Human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitude of their mind. We have all heard of the power of positive thinking and how much good it can do. But, have you ever heard of how a person with a negative/bad attitude can ruin his life? Positive and negative attitudes both are very powerful but they take a person in two opposite directions. Attitude applies to every sphere of a person’s life, including personal and professional life. Attitude is the foundation of our success, regardless of any field we choose.
How do we form attitudes?
During our childhood, we all form attitudes that last a lifetime. The 3 E’s – Environment, Experience, and Education – usually shape our attitudes. A child typically assimilates the culture and practices followed in their home. If you come across a child that is kind and courteous, so will the parents in most cases. If you come across a child that is rude and violent, so will the parents. There is a culture running in the house.
Parents or any elders living in the house are like role models to the children and they often pick up on the things that adults do. So we have to lead by example! The kind of experiences we go through also shape our attitudes. For example, if we have a positive experience with a person our attitude towards him is likely to be positive. Similarly, if I have a negative experience with a person I tend to be a little cautious around him. Education is another important factor that helps build attitude. We all have multiple degrees and a lot of information. But the question is are we Wise? Are we knowledgeable?
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Can I change my Attitude?
Does a negative attitude, whether by design or default, stick with you for your entire life? No! Can you change your attitude? Yes, you can. Is it easy? Of course not!
If you have attained a positive attitude during your childhood will you remain the same all your life? No, you always have to make an effort to maintain it.
These are some things you can do to develop a positive attitude:
A) Focus on the Positive:
Here is a story of a man named Jack Karnegi. He once bought a dog that could fly and walk on water! He was so excited and wanted to show this to his friend. So, he called up his friend and asked him to come over to his lake-side house for duck hunting. As his friend came over, Jack took his friend and his dog to the lake and shot a few ducks. Jack asked his bird dog to fetch those hunted ducks for him from the lake. His dog walked on the water and fetched all the ducks one after the other. Jack was expecting his friend to compliment him on how amazing his dog was but never got one! So, he asked his friend, ‘Did you notice anything unusual about this dog?’. So his friend says, ‘Yes. Your dog cannot swim !’.
The moral of this story is: Some people fail to see all the positive things they have, in spite of it being so obvious.
Focusing on the positive doesn’t mean that you have to ignore all the wrongdoings or accept everything. It means that you have to be solution focused rather than problem-focused.
B) Do Not Procrastinate:
We have all done this at least once in our life. Procrastination is the habit of delaying or postponing something. Most people procrastinate because they are scared of what the consequences might be! The more we procrastinate the higher price we ought to pay. We should practice the phrase “do it now” if we want to develop a positive attitude. Phrases like, “I wish I had”, “I should have”, “It might have been”, and “if only I had extra time”, are only excuses for Procrastinators. Some people wait for the right time to come, but remember there is nothing called the right time! “Now” is the right time.
Here’s a beautiful poem by James Albery :
“He slept beneath the moon
He basked beneath the sun
He lived a life of going to do
And died with nothing done.”
C) Practice Gratitude:
We should never forget what others have done for us and never remember what we have done for others. We have to count our blessings and not our troubles. Sometimes in life, we are so focused on complaining about the things that we don’t have, that we lose sight of the things that we have. Being grateful for the things we have in life, makes our life more peaceful. Complaints about the things we don’t have leaves us unsatisfied in life. Gratitude is a great philosophy to live by. It keeps us grounded.
D) Learn Everyday :
In today’s tech-based world, we are all drowning in information. Every answer to your question is just a click away. We have all the information, but are we wise? What’s the difference between a person who can read and a person who can’t? Benjamin Franklin says, “Not a whole lot”. Learning is a lot like eating. It’s not how much you eat that matters, it’s how much you can digest. In this case, we have a lot of information/knowledge, but are we using it the right way?
We have a lot of skills, but do we have the desire to use our skills for the betterment of society? That desire to use our skill is called Competence.
Education shouldn’t just be limited to grades and degrees. It has to cultivate our strength, teach us self-discipline and an ability to listen to others, develop an eagerness to learn, and develop other characteristics that lead to a successful life.
Renowned author Shiv Khera in his book says, “A person without formal education can still be successful in life if he has Character, Courage, Commitment, Conviction, Courtesy and competence”.
E) Build Self-Esteem:
Self-esteem is a positive or negative orientation toward oneself; an overall evaluation of one’s worth or value. People are motivated to have high self-esteem, and having it indicates positive self-regard, not egotism. We can build our self-esteem by doing something good to others, even when no one is watching and we get nothing back. You rise a little bit in your own eyes.
There are two kinds of people in this world, Givers and Takers. Givers are always comforting to have around, they serve the people around them selflessly without expecting anything in return, they have high self-esteem and are optimistic. On the other hand, givers always find time to listen to others and serve them, while takers are constantly wrapped up in their own problems. They have low self-esteem and are usually pessimistic.
You feel good when you do good. You do good only when you be good.
F) Avoid Negative Influences :
It’s been said that one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. All negative influences like negative people, addictions like smoking or drinking, etc pull people down by depleting their energy that they could’ve used constructively to achieve something in life.
A person’s character is judged not only by the company he keeps but also by the company he avoids! If you associate yourself with achievers you will become one. If you associate yourself with negative people, you become one! When you achieve something in life, a lot of petty people will take a drag at you. They do that merely out of jealousy. They know that you’ve done something that they could never do. So, avoid these petty people who try to drag you down along with them.
G) Start your day on a Positive note:
When we wake up every morning our mind resembles a blank sheet. If you start on a positive note, you set the right tone for the day. Being in the right frame of mind helps us to make the day highly productive. I usually read or listen to something positive early in the morning. It helps me to stay positive throughout the day and make conscious choices/decisions when I am tangled in tricky situations.
These are some of the things that will help you build a positive attitude. Definitely, these are not easy but aren’t impossible as well.
“We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude”. -Charles R Swindoll