There are a lot of variables that go into determining whether we’ll successfully bring our goals and aspirations into existence. However, I count one of them as the quintessential element that must be present to ensure success: a good attitude. Definitely having ideas, making plans, and taking action are important elements in the art of creating a fulfilling life and career. But without a good attitude, the likelihood of manifesting what you want takes a serious hit.
The attitude we operate with daily is our programmed way of responding to our environment and it’s derived from the generalizations we make about other people and the system in which we live. It evolves over time and is the result of two specific belief structures:
Outcome-to-Expectation Belief. The beliefs built over time from the differences between what we achieve and what our expectations were at the beginning.
Efficacy Belief. Our belief about our capabilities to organize and execute courses that produce the results we want.
If we predominantly see outcomes matching expectations and/or have a high-order of confidence that we can deliver the goods and produce what we want, our attitude is generally positive.
Why A Good Attitude Is Important.
There are a multitude of reasons why a good attitude is über-important. In general, our attitude is who we are. Try as we might to hide it, our attitude shows up in every conversation we have, the quality of our work and relationships, and strongly affects whether we’ll take certain courses in life. In leaders, a good attitude is essential for building teams, influencing others, and achieving objectives. The good attitude is also important because:
It’s something that everyone around us can see or perceive
It affects our health
It affects our relationships
It determines how far we’ll advance in any endeavor
It’s your trademark…it’s who you are to others
Final Thoughts About Attitude.
As stated, I believe that attitude is the most important element to success in any endeavor. When combined with planning and action, you have a trifecta for success that is hard to beat. However, sometimes the environment in which we operate throws our attitude out of alignment. When this happens you should:
Take Responsibility For The Attitude You Have. Whatever caused your attitude to darken was outside you, an external stimulus, and you chose a bad attitude as a response. The bad attitude wasn’t given to you…you chose it. In Viktor Fankl’s book, A Search for Meaning, he states: “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response.” Take-away: chose a good attitude.
You Pick Your Attitude, It Isn’t Given To You. As conveyed in Frankl’s quote above, you have the right to chose which attitude you share with the world. You are not given one to use.
If Your Attitude’s Bad, Figure Out Why. Then Fix The Why. There are many reasons why our attitude might be bad. The environment in which we work or live; low self-esteem; poor choices (and hence results); our daily actions/routine; lack of goals, etc. Figure out what it is, then build a plan to eliminate or alter the cause of your negative attitude. Remember, you took responsibility for the attitude you have, so do not rely on someone else to change in order for you to change your attitude.
Operating with a good attitude isn’t Pollyanna and isn’t unrealistic. Maintaining a good attitude allows you to stay aligned with your goals and bring about success in every project you undertake. Understanding that you have the responsibility and capability to change/chose your attitude, can give you the confidence necessary to embark on any task, regardless of how daunting it might be.
“Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure. The way you thing about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. You are overcome by the fact because you think you are.” Norman Vincent Peale
Christian J. Knutson, P.E., PMP
Engineering Management Institute