You are here
Home > Off the hip Archive > Your attitude: yours for life

Your attitude: yours for life


An attitude is a state of mind which determines how you approach a situation. It is also your “life time companion”. It will always be there, that one thing that affects your life in more ways you can imagine. It is therefore interesting that generally humans don’t display a high awareness of attitudes. We are quickly aware if we are in pain or hungry, but we don’t have a good handle on attitude. Do we ever stop and think: “Let me review my attitude? This is a pity because it governs the way you see the world and the way the world sees you. Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.

Yet, we all have a choice. We can choose an inner dialogue of self-encouragement and self-motivation, or we can choose one of self-defeat and self-pity. It’s a power we all have. Each of us encounters hard times, hurt feelings, heartache, physical and emotional pain. The key is to realise it’s not what happens to you that matters most; it’s how you choose to respond. Your attitude determines mostly how you experience life each day. It is the energy that fuels your thoughts. Your thoughts define your state of mind and your actions. Think about it; happy people are far more likely to have positive thoughts than negative ones. On the other hand, sad or angry people usually have negative thoughts. An attitude is a learned tendency to evaluate things in a certain way; to evaluate people, events and objects. We can break down attitude into three components:

Emotional component – what you feel

We may feel or have emotions about a certain object, subject or topic and this is what is going to shape our attitude. I can show an emotional attitude by saying I am scared of snakes – the word scared indicates an emotion and that is going to shape your attitude towards snakes.

Behavioural component – what you do

This is how we act or behave towards an object or subject. Here you may say: I will avoid snakes and scream if I see one. The words avoid and scream indicate an action that is going to influence our attitude.

The cognitive component – what you think

We form thoughts and beliefs or we have some sort of knowledge about a subject, object or topic. I believe snakes are dangerous – we have a belief that they are dangerous and that’s going to shape our attitude.

What can be done?

Our initial tendency is to focus on the feeling level and to change it first. The feeling or emotional level, however, is the most difficult to work on. You can’t “grasp” a feeling and force it to change. Feelings are powerful but vague. You cannot get a grip on a feeling. If you want to change your feelings you must start elsewhere. You must begin with either your thinking or your behaviour over which you have more control. The secret in effectively changing your emotions is knowing that feelings, thoughts, and behaviours are all related. When you change one of them (for example, thinking) the other two (feelings and behaviour) will change as well. Since it is easier to get a “grasp” on thoughts and behaviour, this is the place to begin your work of staying resilient.

However, it is usually our emotions that get our attention in regard to the situation. It is our emotions that we most want to change. When we feel sad, angry, anxious, or frustrated we don’t like it. We want the feeling to quickly go away. So we start trying to change the emotion. We often begin by trying to change others so we can feel better. It doesn’t work. We may turn to alcohol and drug abuse to numb the feelings. It doesn’t work. Working all the time or excessive shopping are attempts at avoiding emotional distress. They don’t work.

From a business perspective

A positive attitude can be a powerful tool when it comes to customer service on an individual basis, but much more so on a collective level. Imagine the powerful vibes customers will pick up, should the whole team in a business display positive attitudes. Moreover, it will be difficult for a person with a negative attitude to survive in a team which predominantly displays a positive attitude. There can be no better way to attain differential advantage for your business.

Here are some things you can try to improve on your attitude:

1. Watch what you say
Once you have said something, you have released it to all within earshot and you can’t get it back. If we find ourselves speaking judgmental and disparaging things about our circumstances or those around us, we know the condition of our hearts needs to change.

2. Positive greeting
When people ask me how I am doing, I say, “Super-fantastic.” Most people enjoy working and living with others who try to live life for what it is – a beautiful gift.

3. Self-coaching
An affirmation is made up of words charged with power, conviction and faith. You send a positive response to your subconscious, which accepts whatever you tell it. When done properly, this triggers positive feelings that, in turn, drive action. Talk to yourself.

4. Visualisation
Studies of the psychology of peak performance have found that most great athletes, surgeons, engineers and artists use affirmations and visualisations either consciously or subconsciously to enhance and focus their skills.

5. Self motivation
Discover what motivates you. Basic motives include love, self-preservation, anger, financial gain and fear. Self-motivation requires enthusiasm, a positive outlook, a positive physiology (walk faster, smile, sit up), and a belief in yourself and your potential.

6. Attitude talk
Attitude talk is a way to override your past negative programming by erasing or replacing it with a conscious, positive internal voice that helps you face new directions. Take a closer look at what you are saying to yourself.

7. Enthusiasm
Enthusiasm is to attitude what breathing is to life. Enthusiasm enables you to apply your gifts more effectively.

8. Spiritual Empowerment
The ultimate level of human need extends into the spiritual realm. Just as we feed our bodies in response to our primary need to survive physically, we need to feed our spirit because we are spiritual beings.

9. Humour
The more humour and laughter in your life, the less stress you’ll have, which means more positive energy to help you put your attitude into action.

10. Exercising
One of the best ways to move to a more positive and motivated frame of mind is to exercise.


Choose who you want to be

Attitude is mental energy, which we generate all day long. You can’t have a neutral attitude – it can only be positive or negative. If positive, like a magnet you are drawing out the positive from those with whom you are interacting. You tend to draw the positive things about their personalities. Likewise, if you have a negative attitude you tend to focus on the negative qualities of their personalities. Be someone who others want to be with, because you lift their energy, attitude, and spirit. Be someone who you would want to be around. A negative attitude tends to push people away whilst a positive attitude attracts people.

Today, choose to have a positive attitude. Choose to be excellent!