Is attitude everything? Does our attitude define how we experience life, relationships and success in all areas of our life. I would say it is not everything – but it determines a great deal of what we experience in our lives. A great deal.
I would describe attitude as our disposition, our way of being in the world based on thoughts, ideas and behaviors that are rooted in beliefs about ourselves and the world.
We spend a significant amount of time in school and in programs that teach of the technical aspects of life, which we need as a society to continue to progress. In the area of attitude, the behavioral sciences, we tend to spend significant less time. Learning about our attitude and how to possibly change it is left primarily to the individual.
As adults we can reevaluate the thoughts, ideas and beliefs we have developed that impact our attitude and therefore our life. We can take full responsibility for our attitude. We can choose to become conscious by stepping back to identify our thoughts, ideas and beliefs. In that awareness we have the opportunity to continue to live by those thoughts, ideas and beliefs or choose new ones.
To make these changes in attitude here are 5 steps (based loosely on the Dicken’s Technique, popularized by Anthony Robbins):
- Choosing to Become Conscious – as simple as this sounds, many of us walk around in a state of semi-consciousness. We developed our beliefs at such a young age we are no longer aware of their existence. So the first steps is to choose to be aware. As we go about our day or we taking time out to become aware, we can check in with ourselves. How am I acting. What am I thinking. What is my mood.
- Identifying Beliefs – As we observe ourselves we have an opportunity to ask what must I believe in order to act this way, think these thoughts or to be in this mood. We could ask why we believe what we believe or what happened in our lives to develop this belief but that is less important than identifying the belief itself. What is the belief (e.g., financial abundance is bad, being skinny is good, being nice is good, conflict is bad).
- Evaluating the Cost or Benefit – Once we have become aware of a belief the next question is – does the belief benefit my life. Does this belief make my life better. Do I feel better in my life with this belief. If you are not feeling better by holding this belief then there is most likely a cost to holding the belief.
- Decision on Change – The next question is, for those beliefs that cost you in your life, are you willing to change those beliefs. This is an important point because we can want something different but not be willing to do something about it. Change can take effort and courage. Our beliefs can affect our whole lives and our relationships. The deciding factor though is the cost and possibly the pain caused by the belief. Are we willing to continue to pay the price or would we like our beliefs to serve to make our life better.
- Anchoring the Change
- In order to really make a deep and lasting change to our beliefs we need to replace the existing belief with something new, something that serves us in our lives versus something that cost us. So the first thing you want to do is really get clear on the cost and to really feel that cost. To really feel the cost of that belief both now and in the future. One year from now, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years – what is the cost over time.
- After you have allowed yourself to really feel the cost of the belief you turn it around and do the opposite. What if you changed the belief. What could your life look like if you no longer had the belief. How might you feel. What good things might you attract into your life. Really feel those good feelings.
If you have really allowed yourself to follow these steps, investing particular attention in step 5, you should feel a difference in how you hold yourself and your future. This is a powerful process that you can use to change any belief and thus change your attitude and thus your opportunity for success.
Not Just Your Typical Post!
When I think of “passive aggressive behavior” I think of behaviors between two or more people. It can be a spoken or unspoken attempt to control another individual, with the purpose of affecting the outcome that is wanted or unwanted.
But what if it is possible to be passive aggressive towards ourselves? To try and manipulate ourselves in that same hostile and controlling way.
Consider those situations you want to do something and yet you do not do it. I am talking about things you really want. What I have found is that some or many of the things we want to do but do not do are the outcome of unconscious resistance to ourselves. On the surface we say we want something and yet deeper down, in our unconscious we do not want to risk experiencing the thing or situation.
I can say I want a better paying job, a better relationship, to move to a new area, more clients, etc., but if I am afraid of the outcome, say rejection, I may not move forward to get those things in my life.
So on one hand we are telling ourselves we really want something and at the same time we are resisting and possibly passive aggressively flogging ourselves for not doing it. We have passive aggression interactions with others because we want or don’t want something. We can do the same thing to ourselves. The outcome: we create hurt and pain within ourselves (even if we are not aware of it)!
