Attitude is like the tint of your sunglasses. It colors how you see everything. A dark tint means everything looks dark. Rose colored glasses make everything look rosy. If you had a choice, would you choose dark or rosy (positive or negative)?
Personally, I would choose a positive attitude every time. But, then why do I frequently catch myself being negative? Why do I find myself complaining when I vowed I would stop? Why is complaining so automatic?
My theory: it is the way our brains work. From pre-historic times we have been programmed for survival—programmed to notice the bad, the dangerous, the signs of disease and even small inconveniences. If we notice the inconveniences, we can take care of them and survive.
But nowadays we don't have to worry about the diseases that killed our ancestors. Smallpox, Polio, Measles and Yellow Fever are all but eradicated. But our brains are still constantly scanning our world and looking for the next thing to handle in order to help us survive (for example, wondering if our job is secure or if we will have enough money to retire someday.)
Your current experience of life—right now—is the best indicator of your attitude. Do you see opportunity? Are you being at choice? Are you waking up every day excited with what you get to create? Or, are you going through life in resistance mode?
It is so easy to go unconscious and forget to choose a positive attitude. I do it far too often. I find it much easier to fall into the role of victim, martyr or complainer. I slip into being petty, jealous, and resentful. I get stuck in judging, assessing and comparing. Obviously, I am not alone... This is the design of being human and all the aforementioned ways of being are traps. They take you away from being responsible for your attitude.
It takes a certain attitude to achieve greatness. What kind of attitude would it take for you to start a new business, run a marathon or climb to the top of Mt. Everest?
We all intuitively know that our attitude shapes our experiences. A poor attitude means we will have a poor experience. A poor attitude repels others. So why would anyone choose a poor attitude? The answer is we often forget that attitude is a choice.
I have always appreciated this quote called "Attitude by Charles Swindoll":
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes.”
My invitation to you: look and see where your attitude is taking you. Resolve to choose an attitude that best serves you and the important people in your life.