Lately I've been on a binge of reading leadership books, and I have just finished "Today Matters" by John C. Maxwell. In the book, he talks about the 12 daily practices that anyone can adopt to guarantee success, and the very first practice he discusses is choosing the right attitude daily.
If you are not convinced why the right attitude is so important, just find out how many athletes attribute their success to their "winning attitude". Your attitude at the beginning of a task affects its outcome more than anything else. So, it is definitely beneficial for us to check our own attitudes daily.
The great thing about this practice of choosing the right attitude is that anybody can do it. It really doesn't require any special skills or years of learning except maybe total honesty. However, there are some tips that can help you become better at it, and I am going to reveal the process to you now.
1. Start noticing your attitude
Do you have habits that you are unconscious about? I know women who play with their hair, or men who jiggle the change in their pockets, and they are completely unaware that they are doing it most of the time. Do you let your attitude degrade and assume the whiner or victim mentality, like a bad habit, without even noticing? If that is the case, you need to start noticing now.
Check your attitude about a task, a person, or a situation. How do you feel about the situation? What are your actions saying about your attitude? Do this every day, or even multiple times a day when circumstances change, or your mood changes, or you feel particularly challenged about something in your day.
2. Check the impact of your attitude
Once you've noticed what attitude you have, now you have to decide if it is the right attitude to have. The determining factor is the result or outcome you want and the impact your attitude has on your ability to achieve that outcome.
Does your attitude: • Help you stay motivated? • Improve your confidence? • Help you believe in yourself? • Reduce your stress? • Make you feel more in control? • Keep you focused? • Get you excited? • Make you feel grateful?
If you can answer "yes" to many of these questions, then you have the right attitude. If the answers are "no", then make up your mind to change your attitude immediately. There may be other questions you can ask that is more relevant to your situation. I trust you get the general idea of how to decide if you have the right attitude.
3. Choose another attitude
Now that you have noticed your sorry attitude, and determined that it is indeed a sorry attitude to have, you need to drop it like a hot potato and pick another one. It is really that simple. You just have to make up your mind that you are choosing to change your attitude and do it.
Just because I said that it is simple does not mean that it is easy. In order to change your attitude, we may have to change your belief system, and many of our beliefs are tied into our words.
4. Change your vocabulary
In order to have a more powerful and helpful attitude, stop using these words:
"Can't" - people use can't when they either don't know how to do something, or they don't want to. If you don't know how, you can find out and learn. If you don't want to, then you need to admit that you don't want to. Stop saying "I can't" and start believing "I can."
"Try" - as Yoda said: "Do, or not do, there is no try." And wise creature that he is, he is absolutely right. There is no state of trying. You are either doing something, or you are not. When you use "try", there is an implied possibility of failure, and you are accepting it. So, delete "try" from your vocabulary, and just do your best.
There are many other "weasel" words that we use often. Start paying attention to your own speech pattern and eliminate them from your vocabulary. It will help your attitude.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice
Now all that's left is for you to take this knowledge and put it into use. Start small; pick one thing you want to change your attitude about and just do it. Check out the results after you made the change, then move on to the next thing.
Don't expect to transform yourself overnight. It takes 21 days to form a new habit, and this is definitely a new habit you want to keep. So, start today, and stay with it until you start noticing that other people are hanging around you. You see, attitudes are contagious, and if you always have a super attitude, people really like being around you because they want some of what you have to rub off on them!