Job Seeking – Dealing with Negativity Through a Positive Attitude

We read a lot about being positive and maintaining a positive attitude to things. Sometimes, when you read those sort of articles you are left thinking that it’s not okay to have negative thoughts or to react to something. If you are a job seeker then you will invariably face rejection and your instinctive response isn’t to think “that’s great” is it?

I am a great believer in focusing on the positive and projecting a positive image to the world. But is is okay, in fact it is more than “okay” to be disappointed or annoyed by that rejection email or telephone call.

“Their Loss” or “sounds like a lucky escape” is my better half’s response when I get the dreaded rejection after an interview. Whilst I always know that it’s intended to focus me in a positive way I am sure that any job seeker will be able to tell you that it can be disheartening. This is especially so when you get nonsensical feedback such as I received recently that “you didn’t give any examples of XYZ” during the interview to which my response if I had been able to give it to the interviewer was “you didn’t ask any questions around XYZ.”

That reaction to a disappointing outcome is potentially negative isn’t it? But it’s how we react after the initial reaction and process it that matters.

So, allow yourself to have a negative reaction and then you need to focus yourself on the next opportunity that you are pursuing. The following are some ideas on how you can do this.

The best way to eliminate negativity is to develop a positive attitude. Your thoughts and outlook on life have a profound effect on how you live your life. They are also contagious and affect those around you. You can’t have both positive and negative in the same space. So why not focus on turning the negativity into something more positive?

You will find you have more energy and enthusiasm when you have a more positive attitude. People will want to be around you more, and will be more positive as well, leading to a cascade effect. Negativity tends to bring you down and steal away your energy. It can also cause health issues over time. Some ways you can develop a more positive attitude are:

Read Books about Positive Thinking

There are many books out there that can teach you about how to develop a positive mindset and eliminate the negativity in your life. Reading is not only a great way to learn, but it helps your brain build more connections which keep it healthy for a longer time. You can even find many very good books on this subject in your local library and read them for free.


Affirmations are a way of reprogramming the negative thoughts you tell yourself – and in many cases, you may not even be aware that you have them. By doing affirmations, you can change these negative thoughts into positive ones. You can start thinking better of yourself.


Meditation is a great way to help eliminate negativity and turn it into positive thinking. It also reduces stress. Because you get past the conscious level, you can really help reprogram your mindset with meditation. If you combine this with the affirmations, you can increase the results.

Spend time with positive people

Try to eliminate or limit contact with people who tend to have a negative mindset. Sometimes you can’t completely break off contact with them, especially if they are family or people you work with, but as much as possible try to spend time with positive people. Not only will you find it easier to be positive around them, but you may learn new ways to help yourself be more positive.

The Company We Keep

When you are at work, do you naturally migrate towards certain people? Have you ever asked yourself what it is about those people that attract you? Are they generally quite positive people? Conversely, do you find you try to avoid people who are constantly complaining or don’t offer much help? You want to find people who are going to have a positive impact on your life. This is not just for work but every part of your life.

When things are work are challenging and you are not necessarily feeling at your most positive it can be all too easy to be drawn in by the mood hoovers who will readily reflect back the negative thoughts you are having. Rather than being positive they will be all too ready to re-enforce your doubts and insecurities! So it is at times like this that we really should be thinking carefully about who we migrate towards and look to engage with people who will help us move forward rather than dragging us down. We need to look for those who will empower us and who are focused on the way forward.

  1. You get to choose who you surround yourself with so why not choose people who will improve your life?
    You can’t help all encounters, but you can limit your exposure to people who don’t enliven you. That is your best course of action when you run into these types of people.
  2. Find people who have integrity.
    These are the people who you can trust to do what is right. They won’t throw others under the bus. It’s difficult to question people who have integrity. Another great aspect of finding these people is they will keep you in line should your integrity come into question.
  3. It’s also good to find people who are energetic and willing to solve problems.
    These people are the ones who will advance quickly in their organizations. You will recognize them as ones who do not come up with excuses and are always offering suggestions.
  4. You want to align yourself with people who are leaders.
    But, remember that great leaders are also good followers. They allow people to shine rather than dictate what others should do. You don’t want to find someone who is egotistical. By nature, the egotist is only looking out for himself (or herself).
  5. Focus on the less obvious.
    For instance, quiet people often have a perspective that boisterous people lack. They are often good listeners, and they only speak when what they say is worth saying. They won’t focus on insignificant matters. This is not true of all quiet people but try to find ones who have this insight.
  6. Stay away from people who gossip about others.
    It’s likely they are doing the same behind your back. These types of people will never be there for you when you need them. This usually stems from insecurities they hold. However, this is not your problem. If you can avoid them, it’s best to do so.

Cultivating An Attitude of Gratitude

2017 is the first year that I can recall where I have started the year in the position of looking for a new role as a Learning & Development Professional. So as I am sure you can imagine I have been reflecting a lot over the days leading up to the New Year. I have taken time to consider those things in my life which I am grateful for because in that way I have been able to focus on the positive.

I wanted to share some thoughts on how we can each cultivate an attitude of gratitude.  There are a number of ways to cultivate this “attitude of gratitude” so that we can recognise and feel that we are living an abundant life even when times get tough.

Below are some of what I think are the best ways to practice gratitude regularly.

Counting Your Blessings

Each morning and each evening, think of three to five things you are grateful for that day. Even on the worst day, there are things to be grateful for. If you do this daily, eventually you’ll find that you notice more positives and less negatives in your life. Several of my friends on Twitter use the #hashtag #3GoodThings to capture those good things they have experienced each day in a public forum.

Keep a Gratitude Journal

List the things you are grateful for by writing them down at the start and end of each day. Or engage in undirected writing in which you think about all the things you are grateful for and the best things about your abundance.

A gratitude journal can be particularly helpful if you know you tend to be more of a pessimist than an optimist or lean towards negative self-talk. By regularly journaling about all the things you have to be grateful for, you can maintain a positive and peaceful mind and abundant mindset – even when things start to get a bit stressful.


Meditating means to think. There are different forms of meditation – from Zen meditation, to contemplative meditation in which you choose to think about a particular topic. With Zen meditation, the goal is to empty or quieten the mind. This is a good starting point for then being able to think more deeply about important topics in your life, such as all the things you are grateful for.

Mindfulness meditation teaches you to focus on the here and now, so you can make the most of the present as it unfolds, moment by moment, and appreciate the abundance you are experiencing.

Practice Saying “Thank You” and “I Appreciate It”

Manners cost nothing, and the positivity of thanking others and telling them how much you appreciate them is always a good way to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

Give Thanks and Pray

As I have written about elsewhere my personal faith is important to me and a source of strength and at time real challenge. However, no matter what your belief system, say thank you to any higher power you believe in for all of the abundance you have in your life. Wish the same for others. You will be amazed at the power of positive thinking.