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The Power of Personal Attitudes

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by Roy Posner


Each of us is made up of various physical, vital, and mental parts. There is our physical body and its organs, muscles, etc.; the vital being with its sensations, emotions and feelings, and the mental part with its thoughts, memories, reasoning power, beliefs, etc.

Somewhere between our emotions and our thought processing lie our attitudes -- our emotional perceptions about ourselves, others, and life itself. Attitudes generally express positively and negatively. E.g., when I have good feelings towards my work or co-worker, my attitude is positive. When I feel reluctant to do certain things that are necessary, or show hostility towards certain individuals, then my attitude is negative.

Interestingly, if we can identify a bad attitude and make the effort to change it, life will quickly cooperate with that effort, bringing luck into our lives. Consider this true-life incident:

A salesperson was intimidated about meeting a very large customer. He felt that the effort was a waste of time since the company was too large to penetrate. As a result, he was unable to secure that or any other sale with the large client.

However, a number of months later, he changed his attitude about working with such large accounts. The very next day, he was stunned when out of the blue that very same large customer, who earlier turned him down, placed a huge order!

As we see, if we change our attitudes, life has a funny way of responding to those efforts. We call this phenomenon a "life response." When we change our attitudes, or otherwise elevate our consciousness, life quickly responds with instances of sudden good fortune. 


Attitudes about Ourselves, Others, and Life

Though there are many attitudes, if we look a little closer we can identify three basic types -- those concerning ourselves, those about others and the objects around us, and those we have towards life itself.

Let's focus here on each of these types. An example of a wanting attitude about ourselves is a lack of self-worth or self-confidence. An example of a wanting attitude about others is a feeling of ill will towards another, or being mistrustful of someone. An example of a negative attitude towards life is being pessimistic that things will never turn out well. These are destructive feelings and emotions that cannot help but worsen life's conditions.

The good news, however, is that if we overcome any such negative feelings or emotions, not only do we raise our level of consciousness, but life will quickly move in our favor. Consider this true story where an individual changed her attitude about other people:

A woman was working as a temporary employee for a large medical organization. For months, she complained about certain coworkers at her job. At the time, she had decided to develop a 30-day plan to secure a full-time position. One part of her plan was to change her attitude toward these particular individuals. In the days that followed, she persisted in following her plan, focusing especially on her wanting attitude toward others. She was shocked however when a short while into her plan, she was suddenly asked to work for the organization full time -- her first permanent job in nearly a decade!

That is the power of changing a negative attitude toward others. Here is another incident, this time narrated by a friend of ours from Asia:

"In our unit there was a supervisor whom I felt was indifferent, insubordinate, and had to be punished. I was looking for an opportunity to pin him down. A time came to do so, and I dismissed him mercilessly. Within two days of his dismissal, there was a major breakdown in one of the machines.

The supplier of the machine then sent their engineers. They struggled for 7 days and could do very little to set it right. I was thoroughly disgusted. I then started examining my attitudes on several fronts during the last 10 days.

It struck to me that whenever I am in the position to do so, my attitude is to dominate another person. In this case, I was able to dominate the supervisor and dismiss him mercilessly. But in the case of the machine, I could not afford to throw it away and replace it with a new machine; so I tolerated it. Based on my previous knowledge of the subtle workings of life, I understood at that point that I had to change my attitude.

I then called back the supervisor, apologized for my rude action, and requested him to continue in the company. He felt very happy. It was then striking that the machine that had been out of commission until then, now unexpectedly got fixed. In fact, there haven't been any serious troubles with any of the machines since then!"

As we can see, when we overcome a negative attitude towards others, life quickly responds in our favor. Machines that had broken down suddenly start working, projects that were delayed are suddenly and unexpectedly completed on time, negative situations dissolve, employment opportunities arise our way out of nowhere, cash unexpectedly moves in our direction, and so forth. It is the miracle of life response in action!

