Isn't magic wonderful? It always has a positive outcome. For as long as I can remember I've been absolutely fascinated by magic.
As a young child, I used to buy magic books to learn magic tricks. I love the reaction you get when you perform a great magic trick! Magic enables you to seemingly perform the impossible. And, if you have ever watched a great magician, you can't help but wonder how the magic was performed. Life's the same, and I often wondered from a very young age why is it that so many people live lives of quiet desperation and unfulfilled potential, whereas a small number seem to perform their own magic and live rewarding and fulfilled lives?
Well, here’s the thing. Performing a magic trick requires skill, technique, and knowledge, and the great thing is that once you’ve mastered it, to your audience, you seemingly perform the impossible — and they call it magic. Life’s no different. With a little knowledge, skill, and technique, you can effect what appears to be “magical” change and improvement in your life.
In this article I’m going to share with you some “Magic Tips” — things that you can do to help you move from where you are to where you want to be.
I’ve often said that the world is a wonderful place, filled with opportunities and new experiences to enjoy. But sometimes, life doesn’t go the way that you want it to, and you get a bit down and demotivated when things don’t work out. It’s just human instinct. There are times when really tragic, sad, or horrible situations arise where even the most positive among us can find ourselves knocked down and even feeling a little sorry for ourselves. But even if you’re in a situation where things are really bad, you still have a choice — a choice over the attitude you can adopt to deal with the situation and overcome the challenge you’re facing.
Put simply, you have two choices. First, you can choose a negative attitude. No good can come from having a negative attitude — it’s destructive, not only to you but to the people around you. On the flip side, you can choose a positive attitude. A positive attitude is constructive, forward thinking, and empowering. Adopting a positive attitude means you feel more in control — you can change things for the better because when you’re in control, you’re more decisive, which in turn means you are far more likely to achieve the best outcome possible.
It’s only natural for your first reaction to any bad situation to be a negative one. However, the “magic” trick is to ensure you escape the state of negativity as quickly as possible.
It’s simple common sense. But while it’s simple, it’s not always so easy to adopt a positive attitude.
What you need is something that will act as a catalyst to jolt your mind into making the conscious decision to switch your negative attitude to a positive attitude — and I call this a magic attitude activator.
There are two types of magic attitude activators. The first is an attitude activator that sets you up for the day, and the second is one that you can call on whenever you need it — a “top up” if you like.
So, let’s first talk about setting yourself up for the day. It’s a great thing to start the day with a positive attitude. That goes without saying. Your attitude activator can be anything of your choosing; when you first leave the bedroom, when you take your first sip of morning coffee, when you’re brushing your teeth, or when you’re leaving the house. It can be whenever you like as long as it’s first thing in the morning before you get caught up in your day and find yourself adopting an unhelpful attitude before you know it! Get your attitude straight before you do anything and start interacting with the world!
My dear friend and colleague Ash has chosen an attitude activator — and we call it “Ash’s’ Archway.” It’s an archway that leads from our parking lot to the office. As he walks through the archway, he makes a conscious decision that this is his trigger to put a smile on his face, puff up his chest, think about all that’s great in the world — and as a result, he bounces into the office full of enthusiasm. And it’s a pleasure seeing him first thing in the morning! My recommendation is that you pick something that works for you, whatever it is — just like Ash.
As I said earlier, the attitude you adopt not only impacts you but also those around you. For me, it’s really important to be a positive a role model for my children. One of the greatest gifts you can give to your children is to help them adopt a positive “can-do” mindset — but you have to lead by example.
One of the best ways of doing this is in the morning before they leave for school — and we all know how wonderfully enthusiastic children can sometimes be about going to school!
Not so long ago, I came into the kitchen dancing; two of my children were sitting at the breakfast table feeling a little tired, and my wife Diana was cooking breakfast. So as I arrived in the kitchen, dancing and singing, I asked the children, “How are you guys?” And they just looked back at me and said, “Oh, come on Dad.” I said, “Hey, it’s going to be a really great day!” And immediately they started smiling. I ran over to them, gave them both a kiss, and made them feel like today really was going to be a great day. It really is sometimes that simple. And it felt great!
I did this despite the fact I’d had a really late night and I felt dreadful. However, I realized that although I didn’t feel great, I needed to get a handle on it. I could have gone into the kitchen bleary-eyed, a bit tired, a bit downbeat, but instead, because I made the children feel happy, I felt happier and my mood was raised — it’s so infectious. The whole day could have been very different — but I chose to adopt a positive attitude. Ask yourself, why keep a bad attitude for those that are closest to you but keep your best attitude for your colleagues at work?
