My last column about attitude being a choice (“Choose your Attitude”) prompted a lot of positive discussion and feedback. It also got me thinking that we only really scratched the surface of attitude as a topic and that it would be useful to have a closer look and delve a bit deeper.
Attitude can be defined as a general feeling, our manner of thinking or our general disposition. Often we think of attitude as being on a scale with “pessimistic” at one end and “optimistic” at the other. I’m sure we’ve all classified people around us as being “glass half empty or glass half full”, at one end of the scale or the other.
It’s influenced by a lifetime of experiences, our beliefs and values, our self esteem, physical and mental health, circumstances and situations and our own awareness of how we operate.
Attitude is a life response mechanism, and as I pretty firmly stated in “Choose your Attitude” we get to choose what our attitude will be no matter the situation we find ourselves in, the people we are surrounded by or our general personality.
A healthy attitude allows us to respond to situations in a balanced and even manner
giving us some control back even in unpleasant circumstances. Unfortunately a healthy or positive attitude doesn’t mean life won’t throw foul things at us, it will. A healthy attitude does allow us to deal with them in a manner that helps us to be more resilient, preserve our wellbeing and make life more fulfilling long term.
Now count me in for that!
When your attitude is healthy others are more likely to enjoy being around you and the opportunity to make friends, meet partners and enjoy a real connection with people is increased. The short of it is, you are more attractive!
We’ve learned that meaningful connection with others opens up opportunities, leads to us being happier, more fulfilled, healthier and feeling supported when life takes a turn for the worse.
When life does toss muck at us people with a healthy attitude are more likely to ask “what happened there?”, “what can I learn from that?”, “what worked and what didn’t?”, “what do I need to do to avoid the same situation the future?”. They ask questions, take responsibility for their part in a situation and learn for the future even though that can be quite challenging and confronting.
The reverse is true for an unhealthy or constantly negative attitude. The “bad attitude” can push people away, personally and professionally, it can build a wall that shuts others out. Life can become quite solitary and withdrawn. Those who have an unhealthy attitude are often perceived as angry, selfish and arrogant. The rub is that often this attitude can mistakenly be used as a protective mechanism for people who are fearful and have a low self esteem. It creates a vicious cycle.
Ok then, I hear you sigh, what can we do about our attitude?
Here are my top tips to help polish up your attitude –
Firstly look at what your general attitude really is – honestly
Then take a good look at your – beliefs and life values.
– your family influences.
– your cultural influences.
– your life experiences.
– the people around you and their attitudes.
How have these things influenced you?
What unhealthy attitude hot spots are there?
If you’ve identified any hot spots consider what your past attitude/responses have been and what you want your future attitude/responses of choice to be.
Attitude affects every area of our lives, body, mind and soul
You control your attitude, not outside influences
Figure out what helps you to be more positive (do these things more often) and what tends to influence you negatively (do these things less, preferably not at all)
Changing our attitude can take time – it requires commitment, intent and practice. The benefits, however, are ongoing.