By the author of this article, Roy Posner
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Embracing Life's Conditions

One virulent negative attitude we have is being reluctant or even intransigent about doing something life requires of us. When we avoid these given conditions of life or otherwise shrink from doing what is necessary for that time, we not only block achievement, but we invite failure. On the other hand, if we overcome our negative attitude and embrace the requirements of the present, life has a funny way of quickly working on our behalf. Here is a true-life example:

A trainer was reluctant to review a series of complex training materials. Moreover, his schedule was so full that he wondered how he would have the energy to go through them and at the same time perform his training duties.

He then reversed his attitude, overcame his reluctance, and began to go through the complex materials. Just as he was finishing up one of the sections, his telephone rang.  It was the voice of his training manager informing him that several of his classes had been rescheduled, making it unnecessary for him to go through the very next -- and most complex -- set of sections. As a result, he was now relieved of great amount of tension and anxiety.

When we embrace the requirements of the Now, instead of rejecting or avoiding them, life quickly responds with good fortune. It turned out to be a lesson that our trainer would carry forward for the rest of his life.

Here is another, similar example of the same dynamic:

A woman, looking for a new position as an administrative assistant, was reluctant to learn a new computer program that would improve her skills and therefore help her get a better job with better pay.  One day she decided to reverse that viewpoint and decided to learn a spreadsheet software program; one that she rarely used in any previous job position.  That knowledge could possibly be one of a number of software programs that could aid her in a potential admin position.

Within a few hours after learning the program, she got a new job.  Not only that, but the job position involved made extensive use of the very spreadsheet program she had learned just a few hours before!

The effort by the woman to learn overcome her reluctance and embrace a possibility and opportunity helped trigger an event that led to immediate, startling, and positive life response in that precise domain where she made the change. It seems impossible, but that is precisely how life works!

And now one final episode involving that same woman:

One of the nurses on a floor above me called for a chart. The computer showed that the chart was still upstairs. This meant that I had to go up to look all over the place for it, which is something I don't usually do, and get frustrated with when I do it.

Well, this time I resigned myself to going upstairs to search for the chart. As I was going out the door from my department, there was a cart there holding several charts. I then turned the first one over, and it turned out to be the very chart I was just about to hunt down upstairs!

By taking up the needs of the present, life came quickly moved on her behalf, overcoming space and time. By overcoming her wanting attitude of reluctance, she attracted extraordinary results from the world around her. 


Negative Expressions Attracts Negative Response

So far, we have seen that changing a negative attitude can attract sudden good fortune. Inversely, if we take to a negative attitude, we can attract sudden ill fortune. For example, if we feel hostility towards another person, problematic circumstances can quickly arise.

At the annual gathering of a company's employees, prizes were being given out to the staff. One employee watching the proceedings hoped to win one of the larger ones. When the biggest prize was announced, the winner scurried to the front to pick it up from the host. However, the previously mentioned woman watching the proceedings was bitterly disappointed. In fact, it turned out that several weeks earlier she had a run in with the winner of the prize, adding to her bitterness. When the bitter woman arrived back at her home later that night, she received word that her son had suddenly fallen into very difficult straits.

Here is another example of how life responds negatively to a wanting attitude.

A man "A" met a fellow instructor "B" before a class he was to perform. One of the things they discussed were problems they had experienced in earlier classes. In particular, A kept talking about how the students at a certain client were particularly difficult to work with. He persisted in expressing his bitter feelings.  Though that instructor rarely had problems with his students, later on that day -- as well as in the next two classes -- he had a series of difficulties with the participants.

As we see, when we express negative sentiment -- whether ill will towards certain individuals, or complaining about others -- we can elicit sudden ill fortune. The best approach then is to try to be mindful of our moment-to moment thoughts and feelings, and catch ourselves whenever our attitude turns sour. That way we can avoid such work-destroying situations as this one:

An instructor had lined up an important training class. Several days before the gathering, he was sidetracked and sent an email to someone disparaging a prominent thinker. In the middle of writing that note, he received a call from his contactor canceling the upcoming class.

As we see, negative expressions, feelings, opinions, etc. can cancel or destroy a work. Thus, it is best to constantly scan our attitudes, and block their negative expressions, before they ruin life's circumstance.

