It used to annoy me to no end when people would tell me to have a better attitude. They offered this advice as though it were as simple as flipping a switch. They made it sound like it was something entirely in my control and all I had to do to be happy is to flip that switch on. “Go ahead and just change your attitude, sweet heart, and the world will smile at you and the sun will shine brightly and you will feel so much better.” It was as though they were intimately familiar with the source of all my woes to be able to so precisely predict its timely disappearance.
Or maybe it did not even matter what my concerns and worries were because this universal prudence applied to all situations. This ‘right attitude’ business seemed to be the answer to all problems.
What If You Don’t Believe In the Power of Attitude
Attitude seemed like the magic bullet, according to these happiness experts, and they would go so far as to say how it is the determining factor between one’s happiness and misery in life.
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Ironically, every time I heard this advice, in what seemed to sound like an all-knowing condescending voice of wisdom, I ended up feeling depressed and angry, an outcome that is obviously an even worse attitude than the one that made me a target of all this talk. Depressed because I could not understand how to change my own perspective, thanks to this ever strong pull to seeing the negative in every situation while thinking myself a realistic. Angry because I could not stand the idea of something so small being so powerful and yet not being able to have access to it, and more so, angry that life seemed easy for others when I struggled with my minuscule problems on giant scales.
Attitude, a settled way of thinking about a situation, a scenario, a person or a life event. Essentially, just a way of thinking about something. A series of thoughts that form an opinion in your head and lead you down a certain path, from which it is no easy task to turn around. Attitude, a simplest of all things that claims having a bold impact on your happiness.
How can looking at a situation differently change the actual situation? To me, facts are facts, and the good and bad are clearly marked for every event. A car accident is unfortunate and nothing to smile about. An unexpected sickness is nothing positive or educational. Being cheated in a service transaction is intolerable and does not serve any good purpose. An unfair grading by a professor is, well, just brutal and cruel and these, among many others that I spare you, are plenty of reasons to plunge oneself into self-induced pity, anxiety, unhappiness and stress.
Or are they really?
What It Really Means to Have the Right Attitude
To me, having a say in my own happiness, regardless of what actually happened to me on a day to day basis, was as bizarre and foreign a concept as I could come across. So it was easier to dismiss than to set aside my own ego and examine it objectively. Having the power to change the way I saw the world was not even something I looked for, much less believed in.
They say you learn best from your own trials and errors, and you can change only when you are ready for change. And that happens when you are tired of the the destructive patterns of your ways. Luckily, I reached that point and decided to change my attitude towards life.
Having a strong and healthy attitude means something different for each of us. Perhaps, a good way to start our new year is to not just commit to a better attitude but to really understand how it enables a better life for us.
Attitude is not the end-all be-all. It is not the magic bullet or a secret to true happiness or even a solution to your problems. Smiling and laughing in the face of misfortune do not solve problems but neither do tears and bouts of anguish. The right attitude simply feels good. In fact, it feels really good and how you feel matters a great deal in what you do.
How the Right Attitude Turned My Business Around
A few months ago, I was struggling with the direction of my business and the lack of momentum. Every day that I thought about this problem, I felt more helpless and powerless to change it. I decided to inspire myself by listening to success stories of other entrepreneurs but instead, I felt overwhelmed and small in the face of all the massively successful business minds, and fell more into a funk. How could so many others rise so effortlessly to high levels of achievement where it felt that I was sinking in quick sand. I knew that I had the resources and the knowledge and the experience to build a smart platform for a thriving business, but the pressure of not succeeding right now – or even sometime in the past – wiped out all of my energy. I had none left to devote to the present moment. I had no hope in how I could put all this information to use.
That episode in late summer marks one of the worst – and best – examples of how a bad attitude can turn an average situation into a terribly hopeless one, not to mention the stress it puts on your well-being. One day, I just decided to change the way I was doing everything, from what I listened and read and consumed to how I went about doing the smallest tasks such as responding to emails and handling small tasks in my business. I remember walking in circles in my office, and with that decision alone, feeling the air filling up my lungs with space and openness. The surge of hope into my veins felt refreshing. The plethora of ideas and creativity was incredible. The change in my perspective had suddenly brought about change everywhere else.
I made a few promises to myself, made a few priorities and put a few deadlines in place and absolutely forbid myself from comparing my business to any other business in the world. I started to feel genuine happiness for others who had risen to respectable success in their business and started to realize the possibilities for myself again. I had managed to restore my faith, my sanity and my wits with changing my attitude and my frame of mind.
Since I made the switch to this attitude, there has been no shortage of good results and encouraging series of events from every business decision and move that I’ve been making.
How Having the Right Attitude Opens Doors for You
The right attitude gives you hope when your mind wants to cling to hopelessness and feel sorry for itself like a sad victim. It fills you up with positive energy that helps you think and see more your situation clearly. It enables you to look at every situation like a puzzle and a problem and it encourages you to look for solutions rather than to focus on all the reasons why the problem happened to you.
The right attitude helps you take long deep breaths in a stressful situation and that sends oxygen to your brain rather than spasm to your muscles. It helps you consider possibilities that you can hardly see when your head is shrouded in clouds of misery. The right attitude can be powerful beyond measure but only with your consent because you alone determine the role this attitude can play in your life.
The right attitude does not make light of a serious situation or a big problem in your life. It does not make it seem as though bad things happened for a good reason. The right attitude is not about justifying the poor hand of cards that you may have been dealt. It is rather about choosing every step that follows that hand by positioning you in such a way that you can indeed make the best decisions with the information that you have.
The right attitude empowers, enables, fills the room with hope and fills your lungs with air. It clears your mind and feeds your body with everything you need to turn any situation around. And that is the power of the right attitude, my friends. I finally get it and I sincerely hope that you too arrive at the same place.
If you don’t get everything you want, think of the things you don’t get that you don’t want. ~Oscar Wilde
~ Oscar Wilde
I couldn’t help closing with a humorous quotation from a favorite author, Oscar Wilde. I really believe you can fill your new year with moments that result from a strong, healthy and beautiful attitude but what really matters is whether you believe it to be true for yourself?