So what do we do about this passive aggressive behavior toward ourselves? Own it. And I don’t mean the own it in your head, I am talking about owning that we don’t want to do it at the head, heard and soul levels. This level of ownership opens the door to real change (and healing). Sit with your resistance as long as you need in order to fully feel it – not just think it. Own that you want this thing or situation but at the same time and perhaps even stronger you don’t want it (because of the possible outcome that may not be what we want it to be).
Once we fully own, at a heart level, that we are holding ourselves back – then we have taken the power back from our unconscious tendency toward passive aggressive resistance. Now we have a chance of stepping beyond our own passive aggressive resistance toward creating more of what you want in your life. Now we can consciously choose to do or not do something. Try it.
- Look at what “want” you have had for some time.
- Have you been putting it off, if so, look deeper for avoidance which is also a “don’t want”
- Stop & fully own that resistance and speak it out loud.
- Step forward and honor your want
- Now decide consciously if you still want this thing or situation and own that decision
- Now either let it go or decide what step you could take today, tomorrow or next week to get this want in your life.
Ever have that thought, “they’re getting ahead of me”, “they did what I was thinking about doing”, “they are better at it than me”, “I’ll never be as good as them”…the list goes on. You may not say these things, but do you have some parallel thoughts of your own?
So someone is already doing what you thought about doing, great! They are doing it better than you judge you could do it, great! They are way ahead of where you are at – GREAT!
What I experience in my life is continually expanding opportunities. There are so many facets to parenting, to running a business, to growing roses, to making love – the list is endless. Some of those ideas might be an idea that changes how the world works, others may not or may not in a big bang way.
My point is – don’t spend a lot of time comparing. Do a little homework and then follow your intuition. The world is always expanding into new frontiers, from the pony express (days, weeks, months, years?) to electron mail that is in (milliseconds, seconds, minutes).
Move forward. Take the risk. Copy if you have to – but get out there and then really listen to your intuition so you can make course corrections if beneficial to you and the world.
Where are you putting your energy? Or are you? Is it flowing, impacting the world around you or blocked up and withdrawn. Which is more likely to create a life of joy and satisfaction?
What if you could choose when to stop and when to expand out? Of course the answer is you can – but do you?
Is there someone you want to call but continue to put off calling? An activity that is about expanding versus withdrawing, going unconscious?
Stop – Make the call. Spend 15 minutes really talking and connecting to your son, daughter, mother, father or friend. Stop and connect with you – feel your own heart. Connect with you and then connect with someone else.
Happy New Year to you.
So, what exciting things are you intending for 2012? What really sounds good to you versus what you “should” or “have to” do? I know, you may have things you don’t want to stop doing because of the impact on your life style. But what about the incremental steps you can start taking today to move you in the direction of what you really want to do and experience in your life? Dig down and dream, feel the excitement that comes with putting your ass on the line. Dream big and then take it step by step.
Go for it!
Five Tips for Maintaining Your Sanity
Last year I introduced our then 8 and 10 year old daughters to Christmas Vacation. It was fun to see the look on their faces during all of those crazy antics. I still love that movie. So much drama which no one in the movie seems to escape unscathed.
One of my favorite parts is when the brother-in-law is standing out in front of the Griswold’s house in his robe, a beer in his hand, draining his sewage into the rain runoff drain with a huge smile on his face – the look of bliss! The look on the neighbor’s face was priceless!
Ok, most of us won’t experience this level of chaos during the holidays. And yet, with all the energy that can surround this time of year many of us will find ourselves considering some type of escape from reality (like grabbing a beer). So I want to share some tips I included in an article I wrote for the Boulder Center for Conscious Community (BC3) newsletter.
Speculating I am not alone in my experience of big feelings during the holidays…I have five tips to share with you in support of your self care during the holidays. Reminders to…
- Take time to envision with intention the experiences you want to create over the holiday season.
- Take time for self care; time out for yourself in the midst of busy schedules and celebration.
