About a week or so ago I came across a great article in the Wall Street Journal about maintaining a positive attitude about aging:

The article cites research report after research report about the importance of not accepting the standard negative aging stereotypes, which are often completely inaccurate. One study even found that individuals with negative outlooks about aging show greater signs of decline faster than their counterparts—a prime example of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In dealing with communities and companies that are working for change–whether internal cultural change, creating successful projects or through comprehensive planning and policy improvements– success can depend on the outlook of the stakeholders involved. Believing your efforts will fall on deaf ears, or that change simply can’t happen, makes success nearly impossible.

I think some of the same points in the Wall Street Journal article can apply to the attitudes of stakeholders and ensuring project success. Here’s my take:

Stakeholders need to acknowledge that there are ingrained beliefs about success and negative outcomes.
Actively work to replace negative beliefs about project process and outcomes with positive outlooks. It goes beyond just acknowledging these beliefs exist; continual reminders and education on adjusting one’s outlook needs to be consistent.
Accept the reality that any project has issues and approach them with a positive attitude and work for a positive outcome.
And exercise… well, stealing a bit more from the article, changing your outlook and regular exercise help keep people healthy and happy. Projects and working with teams can be so stressful that it can lead to raiding the vending machine and being more sedentary. All of that leads to negative outcomes, including negative attitudes. So, steal a little good advice from all those researchers. If you feel your positive attitude needs a pick-me-up, go for a walk!

Further reading: