"Attitude is Everything!"
Dear Success Seeker,
Recently I volunteered to drive members of my daughter's grade 5 class on a field trip which required me to provide the school with a copy of my driving record. I went to the Motor Vehicle Office bracing myself for a long wait. The office was busy but there was no lineup to see the receptionist so I walked right up to the counter and told her what I needed. To my surprise she said cheerfully, "That's easy." In less than 30 seconds she had printed the necessary document and I was walking out of the office attempting to accept what had just happened.
As I was driving home I thought about her cheerful 'can-do' attitude. It's true that her employer had provided her with the tools she needed to provide great service. Still, my experience was such a contrast to so many experiences we have every day. It seems like for some people life is just one problem and complication after another while other people sail through life with ease and flow. I assure you that whether your life flows or you struggle is not a coincidence!
Einstein is quoted as saying: "The most important question a person can ask is, Is the Universe a friendly place?" You may not have asked that question consciously but you have answered it at a subconscious level. The answer you came up with determines your attitude and your attitude determines both your experience of life (happiness, struggle, etc.) and, to a large extent, the external success you achieve in your relationships, health, wealth, etc.
What is attitude? Simply put, it is the way you think and feel about something. Your answer to Einstein's question provides a big picture context to your overall attitude in life. You also have answers to many of life's narrower questions etched in your mind. Am I good enough? Do I deserve success? Am I loveable? Can other people be trusted? In these questions and every other situation in your life you either see the glass half full or half empty. The way you view a given situation starts a chain reaction. Your view determines the way you respond emotionally which causes the actions you take and ultimately your outcome in that situation.
Here's where the opportunity lies - or the problem, depending on your attitude. You see, the majority of our responses are conditioned; that is to say, they are based on thoughts and experiences we had in the past which have now become unconscious habits. I consider this is an opportunity because you have the power to change your habits. William James said, "The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind."
So how do you replace negative or non-supportive thoughts and attitudes with positive or supportive ones? The first step is awareness. If you don't realize you are thinking a negative thought, you can't make a different choice. In order to transform your life, you must identify and acknowledge negative or unsupportive thinking and then replace it with positive or supportive thoughts.
When you notice destructive thinking it is often easy to find a positive viewpoint to reframe it. If you can't come up with a positive thought, go to the ultimate reframe. Gratitude. If you get a parking ticket, be grateful that you have a car and that the authorities are enforcing the rules of society. If you get annoyed by telemarketers calling during dinner, remember that many people don't have enough food or are too sick or depressed to eat. Being grateful for what you have is one of the most healing things you can do.
When you notice negative thinking, please avoid criticizing yourself. Self-criticism is a negative thought about your negative thought, which just makes things worse. Instead, celebrate your new level of awareness and the opportunity it provides.
Developing and sustaining a positive attitude is not a quick-fix technique. It is a disciplined skill that must be practiced and learned. It is also a powerful habit that will help you create ease, abundance, happiness and ultimately success in all areas of your life.
Andrew Barber-Starkey, Master Certified Coach
Founder and President, ProCoach Success System
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Andrew Barber-Starkey is a Master Certified Coach residing in Vancouver, Canada. His coaching program, the ProCoach Success System, is designed for entrepreneurs, small-business owners, self-employed and commissioned sales people who want to double their income while simultaneously doubling their time off within 3 years.
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