What Attitude Means To Me
Felt like talking about attitude today. We keep hearing this word all the time, in various contexts. Various definitions of the word have been splashed around everywhere. If you google this word, it will throw up literally thousands, if not millions, of results. Some technical, some easy to understand. Some absolutely mind-boggling.
We also hear the word being used in our day to day conversation, but in most cases, the context is twisted. One common phrase that we often hear is “He / She’s got attitude” or “He / She has got an attitude problem”. So often used, but so often used without any real understanding of what attitude really is. More often than not, these phrases are actually used in the derogatory sense, or as sarcasm. Ask the same people to explain what they really mean when they use these phrases, and they will be at a loss to give a plausible explanation. What the explanation will bring forth, however, is their own (negative ?) feelings towards an individual.
Talk to motivational speakers and leaders, and they would have a completely different viewpoint on what attitude really is. Attitude is a predisposition. Attitude is how we feel. Attitude drives our behaviour. Attitude is everything. My absolute favourite one is – Attitude is a Decision. It certainly is. WE decide our attitudes, and our attitudes drive our actions. There is nothing neutral about attitude. It is either good or bad. Positive or negative. Black or white. And it is very much within our power to decide which one to pick. We can decide to be positive about everything, and adopt a positive attitude. Trust me, if you do, not only would you have a great day ahead, you would also infect everyone with the same feeling. And if you decide to be negative, well that’s how things will turn out to be. Beacause if positive attitude is infectious, so is negative attitude. Don’t believe me ? Try it out for yourself.
Those who have watched the educational film called “FISH” would recall all too well why people at the the featured fish market are so positive and full of energy. Not only do they have fun at work, they also infect their customers with the same feeling of fun. If you haven’t seen it, then I suggest you do so. Do a google search for “Fish” or “The Fish Philosophy” and you will find it, at least you will be able to find some good powerpoint presentation. Several lessons to be learnt there, and not just all are about customer service and teamwork. Good customer service and teamwork are just by-products of good attitude. People with bad attitudes never made great team players and neither can they be successful in customer service. Sorry, let me rephrase that. People with bad attitudes can never be successful. At least not in the interpersonal sense. They may become successful to some extent financially, but as far as having good relations with people is concerned, they will always remain poor.
Not only do we not choose our own attitudes, in doing so we also define our actions. Wake up in the morning some day with bad feelings, and decide you are going to be nasty to everyone you meet. See for yourself how the day goes, and see for your self how many toes you step on ! Or, reverse the scenario, and decide when you wake up that today is going to be a beautiful day, and nothing can go wrong. Nothing can spoil your mood. See for yourself the results you produce.
Equally relevant here is the 90 / 10 principle. Those familiar with Stephen Covey would immediately connect with what I am saying. If ever there was a life changing principle, it is this. Read it, accept it, and implement it. It is easy to blame events on circumstances, but most of the times, circumstances can be a result of a bad attitude too. Even if they are not, things get a lot worse when the attitude is wrong. The principle says that 10% of life is made up of what happens to you. 90% of life is decided by how you react. There can be no truer words than these. Take the case of Dr Randy Pausch, who knew that he was dying of cancer, and did not have much time remaining. A circumstance not of his making. So did he let that dictate how he was going to live the rest of whatever remained of his life ? The answer is no. I would rather not try to put this in my own words, and instead, I would prefer that you watched this video of the great man. Every time i watch this video, it has a humbling, and yet at the same time, a highly motivating effect on me.
To sum up, a beautiful quote, which, incidentally, is also my email signature, comes to my mind. It is a quote by Scott Hamilton, who says “The only disability in life is a bad attitude”. Think about that. I mean, really reflect upon it. Most things that go wrong in life can be attributed to a bad attitude. In fact, even a physical disability can be overcome with the right attitude. But the worst disability to afflict an individual is a bad attitude, no matter how physically healthy and active the person is.