So, make a choice — choose your attitude, choose your attitude activator, and then start each day feeling like a dragon slayer and a mountain mover!
Let me explain what I mean by being “dragon slayer” and “mountain mover.” Not so long ago, I was waking my 12—year-old son for school, and he said that he was feeling a little daunted about the tough day he had ahead of him. He had some tests and a day filled with work he knew would be challenging. So, I said to him, “Come on, Buddy, are you going to be a dragon slayer and a mountain mover, or are you going to be a ‘just-get-by guy’?” Intrigued, he asked me what I meant.
I explained to him that when he left the house that morning, he could do so with a mindset that he was going to do “just what he had to do” in order to get through the day. In other words he could be a “just-get-by guy” — and we all know one or two of those. Alternatively, he could approach the day as a dragon slayer and a mountain mover by adopting a positive mindset believing that he could overcome all the challenges of the day ahead. I told him to remember that over time, the dragon slayers and the mountain movers of this world tend to enjoy much greater levels of fulfillment and achievement. It’s simply a matter of choice, and for a 12-year-old boy, being a dragon slayer is pretty cool — and so his mood was immediately lifted. More importantly, it enabled him to positively face the day ahead and go to school with a spring in his step.
Now, I suspect as you’re reading this, you’re a little older than 12 and have probably said goodbye to your schooldays — but even as adults, it’s still great to be a dragon slayer and a mountain mover!
We all have our own dragons, and we all have our own mountains to move. To overcome these and achieve more, a key first step is to adopt this dragon slayer/ mountain mover mindset. And the alternative is just to get by, not fulfill your potential — and where's satisfaction in that?
So, get your own magic attitude activator, a trigger or something that happens in your morning routine that you’ll mark to serve as a reminder. Remember, you can choose anything that works for you — do so, and then approach each day as if you’re a dragon slayer and a mountain mover!
Having a daily magic attitude is a great way to set yourself up for the day — but even then life can sometimes throw us a curve ball that temporarily, at least, tests our resolve. This is where you need to use an attitude activator that you can call upon at will — a magic attitude activator that you can use when your attitude needs an upgrade or a bit of a boost.
There are two things you need to remember to upgrade your attitude at any time — context and appreciation. Let’s first look at context.
Even the calmest and most positive people can let things get to them and drag them down into a state of negativity. However, when they take a step back, they often find that in the great scheme of things, they’re actually not that important. Putting that which has affected their attitude into context means the impact is diminished or sometimes dispensed with entirely.
The second way to upgrade your attitude is to appreciate what we have and what we’ve accomplished. Your past accomplishments, your progress, your vision, your uniqueness, a review of what’s great in your life right now, all these wonderful things provide great levels of appreciation and help us to raise our games to a stellar level.
Where I know I need to set a magic attitude activator, either when a bad situation just occurred or maybe when I’m going into a meeting where I want to operate with a positively infectious attitude, my strategy is simple. I rapidly run through in my head all the great things I’ve done, all the great meetings I’ve run in the past, all the great things that are happening right now, and the great things that are going to happen in the future. I fill my mind with uplifting, positive thoughts. As I do this, my attitude is instantly boosted and upgraded. It’s simple, takes just a few seconds, and it works! It’s a great way to get yourself into an upbeat frame of mind, which makes it so much easier to have a positive attitude.
I have a great example of how choosing your attitude can make a real difference. In April 2010, I was in America to meet with some friends, conduct a series of business meetings and spend some time with my coach. Like many other people, I got stranded as a result of an Icelandic volcano erupting and air space being closed. Away from my family, I had an additional five days in Chicago.
Many people at that time were starting to get very stressed about the whole situation. But rather than complain about it, I decided to embrace the opportunity and organized a series of lunches and dinners at some of Chicago’s finest restaurants, promising myself that by the time I was able to return to the UK, I would have made some substantial progress with my businesses. Team members back in my UK business rose to the challenge, brilliantly managing the situation in my absence and demonstrating new skills, and I used the time with my friends to develop a business idea that subsequently went on to generate more than a million dollars in the following 12 months.
