Everyone has an attitude. How would you define yours?
We tend to see attitude as only positive or negative, but a positive or negative outlook is made up of many micro-decisions about how we feel, what we believe, and how we act. Unlike emotions, an attitude is something we adopt – it is something we have control over.
For example, we choose in any given situation whether we are going to adopt an agreeable or a disrespectful attitude. We choose whether to be disengaged or enthusiastic. We decide to be friendly or unapproachable. We decide to be thoughtful or skeptical. Each of these represents a decision connected to how we behave. The attitude we adopt influences how we evaluate a person, a task or assignment, or an idea. It determines whether we tag something as fun or lame and whether we are engaged or dismissive. Each decision we make tells the people around us a story of who we are, and this story builds our reputation as someone who has a positive or negative attitude.
Imagine if you will, that you were someone who has never met you and you are reading your social media for the first time. What is the story your social media tells? When you talk about what is happening in your life, what attitude do you adopt? Is it practical, joyous, cynical, or pessimistic? Are you considerate, snobby, motivated, or neutral? When you interact with others are you condescending, caring, patient, apathetic, or disrespectful? Now, if you were an employer, would you view your attitude as professional?
Attitude has been linked to success in school, work, and relationships. People who have a positive attitude are viewed as being able to work collaboratively with a team, take direction and criticism and use it to grow, be responsible and trustworthy, and outperform their peers.
The good news is if right now you identify as having a negative attitude, you have the ability to change your attitude. By being thoughtful about how you behave, how you act, and what you say, you can change not only your self-perception but how others perceive you. As you become more consistent in behaving as if you have a positive attitude, your brain will begin to adapt how you think and feel to match your behavior.
What are some behaviors you can adopt to build a positive attitude?
- Don’t procrastinate. Instead take purposeful action. This means when you see something needs to be done, don’t wait for someone to tell you. It means planning to get work done ahead of when it is due.
- Take risks. Never assume you can’t learn something new or accomplish something without trying.
- Try again. Most great things don’t happen on the first try. Learn from your failures and try again. The act of trying leads to success.
- Surround yourself with positive people. Negativity is contagious and negative people can hurt your ability to build a positive attitude. Positive people on the other hand will encourage and support you.
Remember, your attitude can change your chances for success. The first step is being self-aware and taking responsibility for your attitude. Nobody else determines your attitude. Your attitude is your decision. What will you choose?