Your attitude is the way you approach life and typically one that is reflected in your behavior. Attitude basically comprises of your mindset, viewpoint, and your belief systems. Your attitude is the way you approach life in general. It encompasses your general mental tone and the way you express your thoughts and feelings and is the best indicator of who you are.
Your attitude is always under construction until the day you die. It is also a mirror of yourself. Let me explain.
Imagine you are sitting in a restaurant and the server comes up to you and says, “Yeah, what do you want?” in a gruff voice. The message you receive is…. Hurry and order, I’m in bad mood and I don’t really want to be here serving you. They are rather surprised when you don’t tip them. The server then goes on to complain about how rude you were as their customer.
The Wolves Within
This says it all.
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all.
“One Wolf is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
“The other Wolf is Good – It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather. “Which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
The Attitude Cycle
Attitudes are the “glasses” through which you see yourself, others, events, experiences, the future, and the world around you. Everyone wears “attitude glasses”, and yours are unique to you. What you see can be light, dark, rosy, clear, distorted, or otherwise. The way you see things are real to you, even if it’s not the truth.
Your attitude affects your behavior. You think and behave in a way consistent with your attitude, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- You tell yourself that you could never succeed (self-belief)
- Because you think of yourself as being unworthy (perception)
- Therefore, you feel like you are a loser (feelings)
- Which affects your attitude
- Therefore, you act like a loser and sabotage yourself (behavior)
- And the result is – you are not successful! (outcome)
- Which reinforces your original thoughts that you could never be successful (self-belief)
This is a continuous cycle of behavior, which is repeated time and time again. You get stuck in a subconscious loop of negative thinking which repeats itself time and time again unless you CHOOSE to change it.
In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl relates what he learned during his time as a prisoner in Auschwitz.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Attitude is a choice. If you have a negative attitude and believe yourself to be unworthy or a failure, you will subconsciously engage in behavior that will reconfirm this belief you have of yourself.
The cycle repeats itself unless you change your attitude towards yourself.
The ABC Model of Attitudes
Attitudes can be described in terms of three components and are known as the ABC Model of attitudes.
This involves a person’s feeling or emotions. For example; “I am petrified of spiders.”
This is the way an attitude influences how you act or behave. For example; “When I see a spider I yell, scream and run away.”
This involves a person’s belief system. For example: “I believe all spiders are dangerous.”
Types of Attitudes
Your attitude is said to define your personality which usually falls under two categories, the good and the bad. The four types of attitudes and behaviors can be positive, negative and neutral.
- Positive Attitude
- Negative Attitude
- Neutral Attitude
- Sikken Attitude
1. Positive Attitude
Simplistically, having a positive attitude means keeping a positive mindset and thinking about the greater good regardless of the circumstances. For instance, a person with a positive attitude will look for the good in others regardless of their behavior or how bad their attitude is by thinking about the greater good.
Having a positive attitude has many benefits which affect your self-esteem and behavior in a good way. Your attitude influences live every day both positively and negatively.
One of the most wonderful things about having a positive attitude is the number of people it touches often in ways you don’t expect. Your attitude not only impacts your happiness and success, it impacts the people around you including family, friends, co-workers and direct reports.
A positive attitude brings with it opportunities because it makes you more approachable and likable. If you have a winning attitude and positive presence about you, you naturally attract the right people into your life.
Confidence is a good attitude to have and is necessary to approach your life with zest and enthusiasm.
2. Negative Attitude
When you wake your day is neutral. Your attitude is neutral. As you arise you begin to program yourself and adjust to what the day will bring. For some, they let their circumstances rule their direction. They allow others to determine how you feel.
You own your attitude and for every action, there is a corresponding equal reaction. If you start the day being miserable, you reflect that outlook on everyone you come in contact with. You dump your negativity on them and as you know misery loves company. You hang out with other negative people – it’s what you invite. It becomes a vicious cycle.
Having a negative attitude is the primary source of stress and failure. If you have cultivated a negative attitude, it not only hurts you, it hurts the people around you. Attitudes are contagious.
Those with a negative attitude often have the following in common.
