Our own thoughts are the only things we have ultimate control over. Even then it's often a big struggle. Our thoughts become our actions and our actions become our results.
We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.
— Charles Swindoll
The attitude that you display in life is of fundamental importance. We have hundreds and hundreds of opportunities every single day to choose our attitude towards that activity or that person or that action but the trouble is most people are mindless about their attitude most of the time.
Often people look at me in shock when I talk to them about choosing their attitude. They don't even realise that it's possible.
Think about how you normally start your day. Most people wake with an alarm clock and they either think:
Okay, up and at it!
Urgh not another day, when is it the weekend?
The attitude that you start your day with is important. How do you usually start your day?
Whatever attitude we start our day with we are often affected by many things that happen outside our control. This is a problem because it means we are too influenced by other people and other things. For example if somebody cut you up on the way into work or if somebody glances at you slightly wrongly, or if we get an email that we interpret as negative. We allow these events to influence our attitude negatively when we could choose to not allow them to influence our attitude negatively.
You have 86,400 seconds in each day. Some of these events take only 10 seconds. If you think of that 86,400 as pounds in your bank account, if you lost £10 of it or somebody stole £10 of it from you then you wouldn't just throw the rest away but many of us do just that when we are talking about our attitude, we let one small encounter write off the rest of our day. Somebody steals 10 seconds of great attitude from us and we willingly throw the rest of the days attitude out the window by being in a bad mood about whatever it was the entire day. What a waste of time and energy. So I want you to think about what affects your attitude during the day both positively and negatively. Don't judge yourself just write it down because when you write it down and you acknowledge it you can take action about it. So what affects your attitude during the day positively and negatively take a few moments and write it down now.
I want you to have a think about where in your life your attitude could be better is it when you first get up in the morning like we talked about earlier, is it when you get home after a long day at the office and your kids jump into your arms, are you still trying to answer work emails at that time or are you on the phone as you walk through the door. Is it when your mother-in-law tries to engage you in conversation or your spouse asks you how your day has been, or tries to tell you about theirs. Be really specific about it, not just general. Don’t write: just be happier, write: be happier when I’m asked about how my day has gone, or: really listen when my spouse speaks. Have a good think about it now.
A good way to find out where your attitude could be better is to ask the people who know you well. So do that too. Give them a bit of time to come up with their thoughts and don’t be defensive in any way. Promise them you won’t be. Just say thank you when they give you your feedback and then work on what they say.
Remember we can choose our attitude hundreds of times a day. Don’t be like other people and let other people choose yours for you. Choose positivity and you will have a happier, more effective life.