The Attitude Adjustment Checkpoints

Never forget that your attitudes and feelings attract exactly what they convey.

Some things just don’t make sense to me. For example, why isn’t phonetic spelling spelled the way it sounds? Why are there interstate highways in Hawaii? Why do you need a driver’s license to buy liquor when you can’t drive and drink? Why is it when you transport something by car it’s called a shipment, but when you transport something by ship it’s called cargo?

I don’t understand why kamikaze pilots wore helmets. And I don’t understand why they put locks on the doors at police stations.

Sillier yet, why is that when you’re driving and looking for an address, you turn down the volume on the radio? And if you’re in a vehicle going the speed of light, what happens when you turn on the headlights?

But there are lots of other things that do make sense to me. I used to wonder why some people, who were born with so much, achieved so little. And I used to wonder why other people, who were born with so little, achieved so much. I researched that question for years, but now I know the answer. IT’S ALL ABOUT ATTITUDE.

I wondered why anyone would settle for anything less than a groundbreaking, barrier-crashing attitude when it’s so easy to get and keep a positive attitude. Then I realized … SOME PEOPLE DON’T EVEN KNOW THEY NEED TO UP THEIR ATTITUDE … while … OTHERS DON’T HAVE THE SLIGHTEST IDEA HOW TO GET ONE.

That’s why I wrote “PIVOT: How One Turn In Attitude Can Lead To Success.” It truly is a great book and for a few days more, I’m offering some major specials on the book and an accompanying audio CD. You can get discounted prices on multiple copies, and at certain quantities, you can even get FREE reinforcement CDs.

So let’s take a look at your attitude today. Let’s see if you need to up your attitude by asking you my revised version of David Dyson’s checkpoints posed in “Personal Excellence.”

If you can’t say “yes” to every one of these points, you need an attitude adjustment.

=> Choice: “I’ve decided to succeed.”

Attitude is more about choice than chance. No one gave you your attitude, and no one can take it away from you. It’s pretty much a choice you make. Have you decided — actually decided — to succeed? That’s a lot stronger and more definitive than merely hoping you will succeed.

You see … negative folks say things like, “If at first you don’t succeed, no one will be surprised.” But not positive people. They tend to say, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” They’ve chosen, and they’ve decided to succeed even before they start.

Torivio Ortega is one such person. He has mastered the first checkpoint of “choice.” He realized that migrant farm workers needed a full-fledged courtroom attorney who understood and cared about their plight. And he decided to help them.

Without the benefit of a college education he managed to pass a college equivalency test that got him into law school. Four difficult years later he graduated.

But his greatest challenge now lay before him … the state bar examination. Five times he struggled to pass the exam. Five times he failed. But he had decided in advance that he would succeed, and on his sixth attempt he passed. So he went on, of course, to do the very thing he desired to do — to help the people he cared about.

Could the same thing be said of you? That you have absolutely, unequivocally decided to succeed? Have you made that choice?

The second checkpoint deals with…

=> Commitment: “Faced with roadblocks, I persist to get the job done.”

Truly positive thinkers can say “yes” to this statement. They keep on keeping on, even when things are difficult. Negative thinkers bail out. That’s why you should study chapter 9 in my book “PIVOT: How One Turn In Attitude Can Lead To Success.” It will help you bounce back from difficulty and failure without any damage to your attitude.

Let me give you an example as to how this works.

I read recently the documented story of a man who accidentally trapped himself inside a refrigerated railroad car. He became frantic, pounding on the door and screaming, but nobody heard him.

He knew that no human being could survive in that kind of an environment so he settled into a corner of the car and began to scrawl his last thoughts on the wall.

“I am becoming very cold. I do not have long to live anymore. I can tell that death is coming close to me. I can feel it very near. These may well be my last words.” And they were!

When the refrigerator car door was opened, they found the man dead. But here’s what’s so amazing. The refrigeration unit had not been working for a month. There was still enough oxygen in the railroad car to sustain life, even when they found his body. But the most amazing thing was that the lowest temperature during the man’s entrapment was 58 degrees! He did not die of cold. He did not die of suffocation. Only one thing killed him. His negative attitude! That attitude … along with the illusion that he was freezing inside the railroad car!

How are you doing on commitment? Are you perfectly okay, or does your attitude need some work?

The third checkpoint is called…

=> Confidence: “I believe in myself and what I’m doing.”

Negative thinkers doubt themselves a great deal of the time. People with a positive attitude don’t spend much time on self-doubt.

If you’re going to have a winner’s attitude, you’ve got to believe in yourself. There’s simply no other alternative. Even Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, the poet and dramatist, recognized that truth back in the 17 and 1800’s. He said, “As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”

And confidence, for the most part, comes from the stuff going on inside your head. Sheila Murray Bethel, the author of “12 Qualities That Make You A Leader,” says, “Of all the communication you do, none is more important than how you talk to yourself. Your internal dialogue has more to do with your success in life than any other factor.”