- They can never say sorry
- They blame others if something goes wrong
- They forever hold a grudge
- They are unable to forgive
- They are jealous of others
- They are highly critical of others
- They constantly complain
Their response to tough situations is to run away from them and ignore the good things in life. They never have anything nice to say about anyone or anything.
A person with a negative attitude is often angry, with themselves and the world around them. Anger is the root cause of the self-destructive behavior and if not addressed, can become their greatest sources of stress.
With a negative mindset you will often doubt yourself leading to low self-esteem and low confidence levels and as a result, you live in a constant state of frustration. Negative thinking is nothing more than a bad habit that can be changed.
3. Neutral Attitude
Another type of attitude is having a neutral mindset. People with this type of attitude generally ignore the problems in life and put their head in the sand pretending nothing is wrong. They wait for others to take care of the problems around them. They never feel much of anything, are generally lazy and live life without much emotion.
They never feel the need to change and can appear disconnected from the real world.
4. Sikken Attitude
Having a sikken attitude is one of the most dangerous types of attitudes. More than negative, it is destructive, and this type of attitude has the ability to destroy any positive image. It is difficult to change a person with his type of attitude as it is deep-rooted within their personality.
Improving your Attitude
One of the quickest ways to improve attitude is with positive thinking.
Eliminate the notion that having a positive attitude comes naturally. For some yes, for others it requires effort.
If attitudes are a result of habit, then habits can be acquired or changed. Start your day with the words, “What attitude do I choose today? How I respond to the issues of the day is up to me. I choose to maintain a positive attitude throughout the day regardless of the challenges I face before me.”
You may choose your own words that resonate with you. What you are essentially doing is affirming that you are more likely to have a successful day if you start the day with a positive attitude and mindset. By articulating what your attitude will be that day, you are more likely to remain positive.
If you do lapse, don’t beat yourself up. Consider playing tennis lesson for the first time. You can’t expect to master a forehand, overhead, background and a lob in one lesson. A golfer who picks up a club for the first time doesn’t immediately become a scratch golfer. You can’t drop 20 pounds in weight after a single diet meal and you can’t gain peak fitness after a single visit to the gym.
“Attitudes are nothing more than habits of thought and habits can be acquired. An action repeated becomes an attitude realized.” – Paul Myer
Like any new habit, it takes time and like guitar strings that constantly need re-tuning, so might your attitude.
Don’t punish yourself into a scrap heap of failure of you are unable to maintain a positive attitude throughout the day. At the end of each day, rate yourself on your attitude and resolve to make tomorrow better if you do lapse. Better still find a friend who also wants to improve their attitude and keep each accountable to a higher standard.
The best way to create a positive attitude is to fire the negative people in your life and avoid the naysayers.
The Power of Attitude
Never underestimate the importance of cultivating a positive attitude. Also never underestimate the importance of also maintaining a positive attitude. A positive attitude keeps your energy levels high, your soul alive and allows you to burn brightly instead of burning out.
Most people think success goes in a straight line from point A to point B. The reality is, that your journey is filled with potholes and detours along the way. It’s your attitude that separates those who succeed and those who don’t. Consider Abraham Lincoln.
- He failed in business in 1831
- He was defeated in the State Legislature in 1832.
- Tried another business in 1833 which also failed.
- He had a nervous breakdown in 1836.
- He ran for Congress in 1843 and was defeated.
- He ran for Congress in 1848 and was defeated again.
- In 1855 he lost his race for the Senate.
- He ran again for the Senate in 1859 and lost again.
In 1860 Abraham Lincoln was elected the 16th President of the United States and the rest is history. What got him through so many setbacks? His attitude.
“The only thing that stands between a person and what they want in life is the will to try it and the faith to believe it’s possible.” – Rich Devos
Your attitude determines your levels of success and failure. The ability to face challenges successfully and moving on in life comes down to having a positive attitude.
A positive attitude is a key to living a positive life. A positive attitude helps you cope better with the daily challenges you are likely to face. A positive attitude helps to lead you out of the darkest times when you are faced with adversity.
On a final note
Don’t underestimate the importance of having a positive attitude. Don’t underestimate the importance of maintaining it. Your attitude ties in directly to your inner voice that forces you to answer the question Are you moving forward towards your dream?
When you adopt a positive attitude in life you are more likely to succeed.