Stop Whining…Your Attitude is Your Choice!

Stop Whining…Your Attitude is Your Choice!

If you’ve ever said, “He gave me a bad attitude” or “That meeting ruined my attitude”, then you should realize that you have unknowingly told a lie. Why? Attitude is a choice; always has been and always will be. Perhaps you can’t choose what happens to you, but you do get to choose your response to it. There is great power in that choice and the quality of your responses will greatly determine the quality of your life. In an age of finger pointing at our teachers, coaches, parents, ethnic background, age, gender or surroundings in order to explain away our lack of greater success, it is helpful to shake off denial and face this fact: Success is more about our choices than conditions. And the longer we blame people or “stuff” for what is holding us back, the longer we will remain whiney and wimpy victims, going through life crying about how life hasn’t done enough to make us happy.

Your attitude is shaped by many factors, starting when you are quite young: personality, environment, self-image, the positive or negative expressions of others and your thoughts. While the first four factors listed influence your attitude greatly when you are a child, your thoughts will have a greater bearing on your attitude as an adult. For instance, if you grew up in a ghetto and had parents who divorced while you were young; if people routinely told you that you’d never amount to anything and your self-image took some major hits as a result, then it is safe to say that your attitude was greatly influenced as a youngster as a result of these conditions. Sadly, until you change your thoughts, these childhood factors will continue to influence your attitude—the prevailing way you choose to see the world—throughout your adult life. This baggage will impose tight boundaries around your personal vision for what you can become as a person and for what you can achieve in life.

The impact your environment has on your attitude while young, is precisely why the quality of your thinking as an adult is so instrumental in forming your world view. This explains why the most successful people guard their thoughts; fortify their thoughts, and think about what they’re thinking about. Failing to take control of your thinking causes you to serve a life sentence for the negative influences you experienced during their childhood. In fact, the rooms of therapists are filled with adults who have chosen to bond with and continually rehearse their past and who refuse to stop blaming mom and dad and take responsibility for reshaping their life by first changing the quality of their thoughts.

How you think of something or someone greatly determines your attitude towards it or them. If you have negative thoughts about Muslims, Christians, Caucasians, African Americans, old people, young people and the like, then your thinking will affect your attitude towards these people. By changing how you think about them you can change your attitude as well. This fact explains why attitude is a choice. Someone may alter your mood by the things they say or do, but you are still responsible for choosing how you respond to those actions. Giving up responsibility for your attitude and blaming outside conditions for its state, turns the reins of your personal happiness and well being over to others.

Following are five tips to tap the power of a productive attitude.

  1. Let go of the past. Realize that if you don’t let go of past failures, frustrations or rejection then you simply are not available to create your future with more productive levels of thinking that lead to better results.
  2. Guard your attitude from unproductive influences. This includes the immense negativity and filth you see on television, at the movies, read about in newspapers, on the Internet or in tabloids. These factors influence your thoughts, which in turn shape your attitude; for better or for worse. Another unproductive influence is your own inner dialogue. Guard this carefully! When you catch yourself spewing poison like, “I’m going to have another bad month” or “I’m never going to get the hang of this”, “I’m going to get fired”, or “I’m not going to be able to pay my bills”, put a stop to this nonsense quickly and focus on more productive, solution-oriented thinking that will shift your attitude.
  3. Guard your attitude from unproductive people. You cannot change a negative person. They will change you! If someone has chosen a sour outlook on the world, their views will begin to influence you if you choose to associate with this person. As a result, there are some people in life that you must give up to go up. This doesn’t mean they are bad people or that they are 100% wrong and that you are 100% right. Rather, it suggests that you share different values or that you’ve outgrown them. Even if they sit right across the desk from you at work, you can still limit the time you spend with them and the amount of minutes you waste listening to or dwelling on what they say.
  4. Fortify your attitude. Since your thinking comes under siege every day, it is essential that you fill your head with productive thoughts to replace the negativity that yearns to roost in your psyche. You cannot just try to not think about the negative, nor can you force those thoughts out of your mind. Instead, you must replace them with something else: inspirational reading, productive conversations with uplifting people, spiritual disciplines such as prayer, Bible study, meditation and the like.
  5. Change your thinking. Since your thoughts influence your attitude, it is essential to continually work to improve your quality of thinking. John Maxwell’s book, Thinking for a Change will be a huge help to you in this regard.

Is it time for you to give up the crutch of genetics, environment, the past expressions of others, or a poor self-image and begin taking more responsibility for the state of your attitude and the quality of your life? When you decide to give up your scapegoats and assume personal responsibility for the quality of your thinking, you’ll take an essential step towards gaining control over your own happiness and shunning the victim’s mindset that renders so many people both miserable and mediocre.  Of course, by accepting responsibility and refusing to blame, you’ll probably never be invited on the Jerry Springer Show, but you will have the self-respect and personal momentum that comes with knowing that you control your destiny and that the rest of your life is not at the mercy of others’ actions, whims or opinions. 

Contact info: dave@learntolead.com www.learntolead.com