One of the most important steps we can take toward achieving our greatest potential in life is to learn to monitor our attitude and its impact on our work performance, relationships, everything and everyone around us. I generally start my meetings or any conversation by asking a fundamental question: What attitude did we bring with us into the meeting or a conversation? More often, this brings puzzled looks. In truth, people generally don’t have a high level of attitude awareness. They’ll know when they are hungry or when their feet’s hurt, but they usually don’t have a good handle on their attitude. That is a mistake because we all know that attitude is everything. It governs the way we perceive the world and the way the world perceives us.
We all have a choice. We can choose an inner dialogue of self-encouragement and self-motivation, or we can choose one of self-defeat and self-pity. It is all on us and our choice is what defines our way ahead and future. It’s the power we all have within us but not many either know about it or use it. Each of us encounters hard times, hurt feelings, heartache, and physical and emotional pain. The key is to realize it’s not what happens to us that matters; it’s how we choose to respond afterwards is what will matter in the end of it all. Our mind is like a computer that can be programmed. We can choose whether the software installed is productive or unproductive. Our inner dialogue is the software that programs our attitude, which determines how we present ourselves to the world around us. We have control over the programming. Whatever we put into it is reflected in what comes out. So, the reflection of ours changes basis the programming we have done for ourselves.
Many of us have behavior patterns today that was programmed into our brains starting at a very tender age. The information that was recorded by our brains could have been completely inaccurate or cruel. The sad reality of life is that we will continue to hear negative information, but we don’t have to program it into our brains to correct the same or make that much needed change. The loudest and most influential voice we hear is our own inner voice, our self-critic. It can work for or against us, depending on the messages we allow it to listen to and what we process. It can be optimistic or pessimistic. It can wear us down or cheer us on. We control the sender and the receiver, but only if we consciously take responsibility for and control over our inner conversation.
Habitual bad attitudes are often the product of past experiences and events. They have been built over a long time and hence the most difficult to get rid of, but with focus and push its very much possible to change them too if we are willing to. Common causes of imbibing such bad habits 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.
Here are a few strategies that have helped me to improve my attitude overall:
1. Affirmative Self-Coaching: Affirmations repeated several times each day, every day, serve to reprogram our subconscious mind with positive thinking. An affirmation is made up of words charged with power, conviction and faith. We send a positive response to our subconscious mind, which accepts whatever we tell it. When done properly, this triggers positive feelings that, in turn, drive action.
2. Self-Motivation: Discover what motivates us, what incites us to take action to change our life. Basic motives include love, self-preservation, anger, financial gain and fear. Self-motivation requires enthusiasm, a positive outlook, a positive physiology (walk faster, smile, sit up), and a belief in ourselves and our God-given potential.
3. 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. “I thought continually of the day when I would walk free. I fantasized about what I would like to do,” he wrote in his autobiography. Visualization works very well to improve attitude.
4. Attitude Talk: Attitude talk is a way to override our past negative programming by erasing or replacing it with a conscious, positive internal voice that helps we face new directions. Our internal conversation—that little voice we listen to all day long—acts like a seed in that it programs our brain and affects our behavior. Take a closer look at what we are saying to ourselves and we will see where the actual problem is and how we can correct that.
5. The Power of Words—WOW: Once released to the universe, our words cannot be taken back. We need to 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. We can create a direct path to success by what we say.
6. The Power of Positive Greeting: When people ask me how I am doing, I say, “Super-fantastic.” Most people enjoy working and living with others who try to live life for what it is—a beautiful gift.
7. Enthusiasm: 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.
8. Connecting to our Spiritual Empowerment: The ultimate level of human need extends into the spiritual realm. Just as we feed our bodies in response to our primary need to survive physically, we need to feed our spirit because we all are spiritual beings. Many people find powerful and positive motivation in their faith. I happen to be one of them.
9. Humor: Humor is a powerful motivator. The more humor and laughter in our life, the less stress we’ll have, which means more positive energy to help we put our attitude into action. There are also health benefits to lightening up your mind and self.
10. Exercising: One of the best ways to move to a more positive and motivated frame of mind is to exercise. A regular exercise routine can provide relatively quick positive feedback in the form of weight loss, muscle development and a sense of doing something positive for ourselves.
In the end I would only like to add that “It is no secret that life seems to reward us most when we approach the world with a positive attitude.”
Stay Positive, Stay Happy, Stay Energised!!