Have you heard the saying, “Attitude Is Everything”? While attitude might not really be “everything”, it is the single most significant determining factor of success in many situations. Here’s how it works:
Change your attitude and you automatically change:
- your perspective
- the way you interpret things
- the decisions you make
- the actions you take
- the results you get
Changing your attitude can get you there more quickly, but it can also get you there in style, enjoying the ride more fully. This ShortCut is for everyone, because even if you have a great attitude already, it could always be better. It doesn’t matter if you have a little goal or a massive dream, a small annoyance or a huge problem, shifting your attitude will help, and it might just radically transform your situation.
People tend to think of an attitude as being simply positive or negative. However, there are infinite possibilities such as: warm, friendly, confident, determined, unstoppable, silly, playful, easy-going, outrageous, peaceful, open-minded, compassionate, optimistic, and all of their negative counterparts. You can ultimately become very creative and experiment with different attitudes for different situations, which will lead you to being more powerful and effective.
Here’s the problem. We often think it’s hard or impossible to change our attitudes, so we don’t try. The truth is that it’s easy to change your attitude, if you know how.
Another big problem is that we tend to think our attitude is born of the situation. We think our attitude is the right attitude for the way things are. Therefore, our attitude goes unexamined and unquestioned. Almost everybody is guilty of this, however, our attitude is completely optional and flexible. It is possible to have any attitude in any situation, and there are no ultimate “right” attitudes for particular situations.
We also tend to think of our attitudes as part of our identities. We think, “It’s just the way I am.” We tend to think of our personalities as static things. In fact, when faced with a new challenge or situation, we make split second decisions about how to respond, and what attitude to adopt, based on our idea of “who we think we are”. In this way, we perpetually re-create our attitudes, whether they be negative and dis-empowering or positive and self-empowering. While our personalities, and the attitudes that go with them, may appear to be somewhat static, they only appear that way because we keep making the same choices (often unconsciously) over and over again, moment to moment. The truth is that you can change “who you’re being”, and you can change your attitude, at any moment.
How To Shift Your Attitude
Intention – Decide what attitude you want to have, then set your intention to adopt that attitude. Frequently, this is all that is necessary to shift your attitude dramatically.
Break Your Pattern – If you catch yourself with a bad attitude, it can be useful to do something radical and surprising to break your pattern: jump up and down, dance in a circle, poor ice water over your head, sing at the top of your lungs, whistle a silly tune, put on some great music, or whatever to break your pattern. Then create a fresh attitude.
Role Models – Find people who are getting the kind of results you would like to be getting. Watch them carefully to see what kind of attitude they have and how they express that attitude. Copy them.
Surround Yourself with Positive People – Attitudes are contagious. Who you surround yourself with and spend time with is probably influencing your attitudes way more than you are consciously aware. Enough said.
Ask Better Questions – We are constantly asking ourselves questions. Most of the time this is not a very conscious process. For example, something bad happens and we ask ourselves, “Why Me?” Our minds start to find answers to that question, effectively building a case for why bad things happen to us, leading to a bad attitude, leading to more bad things happening. Make a list of the most empowering questions you can think of, and ask those instead. The possibilities are infinite. Here are a few to get you started:
- How can I turn this problem into an opportunity?
- What would I do if I was already very successful?
- Who do I need to be to achieve my dream?
- What would my future (successful) self do?
Fake It ‘Till You Make It – If adopting a new attitude feels difficult or awkward, just fake it ’till you make it. It really works. Act as if you have that attitude. Walk like someone with that attitude. Talk like they would talk. Breathe like they would breathe. Make the decisions they would make, etc.
Expose Yourself to Empowering Messages – Feeding your mind positive messages on a regular basis can really impact your attitude. You can read books, listen to recordings, go to seminars, etc.
Meditation – One of the things meditation is great for is supporting you to slow down and notice that your personality is not so static. Your personality, and the attitudes that accompany it, are something that you generate from moment to moment. This is an empowering realization.
Play with Perspectives – If you have a problem or a goal that you’re not making enough progress on, it can be useful to play with perspectives. This loosens up your attitude, and helps you discover new possible attitudes. Get creative and try looking at your situation from several different perspectives.
For example, you can ask yourself:
- What would a child’s perspective be?
- An elders?
- How would I approach this if I knew I could not fail?
- What would Jesus/Buddha do?
- What would be the CEO’s perspective?
- What would an expert think?
- What is the customer’s perspective?
- What would be the perspective of a wealthy person?
- A poor person?
- What would (person you admire) do?
- What would my future self say?, etc. (the possibilities are endless)
Give Up Reasons and Excuses – This is a big one. We tend to stubbornly hold onto our attitudes. They become habits. We learn to justify them. We have reasons and excuses for them. You can choose to give up all of your reasons and excuses. Just give them up! Would you rather have your reasons and excuses, or would you rather get results?
Reminders – Write the attitude you want to adopt down on a post-it note and put it somewhere so that you’ll see it regularly. Ask a friend to remind you. Set an alarm that goes off every hour, etc. You get the idea.
Change Your Belief(s) – If the above techniques don’t work, you probably have an underlying negative belief that needs changing. For example, imagine a woman who believes all men are lying cheats. She would have a very hard time trying to create a positive attitude about dating. The above techniques will work to change most negative beliefs, but sometimes changing a stubborn belief requires stronger measures. However, that is the topic of a future post.
Exercise – Creating An Empowering Attitude
Step 1 – Choose either a goal that you are having trouble achieving, or a stubborn problem that won’t seem to go away. Write it down.
Step 2 – Write down your current attitude or attitudes about this goal or problem.
Step 3 – Decide what attitude you want to have. Write it down. If choosing a new attitude is not easy, use the above technique: “Play With Perspective” to explore new possibilities.
Step 4 – Set your intention to adopt the new attitude. Choose one or more of the above techniques to support you in adopting the new attitude. Write down the technique(s) you will use.
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