Why are some agents prospering in an extraordinarily difficult market while others are struggling to keep afloat? It’s all in their attitude.

I recently spoke for Prudential Gary Greene Realtors, the top-producing firm in Houston. The owners of the company, Mark Woodruff and Marilyn Eiland, kicked off the session with 10 minutes of very positive news. Here are just two of the examples they cited:

"In Houston, 91.8 percent of our people are employed — that means that (most) of our residents could buy a house!"

Are your buyers worried that now may not be the best time to buy? If so, you might want to ask them, "Would you like to purchase a home at 1963 interest rates? Did you know that interest rates today are 1.5 percent lower than they were in 1963 when Gary Greene founded our company?"

When they finished, the room was buzzing with energy. How did they create this?

Each example above illustrates how you can take almost any statistic and frame it in a more positive light. While the Houston unemployment figures are at 8.2 percent, a more positive approach is to look at how many people are employed — 91.8 percent.

People know that interest rates are low, but most don’t realize that rates are that much lower than they were 47 years ago.

Let’s face it, if you had a choice to work with an agent who is positive and optimistic versus one who is constantly grousing about how bad the market is, which one would you choose?

If you want to be that positive and optimistic agent. who your clients will love to work with, here are five key ways to stay positive and profitable, regardless of what the market does.

1. The positive side of being a control freak
Take control of the situation. The psychological term for those who believe they can influence events is "internal locus of control." These people are not victims. Instead, they actively search for opportunities, regardless of what the market does.

In contrast, individuals who feel they have no control over external events are said to have an "external locus of control." They passively wait for business to come to them. They lack control and as a result become "victims" of the market or the economy.

2. What you do is what you get
Avoid the negative self-fulling prophecy. Seek out joy in life, and that’s what you may encounter. If you believe that life is only filled with struggle and unhappiness, what do you expect to find?

A good illustration of how this works is to look at a picture of a room and identify everything in the picture that is green. Now look away and recall everything that is red. The point here: Where we place our focus can shape our experience.

3. Dump anyone who drains your time and energy
When times are challenging, there’s no shortage of complainers. These people pull you away from a positive focus. It’s as if they’re drowning in negativity and they’re trying to take you down with them.

Granted, we all have challenges that can bring us down. Nevertheless, who would you rather be with when you’re faced with a challenge: the person who points out all the negative aspects of it, or the person who helps you look for a positive way of handling the situation?

Avoid those who are swimming in the swamp of negativity and spend your time with those who are positive.

4. Don’t react — respond
Sooner or later, everyone faces a major challenge. When you receive bad news, it’s easy to spiral into a negative reaction. A better approach is to step back and ask, "What are the options available to me at this moment?" Rather than reacting, review those options and then consciously select the response that will yield the best results.

This approach lets you control your choice, even when external events may be spinning out of control. The moment you can evaluate what is happening and choose your response, you’re much more likely to achieve a positive outcome.

5. Choose joy
While it’s not always possible to be positive and optimistic, you can choose to focus on the simple joys that are present in each of our lives such as family, good health, or even a beautiful, sunny day. Finding joy in life’s events is well worth the effort.

Some studies, too, have linked health benefits, such as longevity, to positive-thinking/optimism — though let’s remember that there can be downsides to blind optimism.

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