And psychologist Dr. Terry Paulson notes that 91% of the self-talk going on inside the head of “depressed” people is negative. Scarier yet, Paulson says that 80% of the self-talk in “normal” people is negative. There’s not too much of a spread between 80 and 91%, so it’s easy to slip over to the truly negative side and cheat yourself out of all the success you could have.

The good news is you can have great self-confidence all the time. It goes hand in hand with a positive attitude. That’s what my chapter on self-esteem is all about in my book, “PIVOT: How One Turn In Attitude Can Lead To Success.” I tell you exactly which techniques will work for you.

Take a look at your confidence. Is it strong all the time? Is it rock solid? Or does it tend to crumble once in a while? If it needs some work, you might take a lesson from the “I can’t funeral.” Unfortunately, I don’t know who the author is, but this is what she wrote.

“Donna’s fourth grade classroom looked like many others I had seen in the past. The teacher’s desk was in front and faced the students. The bulletin board featured student work. In most respects it appeared to be a typically traditional elementary classroom. Yet something seemed different that day I entered it for the first time.

“My job was to make classroom visitations and encourage implementation of a training program that focused on language arts that would empower students to feel good about themselves and take charge of their lives.

“Donna was one of the volunteer teachers who participated in this project.

“I took an empty seat in the back of the room and watched. All the students were working on a task, filling a sheet of notebook paper with thoughts and ideas. The ten-year-old student next to me was filling her page with “I Can’ts.” ‘I can’t kick the soccer ball past second base.’ ‘I can’t do long division with more than three numerals.’ ‘I can’t get Debbie to like me.’

“Her page was half full and she showed no signs of letting up. She worked on with determination and persistence. I walked down the row glancing at the students’ papers. Everyone was writing sentences, describing things they couldn’t do.

“By this time the activity engaged my curiosity, so I decided to check with the teacher to see what was going on, but I noticed she too was busy writing. I felt it best not to interrupt. ‘I can’t get John’s mother to come for a teacher conference.’ ‘I can’t get my daughter to put gas in the car.’ ‘I can’t get Jason to use words instead of fists.’

“Thwarted in my efforts to determine why the students and teacher were dwelling on the negatives instead of writing the most positive “I Can” statements, I returned to my seat and continued my observations.

“Students wrote for another ten minutes. They were then instructed to fold the papers in half and bring them to the front. They placed their ‘I Can’t’ statements into an empty shoe box. Then Donna added hers. She put the lid on the box, tucked it under her arm and headed out the door and down the hall.

“Students followed the teacher. I followed the students. Halfway down the hallway Donna entered the custodian’s room, rummaged around and came out with a shovel. Shovel in one hand, shoe box in the other, Donna marched the students out the school to the farthest corner of the playground. There they began to dig. They were going to bury their ‘I Can’ts!’

“The digging took over ten minutes because most of the fourth graders wanted a turn. The box of ‘I Can’ts’ was placed in a position at the bottom of the hole and then quickly covered with dirt. Thirty-one 10 and 11 year-olds stood around the freshly dug grave site. At this point Donna announced, ‘Boys and girls, please join hands and bow your heads.’ They quickly formed a circle around the grave, creating a bond with their hands.

“They lowered their heads and waited. Donna delivered the eulogy. ‘Friends, we gathered here today to honor the memory of ‘I Can’t.’ While he was with us here on earth, he touched the lives of everyone, some more than others. We have provided ‘I Can’t’ with a final resting place and a headstone that contains his epitaph. He is survived by his bothers and sisters, ‘I Can,’ ‘I Will,’ and ‘I’m Going to Right Away.’ They are not as well known as their famous relative and are certainly not as strong and powerful yet. Perhaps some day, with your help, they will make an even bigger mark on the world. May ‘I Can’t’ rest in peace and may everyone present pick up their lives and move forward in his absence. Amen.’

“As I listened I realized that these students would never forget this day. Writing ‘I Can’ts,’ burying them and hearing the eulogy. That was a major effort on this part of the teacher. And she wasn’t done yet.

“She turned the students around, marched them back into the classroom and held a wake. They celebrated the passing of ‘I Can’t’ with cookies, popcorn and fruit juices. As part of the celebration, Donna cut a large tombstone from butcher paper. She wrote the words ‘I Can’t’ at the top and put RIP in the middle. The date was added at the bottom. The paper tombstone hung in Donna’s classroom for the remainder of the year.

“On those rare occasions when a student forgot and said, ‘I Can’t,’ Donna simply pointed to the RIP sign. The student then remembered that ‘I Can’t’ was dead and chose to rephrase the statement. I wasn’t one of Donna’s students. She was one of mine. Yet that day I learned an enduring lesson from her as years later, I still envision that fourth grade class laying to rest, ‘I Can’t’.”

Action:  If you can say “YES” to all 3 checkpoints, if you’re in great shape in each and every one of those areas, I congratulate you.

If you’re less than satisfied with your answer, and if you’ve got a copy of my “PIVOT” book, please do the exercises at the end of the “Discipline” and “Self-Esteem” chapters. They will change your life, your relationships, and your career forever.