For a lot of people when they hear the term attitude, they think about some person being sassy or down right rude. They don’t jump to consider how attitude plays a part in our every day life. They don’t consider their own attitude.
I didn’t consider my attitude for most of my life. I didn’t consider that the drive I had to be better than where I came from was part of my attitude. Attitude is more than merely whether you are a bitch or a sweet, kindhearted person. I mean, you could be both, but that’s not my point. My point 0is that attitude determines our life.
I recently read and article in Success Magazine titled Jim Rohn on Attitude. I was sitting my my aisle seat on the plane to Raleigh for a long week of work at HQ. This was the first time I had ever highlighted in a magazine. Ever. I had never related much to the little I knew about Jim Rohn’s teachings, but this article opened my heart to a new perspective.
From this article I realized there are two different aspects to attitude that needs to be considered: attitude about life and our personal attitude. I want to talk to you about both of these and how I can look back and identify how my attitude as relating to both aspects has changed in recent years.
First, my attitude about life. I used to be the person that life happened to. In some ways, I still am. I still have a lot of room for growth here. Life happened to me and I couldn’t control it. I couldn’t control how I was raised or the family I came from or the direction that would take me in life. My attitude was that life was out of my control.
Except, it isn’t. I have complete control over my life. I know you are probably thinking “No you don’t. You can’t control illness or getting laid off or depression/anxiety.” you are right, I can’t control those occuring in my life. But, I can control how I react to all of them. That would be my attitude in the here and now. I can control my attitude towards whatever is happening to me or around me.
For instance, my back. When I hit the lowest point of my life with my back, I could have lived in that space and not fought for the life I knew I could have. I could have stayed in the depressing outlook that so many with the same condition of differing severity have. I could have stayed tuned into that Facebook group and complained about the pain and the things I was missing out on. But I didn’t. I knew there was more to life than being in pain all of the time and I wasn’t willing to sit by and just take narcotics. I wanted the surgery because it offered hope that traditional pain management didn’t.
Or another example, getting laid off for the fifth time in five years. I could have taken the time I was given for severance and sulked around because it was also Christmas time. I could have bitched about the difficulty I would have in finding a job at the end of a year around holidays. But I took my anger and I channeled it into action. My attitude of anger became my attitude of determination. I wasn’t going to go one day without being paid because the CEO wanted to restructure during the holidays.
My attitude about life happening to me has changed. I take what comes at me and I handle it. Rather than sit in the “why me” thoughts, I figure out how I can improve my future.
My personal attitude has changed as well. I really, really don’t want to admit it, but I was that “poor me”, “why me”, negative Nancy victim of a person. I never have admitted it before. But I now see that I was. I’ve been ashamed of it because I didn’t want to be that person. I didn’t know anything different though.
I learned this mentality from my parents. It is the primary mentality that was demonstrated for me during my childhood. And because it was, I adopted it unknowingly. Even when I complained about my parents doing it and I thought I was better, I was doing it.
It has taken years of internal thought work to realize where my attitude was and how I could change it. I subconsciously let my parents attitude affect my attitude. I let them and other people through those people’s opinions define my attitude.
Jim Rohn said “No other person on Earth has dominion over our attitude. People can affect our attitude by teaching us poor thinking habits or unintentionally misinforming us or providing us negative influences, but no one can control our attitude unless we voluntarily surrender control.”
I would personally like to change that to “unless we voluntarily or involuntarily surrender control.” Why? Because I do believe that our subconscious mind can be controlled without us voluntarily giving that control away. It may or may not be intentional by the other person, but I believe it can happen.
With that being said, Jim Rohn’s statement made me think, “who have I voluntarily given control to?”
A lot of people. The jackass who cut me off on the highway. My parents outlook on life. My sister who I’m afraid to completely open my life to because of past issues when we were both in different mindsets and our own personal hell. My husband who has different views on recycling building up on the counter. My friend who I feel pushed me away when she was going through a really shitty time in life and didn’t want me to know what I know and keep locked up. The CEO who made the decision to lay people off right before Christmas. The alcohol that affected my ability to control my emotions. The person who gets drunk and tells me every single thing I’m doing wrong as part of the family.
The list can go on and on. I let people and situations affect my attitude. I gave control away. I had no self-knowledge of what was happening. My personal attitude was not my own.
As I have developed more and more self-awareness and self-knowledge, I have learned to take back control over my attitude. I have begun to make better choices and better decisions for myself. I have been able to assess situations to determine my personal attitude. My attitude is the one thing that determines my potential and what I focus on. If I’m not in control of my attitude, I’m not in control of my potential.
As I continue on my self-awareness and self-development journey, I will continue to take back more and more control over my attitude. My attitude about the past, the now, and the future depends on my ability to be self-aware and my ability to accept full responsibility for my attitude and feelings.
I am the only person in control of my destiny and I am the only person in control my attitude shaping that destiny.