Having the right attitude is key

When you hear the word “attitude” what comes to mind?

Do you think of a spiritually-evolved individual, a man who never cries, women who are kind and caring toward all, a child who is violent or on drugs, the neighbour with the fancy car? Why is it that some people seem to excel above all the rest? Could it be their attitude?

Growing up as a young child, I would often hear my father say, “Life is 10 per cent what happens to you and 90 per cent how you react to it.”

Of course, at the time, I was uncertain about the meaning associated with this one liner. However, as an adult woman experiencing life on life’s terms, the penny has dropped and I understand the lesson he was trying to teach me.

Attitude is a habit of thought

Whenever the Olympics or some other sports competition takes place, we hear incredible tales of people who have changed by overcoming insurmountable odds such as gunshot wounds, failures, birth defects, accidents, rape, cancer and divorce – only to climb to the top and become successful.

I ask myself, how do they do it? What is their secret to consistently pick themselves up over and over again each time they have been knocked down by life?

I believe the answer is always the same: attitude. Not only do these people have a healthy attitude, but it is ingrained into every fibre of their being – mind, body and soul. They have a “no matter what happens” attitude that will not allow their experiences to dispirit, discourage or destroy them.

Attitude is a basic to survival

Regardless of what you may have learned. Who you are is not determined by how you look, where you live or who your parents were. Who you are is a function of specific choices that you have made. You are where you are and what you are because of the dominating thoughts that occupy your mind. The following is a list of areas where your changes can begin:

Your thoughts

If you want to change your attitude, the first step is to change the way you think.

Changing the way you think is not a new concept. It has been around for hundreds, even thousands of years.

To begin with, you must be aware of what goes on in your head before you can change it. Whenever you catch yourself thinking, “I can’t or I’m afraid” or “That’s too risky, “stop and tell yourself, “Look again. I’ll give this opportunity a chance. I can do it.”

Or make up your own success message, such as, “I know I can do this” or “I can learn how to do this” The most important thing to do is to break the automatic negative thought pattern. When you’re thinking changes your feelings will change then your life will change.

Your speech patterns

Listen to yourself as you talk.

How often do you use negative words? How often do you express doubt, lack of confidence in your abilities, or fear?

Write out some positive words to use the next time the chance arises. Be sure these words express the kind of success attitude you want to adopt. Practice long enough that you will remember the positive words when you need them.

Your behaviour

Everyone reacts differently to the same stresses. A friend of mine was given a challenging project at work and instead of starting it, he went home and slouched in front of the television. When he realised what he was doing, he made the conscious effort to get started on the project, which needed to be done sooner or later anyway.

Remember to be patient with yourself and give yourself time to absorb enough new positive thoughts to make the desired change.

is a counsellor with the Employee Assistance Programme of the Cayman Islands. For more information on this topic, or to schedule a confidential appointment, contact programme at 949-9559.