We’ve all heard the sayings about attitude. Things like: “Your attitude determines your altitude”, “Attitude is everything”, and “The only thing you can control is your attitude”. Let’s face it. No one is against having a positive attitude. It’s kind of like mom and apple pie. There’s nothing to be against.
But attitude has an interesting dynamic around it. I’ve observed, for instance, that people with a positive attitude tend to hang out together and people with a negative attitude also hang out together. Of course, each group tends to support the views of each other person within their group. The positive people see themselves as optimistic and forward thinking. The negative people see themselves as realists. Also, each group tends to view the other group somewhat unfavorably. The people in the positive group tend to look at the negative group as complainers and pessimists, while the negative group tends to view the positive group as naïve and unrealistic. I guess it’s a matter of your perspective. Each group feels they have an accurate view of reality – or more precisely, THE accurate view of reality.
I’ve also noticed very different behaviors in people depending on their attitude. Attitude not only determines how a person sees things, but it affects their actions as well. Our attitude determines our perspective, which in turn determines our reality. How does attitude and perspective affect our reality? Let me share a story as an example. A number of years ago I had a friend who became focused on the potential problems surrounding the change of the millennium (Y2K). As he began to “research” the topic (read that as “obsess” over it), the foretelling of upcoming disaster became his reality. The more he listened to radio talk shows the more he accepted their topics as “reality”. The more articles he read on the subject the more he accepted those doomsday reports as “reality”. And the more websites he visited, the more he accepted their perspectives about Y2K as “reality”. By the end of December he had stockpiled water and food, and was pleading with me to move up to the mountains to escape the impending terrorist attacks, falling planes, food shortages, crashing cars, and lack of water. Of course, January 1, 2000 came and went without incident.
Our attitude creates our reality. But be clear, it’s OUR reality, not THE reality. I’ve observed that positive people tend to view challenges as speed bumps while negative people see them as obstacles standing in the way of success. Negative people have their thoughts and energies focused on the problems and the consequences of the problems, and often adopt a defeatist mindset, taking on the role of a victim. In contrast, positive people generally focus their thoughts and energies on succeeding despite the problems, adopting a solution-oriented mindset and set about creating their own opportunities.
Having a positive attitude indeed makes a significant difference not only in a person’s level of success, but also in their enjoyment of their life. It even determines whether they succeed at all. Therefore, it becomes imperative to adopt a positive attitude.
But here’s the unusual thing… No one views himself or herself as a negative person!
People who take a negative view consider themselves to be “realistic”. (Wait a minute… isn’t “reality” a matter of perspective?) How can you determine whether you are realistic and not someone who is “negative”? Here are a few points to reflect on:
- If you feel that your course in life and business is determined by others, then you need to adjust your attitude so you can shift your reality.
- If you feel that the cards are often stacked against you, then you need to adjust your attitude so you can change your reality.
- If you feel that your company, manager, and/or clients don’t support you, then you need to adjust your attitude so you can change your reality.
How does someone turn a negative attitude into a positive one? The same way someone with a positive attitude maintains it. You need to eliminate the negative inputs, influences, and factors in your life and replace them with positive ones. We’re bombarded with messages from family, friends, co-workers, radio, newspaper, TV, music, the internet, billboards, books, and magazines throughout the day and night. Some of them are good and some of them are just plain bad for you. If YOU don’t decide what goes into your head, then someone else will. Here are some steps to take to adjust and maintain your attitude:
- Stop reading the newspaper
- Stop watching TV news
- Stop seeking the negative on the internet
- Stop hanging around negative people
- Start hanging around positive people
- Start reading motivational or inspirational books – biographies, personal growth, success principles, etc.
- Start listening to positive programs – motivational, personal growth, uplifting music, etc.
Does attitude really count? Can attitude really change your reality? I guess it depends on your perspective…