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Why a Positive Attitude Can Help Further Your Career

By Edited Jul 1, 2016 1 2
Cheryl, Office Manager extraordinaire
Credit: Tebewebb/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 /Attribution-Share Alike

Is your workplace dragging you down? Are you or your colleagues constantly complaining or feeling frustrated? If so, you aren't alone. According to a Gallup poll released in fall 2013, only 13 percent of people surveyed worldwide said they like going to work.2 Others said they were unhappy, but not totally miserable (63 percent). The rest (24 percent) were "actively disengaged" or, in other words, truly hate their jobs.

While the percentage of those who hate their jobs may not have any hope for improvement, workers not totally miserable could potentially change their situation and possibly even better their career in the process. True, changing a work culture is a tall order and, in many cases, not doable, but what is controllable is one's own attitude. Putting effort into being positive can possibly help make a miserable job a more enjoyable one.

People who keep up a positive outlook often include personality attributes such as: An open mind, a willingness to be flexible and a desire to be proactive, as opposed to reactive, in order to get things done. As a result, these behavioral traits can garner upbeat responses from others who are more candid and willing to listen.

Keep an Open Mind

Having an open mind is important because a closed mind has a tendency to block new ideas or allow any type of innovation in. However, people who are open-minded and do not immediately shoot down new ideas prior to giving them much thought can miss the boat on creating potential creative solutions or lucrative ideas. Both of which can make the boss sit up and listen.

In this respect, possessing an open mind in the workplace can lead to unforeseen possibilities because if one allows him or herself to grow and accept ideas with a positive attitude, the prospects of innovation increase. On the other hand, negativity typically breeds additional pessimism and, as a result, things can become stagnant.

With stagnancy, people generally tend to focus on the problem and not work to find a solution. In the long run this can hinder any career; however, an encouraging attitude can yield far better results.

Employees smiling
Credit: Tobias Steinhoff ( tobstone ) on Flickr - (CC BY-SA 2.0)


In order to progress and grow, change is often necessary, especially in the technologically charged society we live in today. A positive attitude can help fuel a person's ability to be flexible and accept ongoing change. Possessing elasticity in the workplace is a good attribute to have, and those who are positive towards change can enjoy a number of career benefits as the workplace environments evolve. Flexible people often are able to position themselves to embrace new procedures, programs and other transformations, perhaps even playing a pivotal role in the change.

Attract Attention

A negative person may attract attention initially, however, over the course of time this can be draining on those working within the pessimistic environment.  Not the right type of attention to draw. On the other hand, when issues arise, maintaining a positive approach to addressing the problems can often get more accomplished. Long-term negativity may result in people shutting out the pessimistic individual, even if he or she has good ideas to share.

Employees in Discussion
Credit: AFGE on Flickr/Creative Commons-Attribution


Those who attack the workday with a positive attitude may be more likely to get promoted. An employer is more likely to advance people who focus on getting the work done rather than sitting around complaining about it. Employers want productivity, as it ultimately leads to better profitability and/or reaching organizational goals. That being the case, the boss is going to turn his or her attention to people who can help the organization accomplish their mission.

Decreased Stress

Too much negativity can result in stress and ill health effects, which can have a ripple effect on a person's career. Over the course of time, negativity can flow from the workplace to the home environment which adds additional burdens and can result in health issues. On the other hand, people who take a positive approach and possess an innate ability to leave work problems at work and take a respite from the stress of a workday, often enjoy lowered tension. This makes these individuals better prepared to take on stressful situations at work when they arise.

There are many beneficial reasons to keep a positive attitude in the workplace. Primarily it makes the work more enjoyable for yourself and others, and negativity does not become an obstacle to getting things done. Studies suggest negative emotions are more contagious than positive ones,1 which, if spread too far, can often put a halt to productivity.

On the other hand, a positive attitude can get an individual much further ahead when it comes to the workplace. Generally, carrying a good outlook can also potentially lead to excellent employment possibilities because optimistic approaches are bound to attract more positive attention. However, going about the workday full of pessimism is generally more likely to have the opposite effect.

If too many people in any given organization are plagued by negativity, there is also a higher potential to become a toxic workplace, which benefits no one.



Nov 1, 2014 8:29pm
I think you have hit the nail on the head. Too often we see the negative things not only about ourselves but in the workforce, home and life. I have to admit I am also my worst enemy when it comes to doing things. Lack of confidence is my main problem.
I have to remind myself to think positive and yes we can all improve our attitude by thinking positive. How many people have you seen suffering from terrible illnesses, by battling and thinking positive they survive. We should all think positive about everything. Don't knock it until you try it. Rated up
Nov 3, 2014 3:19pm
Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I agree, negative can overshadow the positive both in and outside of work. I've fallen into it too. Very good point about illnesses.
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  1. Scott Halford "Identify and Cure Negative Workplace Attitudes ." Entrepreneur. 05/08/2009. 29/10/2014 <Web >
  2. Jena McGregor "Only 13 percent of people worldwide actually like going to work." Washington Post. 10/10/2013. 29/10/2014 <Web >

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