I’ve had a rough start to 2019. On December 27, 2018, I noticed that my left foot was swollen. I went to see my primary care doc. He sent me to the ER. They admitted me. The original diagnosis was cellulitis. However, it turned out that the infection was deep in my foot. I had three surgeries to correct the problem. I was in the hospital for 14 days and went home hooked up to a wound vac. It took until mid-February for me to get unhooked from the wound vac and into a walking boot. It wasn’t fun.
During the whole ordeal, many of my friends called and visited. Most of them remarked on the fact that I seemed remarkably positive throughout. I was. I saw no reason not to be. I was following the advice in Tweet 37 in my book, Success Tweets. “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it. Don’t dwell on the negative, use it as a springboard to action and creativity.”
Successful people focus on the positive and put the negative out of their minds. They make it a habit. Positive habits like this are an important key to career success. Habits are like muscles— the more you use them, the stronger they get. Choosing not to dwell on problems, setbacks, and the negative things that are part of life is one the best positive habits I know.
My health problem was pretty stressful. To get through it, I used an important positive habit—proactively managing my stress.
When I was a kid, there was a popular song that went like this:
You’ve got to ac – cen – tu – ate the positive, and e – lim – in – ate the negative. And Evelyn Brooks writes about stress management. She suggests you get S.M.A.R.T. about managing stress:
- S Smash the negative.
- M Maximize the positive.
- A Act.
- R Relax.
- T Target your next action.
Sounds a lot like the advice in the song. My take—it doesn’t matter if you “accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative” or “smash the negative and maximize the positive,” you’ll be on your way to managing your stress and becoming a life and career success.
Stuff happens as you go through life, positive stuff, negative stuff, happy stuff, sad stuff, frustrating stuff. The important thing is not what happens, but how you react to it. Smash those negative thoughts; replace them with positive ones. Don’t dwell on the negative.