Posted on

Taking the Positive Approach

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” George Bernard Shaw

Running on the beach in the rain in Hawaii
Running in the rain in Hawaii
Jogging in Hawaii on the beach
Jogging in Hawaii, soaking up the positive energy.

I have found that taking a positive approach to life, as recommended by George Bernard Shaw, to be invaluable advice.  Little did I know that when I turned 60, almost 10 years ago, jogging would become such an integral part of my life.  It happen quite by chance, but jogging has turned out to be a positive part of who I am.  Just this morning when I woke up, I could feel the cobwebs. I kind of had one of those “first thing in the morning” headaches.  But I knew that all I had to do was put on my running shoes, grab my earbuds and phone, leash up my favorite running companion, Max, and in no time I would feel better. In reality I knew that I would be better than better. I would be feeling great! It has happened so many times that I have total faith in the principle.

Throughout my life, I have noticed that when I take a proactive approach with a positive attitude to life’s challenges, things just turn out better.  That isn’t to say that there haven’t been a multitude of difficult challenges throughout my life, we all have them.  Having a positive attitude doesn’t mean that we stick our heads in the sand and ignore the challenge.  Having a positive attitude opens our minds to more possible solutions. A positive attitude also increases our confidence that a workable solution will be found.

Internet articles abound regarding the positive effect of a positive attitude.  I recently found one by Laura Bauer in which she enumerates six benefits of a positive attitude.  Among the positive benefits of positive thinking, she mentions greater resistance to the common cold, lower cholesterol, and increased resistance to cardiovascular disease.  Although these three should be enough to prompt all of us to try to improve our attitudes, the remaining three were particularly interesting to me.

Increased life span.

In a recent Dutch study that appeared in the JAMA Psychiatry, it was found that those with a positive attitude were 55% less likely to die during the nine-year follow-up period.

Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress and depression.

George Patton, a professor of adolescent health research at the Murdoch Children’s Centre for Adolescent Health in Melbourne, noted in an article published in Pediatrics, found that optimistic kids do better in avoiding emotional and behavioral problems during their teens, even though they are not completely immune to setbacks.

Slower aging.

The last benefit should get all of our attentions.  The Canadian Medical Association Journal published a study that found that pessimistic adults, ages 60 and above, experienced increased problems and a decline in mobility while their happier counterparts were 80% less likely to experience similar declines.

My wife, Cindy is a testament to the power of positive thinking.  When she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 43 years ago, treatment options were limited and she was told that she could expect to live 20 years or less.  But Cindy has maintained a positive attitude. By doing so, she has out lived that prognosis by over 20 years.  Does that mean that she has not face difficult challenges?  No, the challenges have been numerous and difficult, but a positive attitude has enable us to find solutions and maintain a lifestyle that could be envied by more able-bodied individuals.

This morning as Max and I completed our run, I remembered the words of Groucho Marx. “I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”

Let me help you create a more positive atmosphere in your organization, give me a call. “Let me inspire you.”

Posted on

Excellence

In April of 2008 I achieved an unexpected milestone in my life when I received my MBA from George Fox University.   Two years prior when I enrolled my friends and colleagues thought that I had lost my mind.  What in the world did I expect to gain from getting an MBA at that late stage of my life?  Enrolling in a graduate degree program turned out to be a great way to transition into this phase of my life. As it turned out I not only received a stellar educational experience but I also felt rejuvenated by the process. I was in the company of students half my age at the beginning of their careers as I was transition out of my first career. My perspectives though different were always welcome and respected. As it turned out I was richly rewarded by following my own advice, make the choice, cross the wake, live your dreams!

The faculty and staff at George Fox typify the description of excellence that I found very early in my dental career that impacted me throughout my practice as I pursued “excellence” in my delivery of patient care and managed my business. How fortunate I was to have found O’Connor early in my career.
“Pursuit of excellence is an attitude…it involves wisdom and sound judgment…it is a lifetime, career-long commitment…it is a way of life…it is doing the job right the first time, every time. It is inner-directed, not the result of external pressure, it is our own self-worth – who we are and the pride and satisfaction that comes from being the right kind of person, not just in doing the right things.” James J. O’Connor

Let me help your group make the choice, cross the wake and live their dreams.

Posted on

The PEP (Procative, Efficient & Persistent) Talk

Dr. Steven Neil Kaplan, Neubauer Family Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance
Dr. Steven Neil Kaplan

In 2008 I  celebrated Father’s Day by attending the convocation ceremonies at the University of Chicago Graduate Business School.  My son  received his MBA. The faculty speaker at the ceremony was Steven Neil Kaplan, Neubauer Family Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance.

Dr. Kaplan’s research previously has focused on private equity and entrepreneurial finance, corporate governance and finance and mergers and acquisitions. Recently he studied personality traits of CEO that produced the most significant results for their companies.

Previous studies by authors such as Jim Collins (Good to Great and Built to Last) have found character traits that have been universal in good leaders.  Character traits such as humility, team players, good listeners and the ability of hire the “right” people, are essentail in transforming companies. Coolins also found that even with these traits some leaders did not achieve the same results.

PEP (Proactive, Efficient & Persistent)

Dr. Kaplan’s research revealed three additional traits that seemed to be pivotal producing success. These character traits are proactive, efficient and persistent, “PEP.” Dr. Kaplan’s research confirmed that these three characteristics were universal in leaders who were able to make a difference. Dr. Kaplan encouraged the graduates to approach their business careers with “PEP.”

As I listened to Dr. Kaplan, I had to agree. In my own personal journey, I find that when I am proactive (Make the choice, Cross the wake, Live your dreams!) in approaching a challenge, attack it in an efficient manner and follow through with persistence to the end, my results are stellar but when I sit back and wait, fail to get to the heart of the matter efficiently or acquiesce to the pressure of those around me, my result are less than adequate. My most remarkable successes have been directly related to my level of “PEP.”  To get a little more “PEP” in your group give me a call.