Attitude Article

Alter Your Life by Your Attitude – Mary Miscisin

How important is your attitude? Can it affect what you might do in a situation? How you might react or what you might say? Can it affect your mood or your thinking?

You may already realize the importance of your attitude and its influence on so many aspects of your life. So what can you do to make sure your attitude supports the experience you want to have?

Notice Your Focus

It’s interesting how two people in the same situation can have a totally different experience. Sylvia and Jack were invited to a friend’s wedding. At the mere thought of going to a wedding Sylvia’s mood began to plummet. “Weddings are so boring and tiresome. I have to figure out what to wear, the food is usually terrible, we have to dance to the same tacky wedding music they have at all weddings and make idle chit-chat with strangers. Do we have to go?”

In contrast, Jack was thrilled and excited with anticipation about the wedding. “I love weddings! It’s a chance to dress in my best duds, free food, free booze, dancing all night, interesting people. What a blast! I can’t wait!”

With the difference in their attitudes, do you suppose they would experience the same event quite differently? Sylvia goes to weddings looking for terrible food, listening for the “tacky” music and rolling her eyes at the forced conversation with strangers. And this is what she finds. All the while Jack enjoys free food, has fun dancing, and makes new friends.

Determine Your Goal

    If you recognize that your attitude may have started to spiral towards a frame of mind you’d rather not be in, pause and clarify what you want instead. Ask yourself these three questions:

  • Is my attention focused in a direction that I want to go?
  • What is the direction I want to go?
  • How can I refocus and take action now?

Take Action

Imagine what might happen if Sylvia were to decide that she wanted something different. Instead of focusing on how boring and tiresome her past experiences with attending weddings have been, she can create a new experience for herself. If she determines that she wants to instead have a pleasant time at the wedding, she can shift her focus and ask herself, “What can I appreciate right now?” Chances are, if she were sincere, she would be able to find something. Further imagine what this would do to her mood and ultimately her experience at the wedding!

I used this when I worked for an insurance cooperative. My supervisor gave me a choice between two new assignments. I did not want either of them, I wanted to continue working with my present projects. This, I was informed, was not an option. Choosing the “lesser of the two evils,” I reluctantly selected one of the two. The first day working on the new assignment I was grumpy, moody and resentful. I didn’t enjoy feeling this way, yet I reinforced my attitude by repeatedly complaining to myself and others. “This isn’t fair, I had no choice, I am being forced to work on this assignment, I have no enthusiasm for this …”

A close friend of mine stopped me in the middle of my protest and pointed out, “You did have a choice, and you made it, so why are you making yourself miserable? What can you find that is good about the choice you made?”

I paused and thought for a moment. He was right! I was focusing on everything that I did not like about the project instead of finding things I could like. I decided to re-frame my thinking and ask myself, “What can I appreciate, right now?”

It was amazing how many things I could come up with. I really appreciated having a job, one with great benefits, my health, my co-workers, I was using my skills … the list grew and grew, and so did my attitude … in a positive direction. I was surprised how quickly my mood shifted. In the days that followed I derived more and more enjoyment from the new assignment.

Knowing what a powerful effect shifting your focus can have on your attitude, think about the areas you can use this in your life. Starting now, purposely look for the things you can appreciate in every situation. You may already practice this to a certain degree, if so, turn it up a notch. Notice that when your attention shifts, your attitude lifts! So, What can you appreciate right now?

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Accentuate the Positive

    If you find yourself in a negative spiral, remember the three questions to ask:

  • Is my attention focused in a direction that I want to go?
  • What is the direction I want to go?
  • How can I refocus and take action now?

Keep in mind the things you WOULD like to experience.

Pay attention to the words you are using to describe your situation. Deliberately use creative alternatives.

Experiment with different resourceful questions. “What can I appreciate right now?” will focus your attention in a positive direction.

Alter your physiology! Instead of slumping your shoulders with a snarl on your face, move your body in a more empowering way. Sit or stand up straight, go for a walk, dance, breathe, meditate, smile. Take the command position and embrace enthusiasm.

Congratulate yourself for your accomplishments. All too often we focus on the one thing that “went wrong” or “what is yet to be done” instead of the many other things that are going or went right. Pat yourself on the back. You deserve it!

(c) 2002 Mary Miscisin, All Rights Reserved. www.PositivelyMary.com
Permission to duplicate this article is granted ONLY with the copyright and contact information intact.

Life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it, and so it is with you.

– Charles Swindoll

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