By Steve Sekhon
I was recently speaking with a friend and remarked ‘attitude is everything.’ Even though the comment sounded marginally trite at the time, the idea kept coming back to me throughout the day. Do I really have control over my attitude? Can changing it actually transform my life?
It became crystal clear to me that I’m free to hold whatever attitude I choose, whenever I want. It is this choice that creates my experience of life.
It can be easy to forget this obvious truth on those days that I feel I’m swimming against the current. But even then I know that, when I’m consciously aware, how I respond to life is entirely up to me.
The attitude I have about the events in my life creates my emotional and psychological experience of it even more than the actual events themselves.
I determine what I think should be happening and consequently how I’ll feel if things don’t quite work out the way I planned. I decide if I’ll be discouraged, happy, critical or sad. I define what success or failure means. I determine the way particular outcomes will make me feel. I am the only one who can decide to tune my attitude by selecting who I spend time with and what I do.
When I focus my attention on things that encourage, support and enliven me, I reap immediate and positive dividends. When I give my attention to problems, constraints and fearful potentialities, the results don’t feel nearly so good. They actually make me more likely to see my life and the world in a negative light. The more I experience disappointment from my negative expectations, the less reason I see to be joyful. The longer I do it, the less choice I feel I have.
I can change my habits from ones that don’t serve me to ones that do. I can cultivate a daily practice or join authentic happiness coaching that helps keep me on track. I can read daily words of encouragement, surround myself with positive people and make a point of noticing when I’m being negative.
The more I stay aware, the more I realize that I’m as free to choose my attitude, as I am to select a flavor at an ice cream parlor. The difference between a trip to the dessert shop and the spontaneous choice of attitude is that the former is a one-time event, while the latter can create a beautiful or vicious cycle that affects my entire life.
Tendencies we may have toward resentment, generosity, victim consciousness, self-confidence, fear, trust, self-acceptance, or self-hatred are obvious to everyone we encounter, but sometimes we take our own approach to life for granted without being aware of our power to choose it.
When we realize that it’s not the conditions in the outer world but our attitudes about those conditions that cause us to feel the way we do it can be an enormous game changer.
Others pick up on our attitudes, subconsciously or consciously, and respond to us accordingly. Whatever opinion we have of the world will be mirrored back to us and we’ll feel justified for holding it because the evidence to prove it shows up repeatedly. Our attitudes essentially create a self-fulfilling prophecy. That’s why it’s so important to find some high quality and easy-to-digest daily words of encouragement that keep you on track.
If you’re having difficulties with someone in your life, look for just one quality you like and see if you can find compassion for the rest. If you’re having problems at work, try focusing on what’s going well instead what’s not. Keep your attention on what you appreciate in every person, place or thing in your life and watch the situations evolve and improve. Notice the words you use and remind yourself that the perceptions you form are simply the result of how you characterize what you see.
If you want an easy and powerful reminder to help you maintain this practice, subscribe to daily words of encouragement and receive them in your inbox everyday. It could change your life!
About the Author
Steve Sekhon and Jarl Forsman are the founders of GratitudeTwentyFourSeven.com, which produces courses, workshops and daily messages to remind you of wisdom (which you already know) that will help you get unstuck, enjoy life and be more fun to be around.