What is Your Attitude of Choice?
One of the great things that I discovered in my personal growth work is that we get to choose our attitude each day. In fact we get to choose our attitude every hour of every day and every minute of every hour of every day.
It is a simple choice. It may not be easy to do sometimes but with practice it will become easier and easier.
Unfortunately many people believe that attitude is something that we are born with; that it is part of our DNA. That simply is not true.
Where does your attitude come from?
It is something that we choose – either consciously or sub-consciously. We either choose the attitude we want or we adopt the attitude of those around us. But if we adopt the attitude of those around us we are choosing their attitude. It is still a choice.
Many people are like I was when I was younger. I blindly adopted my parent’s attitude because I thought that it must be the correct one. Later, I accepted part of my friends’ attitudes which once again proved not to be the correct ones for me.
Only through a lot of soul searching did I arrive at what I consider is the correct attitude for me. Once I realized that it was my choice and that I was responsible for the decision and the consequences, I started taking charge of my own attitude.
We need to make a choice of attitude every day.
Actually it starts the night before when we are going to bed. What do you put into your head before going to sleep? The evening news? Television? Review of your goals? Motivational material? Whatever you put into your head in the time just before going to sleep will be what your subconscious mind will be working on during the night. This is truly a garbage-in, garbage-out situation.
Do you consciously choose your attitude each morning? Most people don’t, they just respond to their external environment.
For example, let’s say that you have to get up early and go to work. When you wake up and you look out the window and it is dark and cloudy and raining and cold. How do you feel? Do you want to curl up in bed and stay there for the day?
You have just chosen your attitude. If you don’t change it you will not make it to work or if you do make it to work you will feel sluggish and unmotivated for the day.
On the other hand if you wake up and the sun is streaming in the window and the birds are chirping, how do you feel? Probably you feel like jumping out of bed and tackling the world. You’re going to clean the house and check your emails and play with your kids before going off to work.
In both these cases we haven’t chosen our attitude we have simply responded to some external conditions. We are up or down based upon the weather outside. This is not a good way to determine your attitude – especially if you live in the state of Washington!
As we see from this example, many people do not wake up in the morning and make a conscious choice of what their attitude is going to be for that day. It would be much better to choose the attitude that we want for the day than simply respond to the external conditions.
This idea of choice is both wonderful and scary. If we choose our attitude; then we are responsible and have no one to blame if things don’t go the right way. If we adopt someone else’s attitude we can blame them if things don’t go our way but what good does that do?
Here is an example of how I changed my attitude and the difference it made in my day:
One day I had a date and I was to pick her up at 6:00 pm to go to a play. I was looking forward to seeing her and spending the evening together. However, at 4:00 pm I decided to check my emails and after about fifteen minutes I felt really down and depressed. This was no condition for going out on a date. What could I do?
I decided to go for a walk and change my attitude. I walked for about half an hour and thought about what had happened. I discovered that one of the emails was from an old girl friend and it was rather distressing. It was the cause of the upset that I was feeling.
At that moment I had to make a choice. Was I going to let what was in that email continue to upset me or was I going to choose a better attitude for the evening? I chose to put that aside for the evening and I chose to have a fun, upbeat attitude for the instead.
When I returned home from my walk at 5:00 pm I had a different attitude and was ready to go on my date and have fun. I did enjoy myself that evening.
Did you see how I changed my attitude? In our next article, we’ll discuss where attitudes come from.
Bruce is a motivational speaker and conducts seminars and workshops based upon the ideas in his book, “Attitude Determines Destiny”.
Contact him for your next event
**originally published 6/3/12