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4 ways to improve your daily outlook

Matt Pais

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Use these ideas to start every day with a positive attitude.

YOUR BRAIN WANTS TO THINK NEGATIVE — DON’T ALLOW IT
Take a moment and think about how your brain operates. Do you pay more attention to positive things or negative ones? To which do you and your clients react more expressively?

Most people have a tendency to focus on the negative, said Roger Seip, a speaker on maximizing the capability of the brain, in his 2014 MDRT Annual Meeting presentation. This causes the brain to waste energy looking for things to worry about and can lead to a “culture of negativity.”

How do you counteract that? Be the most positive person in the room, and watch how it impacts your business, he said. “If I receive a call from a number I don’t recognize, I always answer with a big smile and say, ‘It’s a great day; this is Roger.’ I just love the mixed reaction I get,” he said. “For about half the people, I can tell that my answer brightened their day. Then the other half, well, I can just hear them getting irritated. ‘Great day? What are you so happy about?’ You need to prevent this kind of reaction from draining your energy.”

Need help conjuring your positivity? In his 2015 Annual Meeting presentation, author and happiness researcher Shawn Achor recommended three effective habits to boost happiness:
  • Think of three new things you’re grateful for every day.
  • Do 15 minutes of cardio every day.
  • Write a two-minute email praising or thanking a person you know. “This increases your social connections, and social connections are the greatest predictor of success,” he said.


3 CHARACTERISTICS OF ULTRA-HAPPY PEOPLE
So much of life is about perspective, and a successful advisor is an upbeat advisor. In his 2013 Annual Meeting presentation “Measuring what matters,” Ralph Antolino Jr., J.D., CLU, reiterates this by identifying nine secrets of ultra-happy people, many of which hinge on your outlook. According to the 36-year MDRT member from Columbus, Ohio, these include:

Balance
“The ultra-happy have achieved balance in all aspects of their life. What do you need to do to achieve greater balance in your life? What are you overindulging in, and what effect does it have on other parts of your life? What resources and support do you need to be more balanced?”

Self-control
“The ultra-happy don’t let their desires dominate their life. Do you chase your every desire? Do some of your desires conflict with one another? Does the fulfillment of your desires make you happier or unhappier? Do you choose to pursue only those desires that support your higher purpose in life?”

Selflessness
“The ultra-happy spend most of their time working on other people’s problems. Is there someone who needs help in your life? Do you think helping them would give you a greater sense of purpose? What talents or resources do you have to help people that are not being fully utilized?”


LIVE A FULFILLING LIFE BY GIVING BACK
For Alphonso B. Franco, RHU, RCIS, the pursuit of a balanced life is never something fully achieved, but rather a daily effort. It’s why the 23-year MDRT member from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, is continually finding new ways to spend time with his wife and two sons and do things that bring them happiness and a sense of purpose.

To Franco, giving back means more than just charity work — it means taking in people in need. Franco’s wife used to be a youth counselor, and the couple has become foster parents to more than a dozen kids between the ages of 15 and 17. They usually take in one young woman at a time who needs a safe place to stay and chance to be mentored for about six months to a year. Franco has also brought on one of them to work in his office.

“It’s been one of the most beneficial experiences of my life,” he said. “You can actually see the trajectory of a young person’s life change. Wherever we could make a difference, we did.”


ABUNDANCE IS A STATE OF MIND
D. Scott Brennan, 2013 MDRT President and a 33-year member from South Bend, Indiana, knows that life is a matter of perspective. He has seen a family receiving $5,000 for a death claim be much more grateful than trustees who received $5 million. That’s part of why he embraces the Whole Person concept.

“I try to celebrate life a little bit every day. I get up early, I paint, I eat good food, I drink champagne. This isn’t a dry run,” he said. “When I am with clients and people I care about, I will often say, ‘We could be born in a dozen other lifetimes, and we wouldn’t be as lucky as we are today.’

“Math has no emotion, but people do. A grandmother asked her young granddaughter, ‘How many fingers do you have?’ Emily said, ‘Grandma, I have all that I need.’ It’s not what something is; it’s how we see it. John Savage once said, ‘People are out buying things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t even like.’ Want less; appreciate more. Abundance is a state of mind.”

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