A Positive Mental Attitude is an Essential Persuasion Tool

If you follow me on Facebook then you know I broke my right ankle back in March when I stepped on my wife’s boot heel the morning after our 24th anniversary celebration. When this all happened I passed out so Jane called an ambulance and I was subjected to 12 hours of tests and waiting (more waiting than tests) in the emergency room. I was there so long because doctors were concerned with my unusually low heart rate coupled with the passing out incident. I could go on and on but you get the picture; not exactly a great way to start the 25th year of marriage. Did I mention I was in a walking boot for six weeks?

On the surface that sounds like a bummer and I won’t lie, I wish it hadn’t happened. If not for the broken ankle I could have done two activities I enjoy dearly – driving my car and running. I also wouldn’t have inconvenienced some people because I needed rides to and from work. And let’s not forget all the money I would have saved.
Having taught classes on maintaining a positive mental attitude – and knowing I was going to have to teach that very same class in the walking boot – I had to practice what I preach. So how does one find the positive in all this?
Let’s start with my trip to the emergency room. When a resident asked what happened, I told her, “I did something different this morning. Normally I leave the lights off so I don’t wake up my wife but since she was already awake I turned on the light. I think I passed out when I saw her beauty so early in the morning.” She chuckled and Jane just rolled her eyes.
I didn’t get upset when a nurse mistakenly told us I was scheduled to have a pacemaker put in at noon. Jane on the other hand started to freak out thinking I was going to meet God before she did.
Knowing there would be some hefty hospital bills, Jane was feeling bad that this all started with her boot. My attitude – we can’t change it, we don’t know what we’ll be charged so why worry about it? There’s never any sense in worrying about things you have no control over so why let them get you down?

I’ve tried to have fun with it as I tell the story. People expect to hear something manly like breaking it while running or at taekwondo. Nope, nothing manly about stepping on your wife’s boot heel at four in the morning. But I usually have them laughing when I end the story with this line, “Better that she broke my ankle than my heart.”
The rides to work were fun because Cobi Dorn and Terra Boroff are such nice people and they both have a great sense of humor. They had to in order to put up with me, my ego and all the bad jokes I tell. Being the astute observer of human behavior that I am, I think they enjoyed having me  around … at least in small doses.
My spring break trip to Chicago with Abigail was more memorable in the walking boot and airport security wasn’t as big a hassle as you might think.
Perhaps my favorite pastime during all of this was watching Jane cut the grass while I drank beer sitting on the deck with my feet up. In fact, it was such a good time I made sure to preserve it with some photos and Facebook updates. Jane’s guilt has passed and she reminds during those times that she can also break my other ankle.
And one more thing – and this almost makes it all worth it – was a dinner with insurance agents that Jane came to because I needed a ride home. For those of you who have been married for any length of time you might be able to relate. When she picked me up for dinner she looked like a million bucks in a slinky black dress! It was one of those times you stare at your spouse, and even after all those years, feel the same way you did when you first met them. It was a good night!
So why am I sharing all of this in a blog on influence? The principle of liking tells us we like people who like us. There’s nothing worse than being around someone who is cranky and negative most or all of the time. A lot of people would have responded that way causing others to avoid them. I chose a different path and I hope people found it funny and entertaining. I think it make me more likable and people enjoyed being around me.
Each of you has a choice to make when seemingly bad things come your way. You can choose to look for the good or find ways to manufacture some good. If you do so you’ll probably be a little happier for it and those who are around you will benefit as well. And in the midst of it all, if you need a favor, help or have to make some other request, the odds that you’ll hear “Yes” will be dramatically better than if you do nothing but complain.

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Brian, CMCT 
influencepeople 
Helping You Learn to Hear
“Yes”.

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Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Chief Influence Officer at Influence People, LLC
Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence People, LLC. A dynamic keynote speaker, trainer, coach, and consultant, he specializes in applying the science of influence and persuasion in business and personal situations. He is one of only 20 individuals in the world who currently holds the Cialdini Method Certified Trainer® (CMCT®) designation. This specialization in the psychology of persuasion was earned directly from Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D. – the most cited living social psychologist in the world when it comes to the science of ethical persuasion. Brian’s passion is helping people achieve greater professional success and enjoy more personal happiness. He does this by teaching people how to ethically move others to action through the science of persuasion.
3 replies
  1. Tali Berzins
    Tali Berzins says:

    Having been through something very similar, I will say it is not always easy to maintain a positive attitude. What can help is just taking a short mental inventory of what you have to be thankful for and an injury like this, while not pleasant, is thank goodness temporary.

    Reply
  2. anybody
    anybody says:

    its wonderful how u described ur story or more how u handled ur situation..is it that easy always or is it tough sometimes to maintain a pma in diffrnt situation. I was a positive person right frm my childhood ..but today I m one those negatine people whom I avoided always…i wish if something happens n i be the same like bfore….

    Reply

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