- Allow yourself to have and accept whatever feelings you are experiencing, to acknowledge them with tenderness and care.
- Create a space, a pause in the midst of high emotions (when we are triggered?) to feel and be present with your feelings before you respond or react.
- Hold all of your feelings as an experience, not good or bad, but feelings that are like passing clouds, letting them pass along with any stories that may be triggered.
Here is wishing you the best this season, whoever you are and wherever you are!
Regardless of what is happening around us we can choose our thoughts and our attitude.
In my more recent post I have written that what we create for ourselves, for our life, is a choice. Our thoughts related to what we create may be conscious or unconscious – and that is a choice too. Where we put our attention, our awareness, in any given moment – is a choice.
"Mind is the Master power that moulds and makes,
And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes
The tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills,
Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills: —
He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass:
Environment is but his looking-glass."
by James Allen, 1902
As I have posted earlier and as James Allen said so long ago, our mind is the power that molds and makes our reality. Our happiness follows that same principle. Through our thoughts we have the ability to create our own happiness. Regardless of what is happening around us we can choose our thoughts and our attitude. We can choose to be happy.
The question is, are you willing to be happy? Are you willing to choose your thoughts and attitude – to commit to being happy in your life?
What might this list of thoughts have in common? I don't want to look foolish. I don't want to fail. I don't want to miss the deadline. I don't want to lose money. I don't want to lose my client. I don't want to stay stuck in this job. I don't want to have my kids talk back to me. I don't want my kids to fail. I don't want to hear my neighbors lawn mower. Etcetera.
When a thought is reoccurring we have an investment in it. These thoughts continue to occur because we continue to focus our energy on them. If we had no attachment to them they would cease to come to mind. In reality we are choosing these thoughts by continuing to focus on them. Given we are choosing to invest energy in them one could argue we want these thoughts in our life.
When we focus our energy on what we don't want we are missing opportunities to focus on what we do want. Yes, we want to make room to acknowledge what we don't want. Once we acknowledge what we don't want we have a choice. Do I continue to focus on what I don't want or do I focus my energy on what I do want.
What if there is a correlation between what we get in life and the energy we invest in thoughts of what we want and what we don't want? What could you be focusing your energy right now?
When a "I don't want" thought persist take time to see if there is a feeling below the thought that you could explore. There is a process of exploring and releasing the feelings that anchor these thoughts. I have frequent webinars and teleclasses that cover these issues. Check my up and coming Events page.
We make a plan based on our vision, our high level approach, milestones and time estimates. And then we begin to execute against our plan. Some of us will move ahead taking action and some of us will avoid taking action. Why might some avoid taking action?
When we take action (or don't) we get results. For some, those results can be perceived as failure by using mistakes, missed dates, unwanted outcomes, rejection, lack of support, cost over-runs, etc. as evidence (of our failure).
Perceiving results in this way can be painful, diminish our energy, lower our confidence and even be used as an indicator of our value as an individuals. What is the outcome? We avoid taking some or all of the actions we can to realize our vision.
How might we view the results of our actions and our plans that will allow us to move forward unencumbered by the fear of failure?
By viewing our results as information. Information that does not define success or failure, but information that we can use to determine how we move forward. I can be disappointed or excited, but it is not a reflection on me as an individual. I get information, I decide how I want to move forward.
I can sell them on my ideas but am I all talk with no substance. I think too highly of my capabilities so it is bound to fall apart. Ouch. Not a real pick-me-up dialog with one's self in the morning. And yet this type of self talk can be so old, subtle and unconscious we do not even realize we are saying it to ourselves.
Do you know what is so intriguing to me about this self talk? We have chosen it and we continue to choose to keep it going. How?
Our negative self talk comes from our beliefs. If you did not believe what you tell yourself why would you continue to repeat it?
So how do we change our beliefs? First, by owning that it is our belief – no matter how we came to develop the belief, it is ours. No one can force us to create or keep a belief.
And second, by challenging the validity of our beliefs. If your beliefs are punishing you, don't you owe it to yourself to challenge the validity of them?