I’ve had it up to here when I hear people say, “So what if my attitude sucks? What’s the big deal?”
To be blunt, it is a life-and-death big deal. That’s one reason I’m asked to present my UP Your Attitude seminar at the US Food and Drug Administration. They know that people who have a positive attitude towards aging live 7.5 years longer than those who with a negative attitude.
That’s also why one of my long-term clients continues to be the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Toshihiko Maruta, a Mayo psychiatrist, knows that pessimists have a 19% greater than average risk of death in any given year. So they hire me to teach people how to turn their attitudes around through my UP Your Attitude program.
Of course, a lot of you reading this Tuesday Tip may say your attitude is pretty good. It’s not all that negative. And you’re probably right.
The question is … is your attitude as good as it could be?
Dr. Martin Seligman’s research proves that your attitude is the make-or-break factor between significant success and outright failure or just plain mediocrity. In fact, he has found that people who have a good attitude towards their jobs are 100 times more likely to make a lot of money than those who don’t have that attitude.
The great news is your attitudes are changeable. If you want to improve your attitudes, you can do so. You are in charge. Start with these strategies.
1. Decide to Have a Good Attitude.
One 92-year-old man illustrated that. After his wife of 70 years passed away, he was forced to move to a nursing home. Despite the fact he had to wait several hours in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when he was told his room was ready.
As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, the nursing assistant told him what his tiny room would look like, including the eyelet curtains that had been hung on his window.
“I love it,” he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.
“Mr. Benjamin, you haven’t seen the room; just wait.” urged the nursing assistant.
“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” he replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged … it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it.”
Mr. Benjamin continued, “It’s a decision you need to make every morning when you wake up. You have a choice; you can spend the day recounting the difficulty you have with the parts of your body, your life, or your job that no longer work, or you can get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.”
All of us need to follow Mr. Benjamin’s advice. Decide to have a good attitude. No one can give you a bad attitude and no can give you a good attitude. It’s something you decide.
2. Learn Some Attitude Strategies.
That’s what my clients are doing day in and day out. That’s why I’m so proud of them and that’s why they’re doing so well.
In the last two weeks alone I spoke to regulatory specialists at the FDA, to managers in the multi-state KCOE ISOM accounting firm, to beach refurbishment experts at E.R. Jahna Industries, to teachers in West Virginia, to financial professionals in the Minnesota Collection Network, and veterinarians at Suidae Health and Production. They’re all learning some new and powerful attitude strategies because they know that better attitudes equal better business.
What about you? What new attitude strategies have you learned in the last week? Or the last month? Or the last year? I hate to say it, but when I ask most people, they’ll say something like, “Um … um … well … ah … well, really nothing.”
By contrast, listen to what happened to the daughter of one of my Boeing clients when she learned some new attitude strategies. Her father sent me the following note:
He said, “My daughter made some bad choices during her late teen years and was going down a path of self-destruction. She delivered a baby out of wedlock at 19 years of age and, unfortunately, developed preeclampsia which went into the HELLP Syndrome. Her liver, kidneys, and lungs all shut down after she delivered her 2 pound 9 ounce premature baby. She was on life support and subsequently hospitalized for 80 days. Her condition was grave and there were many times doctors told us to prepare for her death. She was a very ill young lady.”
The Boeing manager continued, “My daughter defied all odds and survived! But she had a long road of recovery ahead of her. To help pass the time, my work colleague gave her a copy of your book, PIVOT: How One Turn In Attitude Can Lead To Success. My daughter has never been a reader and, in fact, I don’t think she’s ever read an entire book in her life. But she read your book THREE times.”
“My daughter continues to have residual health issues as a result of her long hospitalization … but she remains strong and positive and has turned this experience into something that has transformed her life. I’m proud to say she’s turned her life totally around … is now a successful and focused college student … and a loving, wonderful mother to her healthy, happy three year old daughter. Your book filled with attitude strategies was a huge part of her inspiration.”
If you want a copy of my PIVOT book, pick yours up on Amazon by clicking here.
3. Screen Your In-Puts and Stay-Puts.
It may be impossible to go through an entire month, week, or even a day without being exposed to some negative news or thinking some negative thought. That’s life.
However, you can limit your exposure to negative in-puts. You can cut back on the time you spend with a newspaper or watching the nightly broadcast of horrors. You can choose to eat lunch with more positive coworkers if your present luncheon companions are constant gripers.
And you can choose which negative in-puts will become stay-puts. In other words, just because you have some negative thoughts doesn’t mean you have to dwell on them. You can choose whether or not those negative thoughts will stay-put or pass on.
As entrepreneurship consultant Gladys Edmunds says, “Picture your thoughts as people passing by the front of your home. Just because they’re walking by doesn’t mean you have to invite them in.”
4. Take Time to Adjust Your Attitude When Necessary.
Whenever you sense your thoughts and feelings are going down a negative path, pause for three seconds. Relax your body and mind. This short pause allows the negative impulses to pass on and fade away.
Use word therapy as well. Every once in a while, tell yourself such words as “indomitable … unsinkable … undefeatable … and …victorious”. Say them out loud if possible. With each repeated word, you strengthen your own positive attitude.
Dr. Alan Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip, Issue 906 – So What If Your Attitude Sucks?