I eventually managed to secure a flight home five days later than planned. I arrived at the check-in desk, and the airport staff looked absolutely worn out. They asked me how I was, and I said, “Fantastic. Thanks so much. I’ve had an amazing extra five days in Chicago. I’m really pleased you’re getting me home now because it’s my wedding anniversary this weekend and I didn’t want to miss that. But I’ve had a great time.” They looked at me in shock and disbelief because for the last couple of days they’d had nothing but people complaining to them. Needless to say, they were pleasantly surprised by my reaction.
I completed my check-in, went through security, and sat in the departure lounge. A few minutes later, a lady tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Mr. Wissenbach, can we have your boarding card please?” — which of course I handed over. She said “I’ll be taking that one, sir; we’ve upgraded you to first class.” She then handed me a new boarding card. Now, would I have been upgraded if I’d chosen to be negative like almost everyone else — probably not. Or was I upgraded because of my positive attitude? Absolutely!
Not only did I have a great five days in Chicago, some great ideas, great new business, but I also enjoyed a great flight home in first class. I’d chosen to adopt a positive attitude — and as a result, I was rewarded.
Nothing but good comes from having a positive attitude. So, your “magic action for traction” is to pick a magic attitude activator that reminds you to choose a great attitude at the beginning of your day. Do this for the next 21 days, and use it to consciously start the day with a great attitude, feeling upbeat, positive, and enthusiastic. At the end of each day, be honest with yourself as to how long you managed to keep it going. If it was less than you’d have liked, make a note and try again the next day. Also make a note of how your attitude impacted your results, your relationships, and your experiences that day and you will see that a pattern emerges very quickly.
Closely linked to having a positive attitude is having a gratitude mindset. Gratitude fuels a great attitude. The two of them are so closely linked that it makes perfect sense to think about them together — a magic attitude also comes from magic gratitude.
Have you ever noticed what it’s like to be around people who are really grateful for what they have? They tend to be great people to be around, exuding warmth and happiness. They’re usually not moaning and complaining. They’re simply thoroughly pleasant company.
For me, gratitude is the foundation of attitude. There is much that we can all be grateful for. For example, your qualities, your future potential, the opportunities around you, the relationships you have, the people whose company you love, and those whom you can learn from. When you appreciate and are grateful for what you have, it enables you to achieve even greater levels of success and happiness. There’s a saying I love — “You can’t have what you want until you want what you have.” And the grounding that you get from appreciating what’s good in your life right now is so powerful. And it’s a great way to put you in a positive mindset.
Many years ago I was encouraged to undergo the process of a daily gratitude focus in which I would spend just a few minutes each morning listing five things that I’m really grateful for in my life right now. It could be something very straightforward, such as the weather is nice today, the fact that I appreciate key people in my life, the fact I’d just written a really great chapter of my book, that I’m alive! I remember a speaker once saying, “Any day above ground is a good day for me!” So taking just five minutes to reflect on five things and writing them down is a great way to begin a day of dragon slaying and mountain moving.
Another great way to be grateful is to look at the achievements in your life. Acknowledging your positive progress and gratitude are also very closely linked.
As a parent, one thing I often do with my children over family mealtimes is ask them to share three things that have worked really well for them that day. This is great fun, and I really would recommend you try it. It always lifts the mood and creates a very good feeling around the home.
You can also do this in a group setting, but here are some golden rules. You might find that people don’t really want to play this game at first, but persevere because you’ll find that you’ll change the mood and upgrade the energy that exists.
Number one, ask for three things, but do them one positive at a time. Often when first asked, some people find it difficult to come up with three things in one go. But if you go around hearing about the good things that have happened to others in the group, invariably everyone’s able to come up with three things. Taking turns helps also to create enthusiasm and momentum as you go around the group — especially if you take the time to acknowledge and praise each individual.
Sometimes, however, you’ll get the response, “Nothing’s gone well today.” My response is to persevere, and usually anyone can find at least one thing that’s gone well. Every day there is something that we can be positive about. We sometimes just have to look. Now I very selfishly do this if I’ve had a challenging day because it’s hearing about the positive experience of others that lifts my mood, and I feed off their energy and enthusiasm, and that puts me in a much better place.
Magic gratitude fuels a magic attitude — and a magic attitude helps you create a magic future!
So, there we are. A few Magic Tips that are easy to adopt and which, if implemented, have a transformational impact.
I wish you every success as you create your magic!
Author and Founder of www.magicfuture.com