Attitudes Are Contagious – Is Yours Worth Catching?
Winston Churchill once said, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” While I agree attitudes can make a big difference, I don’t think attitudes are little things!
Think about it for a minute, if you were asked, “What is an attitude?” how would you respond? An attitude is _______ (fill in the blank). I ask this question quite a bit and I’ve received responses such as attitudes are positive or negative; an attitude is passing judgment; an attitude is a feeling, a belief, an opinion, or a bias. A definition I learned a few years ago is that, “Attitudes are habits of thought.” If that’s true, then our attitudes impact everything we do. Our habits impact the way we think, the way we think impacts our behavior, and the way we behave impacts our results or outcomes. Our attitudes predict our future behavior and they influence our social perceptions and memories.
I mentioned that I believed attitudes are habits of thought when I was speaking at a conference last weekend. One of the participants nodded in agreement then said, “When my daughter wakes up in the morning, she’s often really crabby and cranky. I tell her that she had better change her attitude before she leaves for the school. She then goes to her room and comes back with a positive attitude.” Then she said, “If attitudes are habits of thought, am I setting her up to need therapy by telling her she has to change her attitude?” We opened that up for discussion and everyone agreed that she was teaching her daughter a really powerful lesson, one that we can all benefit from, that lesson is that we control our attitudes and we can choose which attitude carries us through the day.
Where do Attitudes Come From?
Some behavioral researchers suggest approximately 90-95% of our attitudes are formed during our childhood; more specifically, by the age of 5. Let’s explore this concept: What are the first few words a child learns? Mommy, daddy, and no. We got a lot of “no’s” in our early years. Those “no’s” turn to don’ts as we start to grow up…”don’t touch the stove”…”don’t chew with your mouthful”…and my favorites: “don’t talk to strangers” and “don’t speak unless you’re spoken too.”
As we move into adulthood I believe those “no’s” and “don’ts” from our childhood often turn into “can’ts” in our adulthood. One of the most common fears in America is public speaking; well, what is public speaking? It’s talking to strangers. Another thing a lot of adults do not enjoy doing is cold calling; well, what is that? Cold calling is not only talking to strangers, it’s also speaking before you’re spoken too!
I’d like to challenge you today to do something differently! I believe we can choose our attitudes just as we can choose our behavior. We can wake up in the morning and decided how we will face the day. If you want different results in your life, it’s not enough to change your behavior, you must also change your attitudes! Identify at least one attitude you need to or want to change; then take responsibility:
Define the attitude you want to change
Understand that attitudes are habits of thought and that your attitudes serve some purpose or that they give you some level of satisfaction
Determine the purpose or level of satisfaction you have from your specific attitude or habit
Replace your attitude with a new one.
Now it’s not as easy as it sounds! It takes time, commitment, and resolve. The fact is, you have to live with yourself and your results and you know your track record better than anyone else. So my final question is this:
How much responsibility are you going to take for your life today?
What’s stopping you from achieving all that you can? Seyfarth Diversified Strategies was found on the belief that every individual has the ability, and can become empowered to be all he/she is capable of becoming. A day, a life, a company, can be changed by understanding and affecting the attitudes, thoughts, and beliefs that drive goals and lead you to success.
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