The Power of an Overall Positive Attitude

In addition to having the right attitude, it is always best to have an overall positive attitude.  Not only will your work flow more smoothly, your interactions with others will be more harmonious, and your spirits stay high, but you are likely to garner the sudden cooperation of life. 

A management consultant was hoping to have a key meeting with the principle officers of a company with $100+ billion in assets. For days, he fretted about the deal as the potential client failed to contact him.  Over that time, he developed greater and greater doubts that the meeting would ever take place.

Finally, he remembered that it was important to maintain a positive attitude in these sorts of situations. He therefore decided to change his feeling from that of concern and worry to being fully positive. Shortly thereafter, the client contacted the consultant and told him that the meeting would take place. Needless to say, the consultant was thrilled to no end. In fact, years of high-level consulting work would follow.

That is the power of having a generally positive attitude.

Now consider this journal entry of an audio-video retail chain owner, who was in the process of conducting several sales meetings. Fortunately, in this incident (described in the owner's journal), he was aware of the importance of having a positive attitude. 

"-around 4pm my energy starts to sap, I start to feel sorry for myself and wonder how I will last the day. I decide to reverse my attitude and say, "there is no room for this behavior; you must push on and go to work." In the very next sales interview, D reports he just sold for $18,000!!' [A huge amount for but one salesperson.]

-I have a meeting with G, an important audio salesperson. We work through a system to get him committed and productive. We discuss the fact that he must commit. During the meeting, I am conscious of my attitude that is negative about our chances of success. I struggle to reverse them with lukewarm results. The meeting is then interrupted as the store is then filled with customers, including a good one for that salesperson!"


Remaining Calm and Positive in a Difficult Situation

An overall positive attitude has the power to attract sudden good fortune. We have also seen that when difficult circumstances come your way, and you remain steady and calm, life will suddenly reverse and cancel the problem, often bringing startling new opportunities in its place. Here is a powerful true story of the benefit of "inner equality" in the face of adversity.

"We have our business unit in a space that we rent out from another party. One day the owner of our rented space picked an argument with our own manager -- apparently without good reason. As a result of the dispute, the owner threatened to terminate our lease for the space we were renting. As it turned out, I was away during the time these events were transpiring.

Naturally, all of the workers, including my manager, were agitated -- so much so, that they wanted me to take appropriate legal action against the owner of the space. However, I decided not to react to the intensity of the situation, and, instead, decided to remain calm and composed. In fact, I told the workers, as well as the manager to stay calm as well, and to concentrate instead on their work. I myself continued to function in a normal fashion as if nothing had happened.

Several days later, the owner of the rented space unexpectedly came up to me in tears. He said that his two-year-old grandson had a heart problem, and he wanted me to suggest a hospital where the child could be treated. Through my doctor friends, I was able to suggest a hospital in Madras [i.e. Chennai, India]. The child was then taken there."

After examination, the doctors revealed that the child had a hole in his heart, and that he had to be operated on immediately. The operation was going to cost around two lacs of rupees [~5000 US dollars]. Unfortunately, the owner did not have two-pennies to pay for this very expensive operation. However, I then talked to a bank manager and arranged financing from the bank. The loan was secured based solely on my personal guarantee. The bank also took an agreement from the owner that he would not evict my company on any grounds for the next five years. The child was saved."

In this startling episode bordering on the profound, we see how the manager's right attitude of calm and equality not only led to the cancellation of the eviction, not only led to the intense appreciation and goodwill of the owner, but saved the life of a small child. When we maintain a positive attitude in the face of adversity, life has a way of cooperating in ways we would have never imagined!

Use Growth Online Form to Overcome Deficient Attitudes 

You can overcome your wanting attitudes in a systematic way. Available is a form to do that. The form is available two ways (1) without sample data; and (2) with sample data in it. We recommend you download both, enter the data into the file w/o sample data (1), but use the file with sample data (2) as reference of how a typical person might fill in the form.


For additional thoughts on the relationship between our attitudes & achievement, click here.

 To see a list of human attitudes expresses positively and negatively, click here.



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