Attitude Impacts Everything
There are many things in life that are beyond our control…that we cannot change no matter how much we might like to….but ATTITUDE is NOT one of those things.
Attitude has such a dramatic impact on our lives and the lives of people and the events around us. It is important for us to learn to distinguish between emotions which come to us unbidden, and attitude which is how we choose to view the world or the situation. Attitude and intentions impact our feelings and our behavior – either negatively or positively. Attitude and intentions are controlled by our thoughts. We get to choose the attitude we want to bring to every situation, every day and every person we interact with.
Attitude of Gratitude
I have been hearing and reading a lot about gratitude lately. It’s hard to maintain a negative attitude if we think about all the things that we can be grateful about. A friend and I were having lunch recently when she mentioned that if we can teach ourselves to change “I HAVE TO”, to “I GET TO” it will make things seem easier. In making this small one-word change we focus on gratitude and lift our attitude. The event then becomes a pleasure or a gift rather than a chore. One of the easiest, and most effective ways to change our attitude is to think of all the things in life that we are grateful for. Many people start and finish every day with a Gratitude Journal where they write down the things in their life for which they are grateful.
Grocery shopping is one of the least favorite things that I do every week. I caught myself last week thinking, “I HAVE to go get groceries again!” I recognized that this was going to make the shopping trip more difficult that it needed to be. So, I made a conscious choice and thought, “Yea, I GET to go grocery shopping today!” Then I got in my car without hesitation and thought how fortunate I was to be going grocery shopping. I was in the store early, and thought, “Yea, this is a great time to shop!” While I was standing in line to check out, I reminded myself that “WOW, I am so grateful that I can afford to buy all this fresh food and not worry about the cost.” When I arrived home and was unpacking and putting away the groceries I focused on ideas like, “WOW we are going to have some amazing meals here this week! We are going to have great food and stay healthy and happy.”
My attitude completely changed a chore that I did not enjoy to a pleasant 90 minutes. I enjoyed all of it… the drive, the shopping, the putting things away, while focusing on all the things I had to be thankful for.
Disappointment versus Discouragement
We can’t always simply change our feelings. What we CAN change is our attitude. Recognizing and changing our attitude to one of curiosity, or tolerance, or gratitude will impact our feelings and our actions. I recently heard someone say, “Disappointment is inevitable, but discouragement is a choice.” That really hit home with me. When I examine the statement, I discover that disappointment is a feeling and can come unbidden, but discouragement is an attitude. It is vitally important to distinguish between the two. We can choose to learn from the disappointment or see it from another perspective or just accept it and then go on with our day without letting it change our positive attitude.
There are many simple things that attitude can impact, such as how I want to enjoy my golf game. My game is not as good as it used to be. I am not playing as much as I used to. I can choose to be disappointed, but not discouraged. I can think about how I want my golf friends to enjoy my company and perceive me as even tempered, and resilient. I can adopt the attitude of someone with a sense of humor about their swing and enjoy the pleasure of being outdoors with friends. Just taking a couple of minutes to think about that before I step on the first tee, enables me to keep a positive and fun attitude. That attitude in turn, allows me to enjoy the game more and the company of my friends.
Change a Challenge into a Game
There are many challenges in our fast-paced life these days. I am challenged daily with social media and the pace at which it changes. I have been on Instagram for about a year, and still building an audience and creating a vibe! I currently spend 20 minutes a day studying and using Instagram. I have been challenged by my business to do this. Not only do I need to know how people are communicating today, but I have been asked to speak about Instagram from the stage at our National Conference in a few months!
It is easier for me to learn by watching and doing rather than by reading instructions. I spent a Sunday morning with one of my young colleagues and asked her to show me what she has been doing on Instagram. I am making a game out of this challenge. When I sit down for my “Instagram Time”, I think of the fun things that I can accomplish. How many new people can I find that I WANT to follow? How many posts can I put up? How many new hashtags can I use? How can I interact with my followers? I am consciously making it a fun experience for me by creating the best attitude. I come to it with a sense of humor. I am full of curiosity rather than dread. It has become not only fun, but something that I look forward to doing!
Attitude is a Choice
How do you want to live your life? Ruled by emotions and feelings? Or, would you like to make a conscious choice about attitude that allows you to function with purpose and intent. Any situation can be improved with a positive attitude. Decide that you can learn something from a disappointing or negative situation. Decide that you can improve the situation. Decide that you can make the way easy for yourself and others. Even the most unpleasant chores can be done with an attitude of gratitude or service that makes it easier. You can deal with the most unpleasant people with an attitude of allowing them grace for whatever happened in their life to make them that way. I choose to focus on the positive and keep checking in with myself to ensure my attitude is in line with my decision. I want to live a happy and productive life. I choose to focus on an attitude that allows me to lift up the people I encounter day to day. Choose patience. Choose tolerance. Choose joy. Choose gratitude. Choose grace.
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