Choices of Positive People

There's something about optimistic, positive-thinking people that is contagious. It's great when they are actually around us, but sometimes I only just need to read of their journeys and I feel better. How can that be? I had nothing to do with their goals, their risks, their accomplishments. I didn't do their work or receive their deserved recognition. Yet, there is something about "realistic optimism" in action that energizes my soul. It lets me know potential is more than possibility when combined with hard work and a habit of happiness. Good things result!

I've been thinking a lot about my "Sisters in Agriculture," those who have positively influenced me, their homes, their work, and our industry. I found several commonalities that created strong habits of happiness. Here is what they believe and practice.

Be intentional and careful with your thoughts. Repetitive thoughts influence our vision and daily actions. Actions, when repeated, become habits. Habits harden into character. Positive thinkers want to be people of good character.

Count your blessings.  We must consciously look for the good every day - despite weather, markets, economy, sickness, debt and global despair. Positive people know seeds of happiness sprout into seedlings of creativity, gratitude, laughter and strength.

Be kind to others. Positive people know in giving they can be happy. They experience a genuinely good feeling that comes from delighting and surprising others. They've learned the gift of kindness is not to be given "someday" or "when the work is done," but frequently. And the gift is given without strings or nametags.

Achieve small and big things. Whopper dreams became goals which became results. And yet all require work, risks, setbacks, resources and alternative plans along the way. They also learn that mistakes are the best teachers in life for the demand acknowledgement, evaluation, creativity and problem solving.

Make many and meaningful connections.  Connections can be of faith, family, neighbors and with others in and outside of our industry. Positive people know faith is the foundation of hope and support. It is also the redemption when we make mistakes. It allows us to experience defeat, but never alone. Connections with others help us persevere without the vulnerability of going it alone.

Continue to learn. One of my favorite conversations with a conference attendee included this story. A 4th generation family business member shared, "Great Grandpa was very skeptical of their first 'newfangled' tractor. He insisted a team of mules be hitched to the front because no tractor could do the work. One day Great Grandpa dozed off and his sons unhitched the mules. You know the rest of the story." Happy and positive people unhitch the mules and continue to learn from mentors, rebels, trial and error, technology, research and more. They know there are abundant resources when we choose to be a student.

Celebrate and laugh! They've learned that habits of happiness create enjoyment and enjoyment brings people together. People working together can build bridges for more opportunity.

Let's be careful that our thoughts and actions develop into positive habits. Then we too can be positive achievers with a character of happiness.



Jolene Brown is a farmer, professional speaker, author and champion for the family owned business. She's from West Branch, Iowa, USA, and travels worldwide sharing leading-edge best practices that have the power to increase productivity, profitability and peace of mind. Her passion combined with her fun-filled spirit and valuable information brings humor, hope and helpful ideas to the people of agriculture. For more information and to check out her speaking availability, contact her at,

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related topics: farming, agriculture, succession

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