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The Attitude Accelerator by Jeff Keller

"How can I build a more positive attitude and maintain it?" That's a question I'm constantly asked. My typical answer is this: you get a positive outlook by disciplining your mind through repetition. You read positive material every day. You listen to uplifting audio programs. You hang around people who are positive. You use positive language.

But there's one more technique you can use to get a tremendous boost in your attitude - I call it the "Attitude Accelerator." What is this magical formula?


By passion, I mean an activity that when you do it or even speak about it, you get excited. You come alive. Your enthusiasm bubbles over.

Some people are fortunate enough to be in a career where they pursue their passion each and every day. These are the people who love going to work. Let's face it. If you hate what you're doing all day, it's tough to have a positive attitude.

For the purpose of this article, I'm concentrating on areas where you take an active role. For example, you could be passionate about watching sports as a spectator, but that's not what I'm getting at. I'm asking you to identify opportunities where you can participate. It doesn't have to be something where you work up a sweat.

You could collect stamps or coins or comic books. You could study art history and visit museums. You could write a book. Only you know what gets your juices flowing.

I know what some of you are thinking. You're saying to yourself, "I know what my passion is, but it would be unrealistic for me to pursue it right now. I have a mortgage to pay. I have to help support my family. It's just not possible for me to quit my job and do what I love."

Rest assured, I'm NOT suggesting that you act irresponsibly. You don't have to quit your job to pursue your passion. Lots of people use this as an excuse. The truth is, you can treat your passion as a hobby at the outset. That's what I did. I loved motivational materials so much that I started to think about how I could share this information with others. All I knew was that I was passionate about this material and wanted to do something with it.

I was still a practicing attorney at the time. I was also someone who never took risks, who always played it safe. I certainly didn't see how I could work this into my life. Then I got an adult education catalog in the mail at home, describing night courses being given at the local high school.

In the back of the catalog, there was a page that said, "Are you interested in teaching a course? If so, let us know your area of expertise and send us an outline." I submitted an outline, and much to my surprise, I got a call that the outline was approved and my class would start in a few months.

Since the course was at night, I was able to teach after working my regular day job as an attorney. It was one of the best decisions I ever made and it opened up a whole new world for me. I'm not telling you this story to pat myself on the back. The point here is this: you can keep working at your regular job and still follow your passion. I actually treated my passion as a hobby for five years while phasing out my legal career.

Let me share another example. David Baldacci was a lawyer with a wife and two children. Yet he had a passion to be a writer. Between 10pm and 2am every night, he worked on his writing. He had fun doing this - it wasn't a chore. He did this for 10 straight years and completed some short stories and screen plays.

His sales during this period: ZERO. Then, in 1996, he received millions of dollars for the literary and movie rights to his thriller Absolute Power. Clint Eastwood starred in the movie. Baldacci has gone on to write many other best-selling novels. By following his passion and keeping a great attitude, his efforts paid off, big-time.

I'm guessing most of you have a passion you're not following right now. Maybe you want to be a writer. Maybe you'd like to sing, perform in a band, or do stand-up comedy. Perhaps you have talent working with your hands or you're a great cook with some unique recipes. You just know that when you think about, speak about or actually do this activity, you feel passionately alive. Time seems to pass quickly. You're completely absorbed and in the moment.

I think every person comes to this earth with special talents to express. You have talents that you bring to the table and you express that talent in a way that nobody else does. You feel positive, fulfilled and happy when you express the talent and you feel like "something is missing" when you refuse to engage in that activity and keep ignoring it.

Nature does not give you the desire to do something that you don't have the ability to do. You have the desire to pursue this passion because it is something you were meant to develop - and more often than not, when you develop this talent and express it, you're going to make a positive contribution to the lives of others as well.

Following my passion led to a career change. But that isn't the case with everyone. You can have lots of fun and enjoyment pursuing your passion while remaining in your current line of work. In fact, you'll find that your enthusiasm carries over to your full-time job.

That's why I keep saying that you don't have to quit your job. Put that excuse to bed. Find some way to do what you love. Take the time you've been watching TV or reading the negative articles in the newspaper and re-allocate it to pursuing your passion.

By the way, just because you're passionate about doing something doesn't mean you'll be able to do it well right away. In most instances, you have to develop the talent, and be willing to face your fears.

I had a passion for communicating motivational ideas, but at the beginning I had no experience in public speaking. I had to develop that talent over a period of years. I also had to learn to improve my writing skills. The same is true with you. Here again, don't use the excuse that you're not good enough to pursue your particular passion. If you love to sing, but you think you're not good enough, take singing lessons. Sing badly at the beginning, but SING!

When you follow your passion, you'll be much more positive and excited about your life. That will transfer over into other activities as well. And you'll be amazed at how opportunities open up for you. I'm not saying your passion is guaranteed to make you a lot of money. It may, but then again it may not.

In any case, don't have money as your primary focus. You'll be a happier, more fulfilled person when you follow your passion. And, take it from me, it's a decision you will never regret, and it will do wonders for your attitude.

-- Jeff Keller
(c) Attitude is Everything, Inc.

About the Author
Jeff Keller is the President of Attitude is Everything, Inc. For more than 17 years, Jeff has delivered presentations on attitude and motivation to businesses, groups and trade associations throughout the United States and abroad. Jeff is also the author of the highly acclaimed book, Attitude is Everything. For more information, go to:

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