It could be said that attitude is the key to a successful life or at least a happy one. As Winston Churchill is quoted as saying ‘Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.’ Our attitude can change how we perceive the world. Our attitude can change how people perceive us. When our attitude is more on the negative side then much of what we encounter day to day feels like life is out to get us, that everything is a challenge. People may even avoid us due to our negativity and we see that as evidence rather than the wakeup call it could be. No one likes to be around a ‘downer’ or a ‘whinger’. On the flip side, when our attitude is good, we see that our day-to-day experiences can bring us so many riches; lessons in compassion and tolerance, experiences in different ways of living, opportunities to grow. People gravitate towards us due to our willingness to be open to life which then enhances our positive attitude. What you reap is what you sow.
As I procrastinated about writing this, I came across a post on FaceBook (see below) which gave me more food for thought. Aside from giving me a chuckle, it was interesting to see the comments some people had put. One had added ‘Realist: the glass is half full if you are in the process of filling it, and half empty if you are in the process of emptying it’ while another had mused ‘If you don’t know how to solve the problem, get rid of the problem’. How we experience life really does come down to our thoughts and attitude. Though I think for most of us our attitude isn’t ever truly positive or negative. We are constantly in transit. Even those who seem to have a bad attitude can be found having a good attitude about the things or people they find important. We are all just swinging through life being an optimist, a pessimist or a realist. Sometimes even being like the cat who just does whatever they need to make space for themselves. It all depends on our initial attitude to our daily encounters.
Something I have learnt though over the years is that even in all this swinging we still have a say in our attitude. Ultimately, we can decide to act, speak and think a certain way. Our thoughts impact our feelings. Our feelings impact our actions and our actions impact how we are in the world. It is up to us to decide. If I choose to come at life from a perspective of gratitude, I look for the positives more and I usually find them as what you focus on tends to predominate. Then I find my attitude to life improves. Having a gratitude attitude allows us to see how much good we have and that this may not be the case for everyone. Which is all the more reason to have a good attitude about the life we are in and the good stuff we do have. If I choose to come at life from a perspective that everything is happening for a reason then I can take things in my stride more, knowing that it will all work out in the end. After all I have survived 100% of my days and experiences on earth so far …. A pretty good ratio if you ask me.
I have definitely lived life from the other perspective though; an ingratitude attitude. Thinking that everything was dangerous, life was out to get me and anyone being nice had an ulterior motive. I was suspicious of everyone and as a consequence of this attitude people often took a wide berth or only put up with me in small doses. I was quick to see what could go wrong and while some may see this as being realistic I knew, or at least felt, different. I didn’t see that the more I focused on the negative the more it showed up. Having a negative attitude was actually repelling what I really wanted; to be accepted as myself and feel that I belonged. Thankfully with some personal growth work I am starting to recognize my part in creating a good life through the attitude I choose. It takes time of course but most importantly it takes noticing the thoughts that permeate my days. Noticing them without judgement just as they are and then seeing if I can improve on them a little next time around.
Now, I like to think of my attitude as an aged whiskey; getting more refined, picking up positive notes from what is around me, becoming smoother and more palatable over time. I definitely feel and notice the changes in my attitude to life internally but maybe, just maybe, for those around me my improving attitude is still a little hidden within the barrel. Baby steps I guess.
Hoping that this finds you in the best attitude you can muster today or at least noticing where it could improve 🙂