In case you didn’t know, let me introduce Attitude, our best friend. How many times have we heard the phrase “attitude is everything”? How many times have we told family or friends to change their attitude? I have to confess; I say it a lot to my kids. How many times have people said to us that we need to change our attitude?
The thing is that at some point in our lives, someone has told us that to be happy and successful in life, we must have a good and positive attitude. I completely agree with that statement. However, how hard it is to have a good and positive attitude all the time, mostly when life hits us hard. So, before trying to put the word attitude into action, let’s first understand what attitude is.
What is attitude?
A predisposition or a tendency to respond positively or negatively towards a certain idea, object, person, or situation. Attitude influences an individual’s choice of action, and responses to challenges, incentives, and rewards (together called stimuli)
Now, where do we get that predisposition or tendency? Are we born with it or we learn it? I found out that the answer is both. We all are born with special characteristics and qualities, called personality, that contribute to form our attitudes. But also and more importantly, we form our attitudes from:
- The environment around us
- Our beliefs
- What we hear
- What we feel
- Our self-esteem
- Past and new experiences
- Family and people who have an influence on us
As we can see, we get the predisposition or tendency to respond positively or negatively about something from things we learn through our lives. That is why our attitudes are not static. They can change or to say it better: we can change them if we want to.
10 Thoughts about "attitude"
While researching about attitude, I had the chance to read the book Attitude 101 by John C. Maxwell, which I genuinely recommend if you want to dig deeper into this topic. It was very revealing the way he explains the power attitude has on us. Here are a few things he wrote about attitude that in my opinion, resume very well the most important characteristics of attitude:
It is the “advance man” of our true selves.
Its roots are inward, but its fruit is outward.
It is our best friends or our worst enemy
It is more honest and more consistent than our words
It is an outward look based on past experiences.
It is a thing which draws people to us or repels them.
It is never content until it is expressed.
It is the librarian of our past.
It is the speaker of our present.
It is the prophet of our future.
So, if attitude is everything Dr. Maxwell says it is, and have that much power, what can we do to make sure it becomes our best friend and not our worst enemy? How can we change our mindset to have a predisposition to respond most of the time positively?
After all my reading and listening about attitude, I want to share three steps I think can help us put the word Atittude (our best friend) into action:
3 steps to help us put the word Atittude into action:
- Acknowledge: First, we need to be aware of our attitudes for any object, person, issue, or event and determine if they are positive or negative (Read my post about Awareness is the Key to Everything) Sometimes we don’t realize we have a negative attitude, but usually, there will be that “someone” who will let us know.
- Reflect: If we realize we have a negative attitude, we need to take the time to think about our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. This means, we need to identify the thoughts and feelings that we are having and re-evaluate if they are worthy of making us have a bad attitude. We also need to think about our behavior, which is a consequence of our attitude. Let’s ask ourselves, does it make sense to behave like this? A lot of times we use our attitude as punishment. The question is, who are we punishing with our behavior, others or ourselves?
- Choose: After we take our time to reflect, we then have to decide and choose if we want to change our attitude or not. Let’s remember that attitude can be our best friend or our worst enemy, so choosing to change a negative attitude will always be our best choice.
Positive Attitude (our best friend)
When I think about someone with a positive attitude, the first thing that comes to my mind is the way he/she behaves. This person is usually:
- Always wanting to help
- Focusing on the good things
- Contagious of good energy
- A good listener
- See things others can’t
This is what I would call the best person ever. Don’t you think? This is the easiest way to explain why attitude is our best friend.
Negative Attitude (our worst enemy)
Let’s start by thinking about some typical situations that tend to lead us into negative attitude and reflect how frequently we get into this:
- Doing something we don’t like to do
- Being in a place we don’t want to be
- Feeling more important than someone else
- When things don’t go the way we want
Can you relate to any of these situations?
When we have a negative attitude, we are usually in a bad mood, grounchy, we complain, do not want to talk, fight, we are less productive, usually we don’t obtain the best results, repeal people, do not see opportunities, and so on. As we can see, we don’t get anything good from it. That is why attitude in the incorrect form, becomes our worst enemy
3 Tips to Change a Negative Attitude:
- Change our thoughts so we can change our feelings: we need to learn to choose our thoughts very carefully. Negative thoughts are destructive, and we should not let them get into our minds because once they get in, they start producing destructive feelings that will lead to a negative attitude. We need to see our mind as our house. In our house, we choose who gets in and who doesn’t. Negative thoughts are our enemies. We must close the door and do not let them get inside.
- Be gratefull: Every time we have a bad or negative attitude about something, let’s start by giving thanks. This will help us to change our thoughts and feelings from bad to good. Let’s make a mental list of 20 things we are grateful for. We, humans, tend to complain too much for little things. We complain about our jobs, our boss, our kids, our chores, our spouses, our body, the weather, the traffic, etc. For us, it is easier to see all the bad instead of the good things we have. How can we have a good and positive attitude if we only see the problems and not the opportunities that even our problems bring to us?
- Have a purpose: We also can call it, something that motivates us and makes us feels happy, useful and worthy. Something that fills us with energy and gives us a reason to wake up every morning. The important thing is that it has to be something we do because we want to, not because we have to. One of my motivations right now is this blog. I love doing it, I don’t have to do it. I do it because of me but more importantly because I feel it can be inspiring to anyone who reads it. Having a purpose makes us happy, excited about what is coming next, and wanting to do more. It helps us have a positive attitude about life.
"The Light Bulb Effect" by Victor Küppers
I love the theory of Victor Küppers about “The Light Bulb Effect” and the Importance of Attitude.” He explains that all of us are like light bulbs, the difference is that some people go through life at 30,000W and some people are just fused. Why? He says that one of the causes is because we focus too much on everything that goes wrong and not on what goes right. He also says that in life, we have “dramas” and “circumstances to solve.” Some examples of “dramas” are getting a terminal illness, the death of someone we love, or losing our jobs and not having money to feed our kids. Those are terrible dramas that will need special attention. If we don’t have “dramas,” what we have is “circumstances to solve,” and we should not be complaining about them. Instead, we should help those people who have “dramas” and be grateful for everything that is working in our lives. If we don’t have “dramas,” we don’t have the right to lose our joy.
I genuinely think that giving thanks and appreciating everything we have makes a big difference in us and in our attitude.
Attitude is something we can choose and change only if we want to. It could be a good and positive attitude (our best friend) or a bad and negative attitude (our worst enemy). We always want to choose the best friend. Right? As a best friend, attitude will attract good people and things to us. It will let us see new opportunities, be open to learning, be more productive, be better teammates, and enjoy life more. My commitment to myself: I want attitude to be my best friend!
Here are two questions for you:
- What other benefits do you think positive attitude gives to us?
- Who do you know has “Attitude” as a best friend?
Here is a link of Victor Küppers TEDx Talk about Attitude. It is in Spanish, because I couln’t find it in English but you can turn on the subtitles through settings and the auto-translate. Please take the time to watch!
I will be sharing my Attitude thoughts on Instagram and Facebook. Please check them out!
Get this FREE Printable Design about ATTITUDE to remind yourself who is your best friend
Easy to download, high resolution image to print at home or favorite local or online print shop in any of the following sizes: 5 x 7, 8 x 10, 11 x 14, 16 x 20 and 18 x 24. To download, click the green bottom bellow.