out there, and that is negativity. 

If you are walking around with a negative attitude, you need to change it and change it fast. As Oscar-winning actress Shirley MacLaine has said, Dwelling on the negative simply contributes to its power.” Stop enabling that negativity because, much like a wildfire, if left unchecked it will spread throughout every aspect of your life and destroy everything in its path. 

You all know the old chicken or egg conundrum; well, I think it’s kind of the same with negativity and stress.  Does stress cause negativity or does negativity cause stress?  Honestly, it doesn’t really matter. The fact is that stress causes all kinds of health issues, so you need to eliminate as much of it from your life as you can. And an effective way of doing that is to think positively. Become a glass-half-full kind of person instead of the glass-half-empty kind.

If you walk around your store all day long with a snarl on your face and slumping shoulders, everyone including your employees and customers pick up on that.  Your body language speaks volumes about you and your attitude.  As I noted in a YSN column a while back, your customers form an impression not just from what you say, but how you say it.  Put yourself in a customer’s shoes — no one wants to buy from a crabby salesperson. 

See: I Can Hear Your Smile

The same is true with your employees; no one wants to work for a crabby boss. Think about it: How can you possibly motivate your employees to a higher level of performance if you can’t even motivate yourself to try and be happy?  Another way of looking at is, if you do not believe in yourself, how can you expect your employees to believe in you?

There’s a bit of truth to the adage, “You can do anything you put your mind to.” But the truth I’m talking about is the opposite proposition, that once you decide you can’t do something you never will be able to, because that wildfire of negativity will quickly kill the positive vision that is crucial to all successful endeavors.  It really is a self-fulfilling prophecy because the moment you stop believing that you can accomplish something you will prove yourself correct, as45 nothing — and I do mean nothing — will kill a dream faster than negativity. 

Legendary Hall of Fame football coach Vince Lombardi hit the nail on the head when he said, “We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible.”

Falling back on one more football reference, 45 years later I can still remember something my freshman coach told the team on the very first day of practice.  He said, “Winners never quit, and quitters never win.”  And that simple statement stuck with me the rest of my life because the way I see it, people with a positive attitude are far more likely to be the winners of the world, whereas people with a negative attitude are very likely to be the quitters of the world.  And that simple but profound truism extends far beyond football and applies to every aspect of our lives. 

The bottom line is that negative thinking is incredibly powerful and will sabotage your best efforts if you let it. So the real question is … are you a winner or a quitter?

I have three goals in mind with my columns: To motivate, educate and entertain.  If I have achieved at least one of those, then I’ve done my job. Don’t be shy about letting me know if you agree. Write me at egvrich@gmail.com