Football coach, Lou Holtz said, “Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”
Attitude is everything! Before you roll your eyes, please keep in mind that I’m not saying that everything always has to be positive, or that negative events don’t occur. Nor am I saying that you “should” always be happy even when “bad” things are happening. We’re human and we react or respond to the world around us. Sadness, frustration or even anger are all very human emotions and are normal to experience.
However, one of the most important steps you can take toward achieving your greatest potential in life is to learn to monitor your attitude and its impact on your work performance, relationships and everyone around you. Additionally, attitudes are contagious, so your attitude affects your family, friends and coworkers every day, just as their attitudes affect you.
Let’s start with what attitude you brought to work today. Most of us don’t generally have a high level of attitude awareness, but attitude governs the way we perceive the world and the way the world perceives us, so it’s worth a little effort to check in each day to determine where our attitude lies.
We all have a choice. We can choose an inner dialogue of self-motivation and self-encouragement, or we can choose one of self-pity and self-defeat. Each of us will encounter challenging events, hurt feelings, physical and emotional pain, and perhaps even heartache. The key is to realize that it’s not what happens to us that matters, but how we choose to respond.
According to Keith Harrell from Success.com, the loudest and most influential voice you hear is your own inner voice; your self critic. It can work for or against you, depending on the messages you allow. It can be optimistic or pessimistic. It can wear you down or cheer you on. You can choose, but only if you consciously take responsibility for and control over your inner conversation.
Habitual bad attitudes are often the product of past experiences and events. Common causes include low self-esteem, stress, fear, resentment, anger and an inability to handle change. It takes serious work to examine the roots of a harmful attitude, but the rewards of ridding ourselves of this heavy baggage can last a lifetime.
Keith Harrell at Success.com suggests these four strategies in his article, “Why Your Attitude is Everything,” to improve your attitude:
1. The Power of Visualization
Studies of the psychology of peak performance have found that most great athletes, surgeons, engineers and artists use affirmations and visualizations either consciously or subconsciously to enhance and focus their skills. Nelson Mandela has written extensively on how visualization helped him maintain a positive attitude while being imprisoned for 27 years. Mandela wrote in his autobiography, “I thought continually of the day when I would walk free. I fantasized about what I would like to do.” This is an excellent example of how visualization works effectively to improve attitude.
2. Attitude Talk for Positive Internal Dialogue
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. Your internal conversation—that little voice you listen to all day long—acts like a seed in that it programs your brain and affects your behavior. Take a closer look at what you are saying to yourself and self-correct negative self-talk.
3. The Power of Words—WOW
Learn the concept of WOW—watch our words. What we speak reflects what is already in our hearts based upon all the things we have come to believe about ourselves. 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. You can create a direct path to success by what you say.
4. Enthusiasm: Vital Tool for Staying Motivated
Enthusiasm is to attitude what breathing is to life. Enthusiasm enables us to apply our gifts more effectively. It’s the burning desire that communicates commitment, determination and spirit. Enthusiasm means putting ourselves in motion. It’s an internal spirit that speaks through our actions from our commitment and our belief in what we are doing. It is one of the most empowering and attractive characteristics we can have.
We can start strengthening our attitude awareness today. What attitude are you projecting?
Have a mindful week,