Recent events remind me of the supreme importance of mental attitude. Attitude trumps all. So what is attitude, really? It’s a set of thoughts (and the accompanying emotions) about a certain person, thing, or situation. We usually think of attitude in emotional terms, as in a mood, yet there’s always an explanation (a why) that goes with it:
- Someone feels angry and frustrated every time they think of an old friend, because they feel hurt the last time they saw them. Their attitude: hurt, upset.
- Someone feels excited about some forthcoming business opportunity, because they envision success and riches coming to them. Their attitude: excited and expectant.
Our mental attitude affects everything it focuses on. Norman Vincent Peale’s famous self-help classic “The Power of Positive Thinking” was basically all about mental attitude.
Recently I got reminded of the importance of taking control of my mental attitude. I was dealing with a situation I found very frustrating, where I blamed someone for something and often got upset. Recently the upset reached a crescendo. I finally confronted my own attitude. Did I want to continue being upset, frustrated, and resentful? Obviously not! Through this process I found my way to a positive attitude, where I took responsibility for my own thinking, and adopted an appreciation for the situation and the other person involved. I even spoke to this person from my appreciative place, and the conversation went very well. It didn’t immediately shift the situation, which has its own built-in challenges. However, by taking charge of my attitude and coming from a generous place, I transformed the dynamic for myself and probably for the other person, who expressed appreciation for the way I approached him.
The experience made me keenly aware of the impact of my new positive attitude. Before, my negative attitude invited unhappy outcome, or at the least, me getting upset as I stewed in silence. Taking hold of my attitude created an opportunity for positive communication, which further transformed the situation.
I am inspired to adopt a positive attitude wherever I can!