If You Change Your Thoughts Can You Change Your Attitude?
Our attitude comes from our THOUGHTS. That is right; it is as simple as that.
What we are thinking about will determine what our attitude will be and how we will approach every situation in our lives. If we change what we are thinking about we can change our attitude in a matter of a few minutes…That is powerful!
Many people believe that our thoughts are random or uncontrollable. This is simply not true. Granted we have many thoughts which come into our heads in a random fashion. Some come from our sub-conscious and some come from the environment around us such as television, movies, billboards, newspapers, friends, etc.
We may have little control over what thoughts enter our heads but we can restrict them by selecting what we want to enter our minds. However, we do have the ability to control our thoughts once they are in our head.
How can we control our thoughts?
What can we do? We have three basic choices:
- We can accept the thoughts and hold onto them
- We can accept the thoughts and act on them
- We can reject the thoughts and chose our own thoughts
Let’s look at a few examples:
First let’s say that you are going to give a speech at a meeting of fifty people who might like to buy your product or services. When you enter the room you feel upbeat and ready to sell to them.
You introduce yourself to the person in charge and inform her that you are ready. She looks at you and she is aghast. She says, “That outfit is inappropriate for the meeting today. You should change before you give your presentation or you will be sure to fail.”
How is your attitude now? It was great a few minutes ago but how is it now? Which of the three choices are you going to make?
- Are you going to accept her comments as valid?
- If you do you will probably not be as inspiring in your presentation as you could have been. Doubts will be flying around in your head.
- Are you going to accept her comments and act on them? Are you going to cancel your presentation? Are you going to try to change your appearance? Are you going to be angry and resentful towards her?
- Whatever action you decide to take under the circumstances will probably lead to a less than stellar presentation.
- Are you going to reject her comments and adopt your own ideas and attitude?
- You could say to yourself, “She is wrong. I am dressed to suit my personality and not match her expectations. I will continue with my presentation and show everyone that I know what I am doing.”
- You can give the presentation exactly as you had prepared it with the level of confidence that you had planned because you are in control of your thoughts and therefore your attitude.
By choosing the third alternative you have managed your attitude to your benefit. There is a huge difference between being reactive and being proactive.
Let’s look at a second situation. Let’s say that it is a beautiful sunny day and you are driving down the freeway enjoying yourself. You are whistling and day dreaming remembering a wonderful time in your life.
Suddenly, a car comes roaring up in the lane behind you and veers into the left lane and passes you. As it comes back into your lane it cuts you off and almost forces you into the traffic in the lane to your right. What thoughts are going through your head at that moment? I bet you are thinking, “I’d like to drive up there and bash his car” or “I’d like to run him off the road, someone should run him off the road he is a menace”.
These are very legitimate ideas to come into your head at that time. What are you going to do?
- You can accept these ideas and hold onto them for the remainder of the day.
- Before this incident you were happy and enjoying your day. But if you accept these thoughts for the rest of the day, you will be angry and frustrated and wanting revenge on the bad driver in the other vehicle. These negative thoughts will have a big impact on your attitude for the rest of the day.
- You can accept these ideas and take action on them.
- If you take action, such as hitting his car or running him off the road, not only will you not have as good a day, you probably will have many bad days trying to justify your actions. How many people are in prison because they acted irrationally in a situation like this?
- You can reject these thoughts as normal but not the ones that you want. You can then adopt the thoughts you want such as, “I am glad that that crazy driver is in front of me so that if he makes some dangerous maneuvers I can take appropriate defensive action.
- Then you can go back to enjoying your day and that incident is completely gone from your mind and is no longer having any affect on your attitude.
We Should Choose What We Think
Our thoughts can and should be chosen by us constantly to develop an attitude that will get us to where we want to go.
During the course of our day many incidents – both big and small – can sidetrack us and change our attitude. We must be diligent to maintain the attitude we want. We need to adopt our attitude for the day and then stick with it and not let these other situations influence us.
While it is simple it may not be easy at first. But it will get easier as we practice.
One of the tenets of most religions, philosophies and wisdom in the world is that, “What we think about will determine where we go”. If we think positive thoughts about who we are and what we are doing we will act accordingly and achieve the desired results.
However, if we think negative thoughts, we will act according to those thoughts and achieve the appropriate results which will probably not be the ones we desired.
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