Sunday, June 24, 2012

You are your... ATTITUDE

Ability is what you're capable of doing.
Motivation determines what you do.
Attitude determines how well you do it.

This quote, by retired American football coach, Leo "Lou" Holtz, who is now an active sportscaster, author, and motivational speaker, was one of the many gems I received last night in an e-mail from Dr. Marty Grothe (I am a subscriber to his "Quotes of the Week" newsletter).

What he has to say about the importance of attitude is so apt, and so beneficial, that I am reproducing his piece in full, complete with homework assignment:

"Would You Benefit From
an Attitude Adjustment?"
By Dr. Marty Grothe

Most people think that the word "attitude" refers to people's opinions or feelings. And while that is reasonably accurate, the primary definition of the word is "a position of the body or limbs, a manner of carrying oneself." In this primary sense, synonyms of the word are posture, carriage, pose, and stance—all words that refer to the characteristic position we assume with regard to the world about us.

So when I ask the question, "Would you benefit from an attitude adjustment?", I am speaking as a kind of chiropractor of the mind, and my question is suggesting that your mental alignment may be slightly off—and possibly even in need of a treatment. Okay, I realise the metaphor may be slightly forced, but bear with me for a moment as I pursue it further.

Just as our skeletal alignments can be "off," so can our attitudes about the world. We see it all the time with people whose emotional states are not in synch with the reality of their lives. Many worry when there is no rational reason to do so. Others are fearful when there is no good reason to be afraid. Some are tight-fisted and penurious, even when they are well off, or even wealthy. You get the picture.

If you're living a completely healthy, effective, and satisfying life, then you can skip over the rest of this section.

But if things are not going as well as you'd like, then it's possible you might benefit from an attitude adjustment.

So here's a homework assignment. Select a half-dozen trusted people and ask them to peruse the "attitude" quotations that appear at the end of this paragraph. Then, one by one, ask them this question: "Having read over these quotations, I'd like your feedback on how well my attitudes are working for me. In what ways are they serving me well, and where do I need to make some changes to function more effectively?"

Once you ask the question, listen attentively. When the person stops talking, don't offer any reactions. Simply ask, "What else?" And then listen some more. Before you embark on the assignment, though, let your thinking be stimulated by these observations of the subject:

  If you don't like something, change it.
   If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain.
         Maya Angelou

  A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances,
   but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.
         Hugh Downs

  It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which,
   more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.
         William James

  The last of the human freedoms
to choose one's attitude
   in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.
         Viktor Frankl

  The essence of spiritual practice is your attitude toward others.
         Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama

  Every extreme attitude is a flight from the self.
         Eric Hoffer

  Ability is what you're capable of doing.
   Motivation determines what you do.
   Attitude determines how well you do it.
         Lou Holtz

  Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently,
   but life itself would come to be different.
   Life would undergo a change of appearance because
   we ourselves had undergone a change of attitude.
         Katherine Mansfield

  A healthy attitude is contagious but don't wait to catch it from others.
   Be a carrier.
         Tom Stoppard

  If you can't change your fate, change your attitude.
         Amy Tan

  If life becomes hard to bear, we think of a change in our circumstances.
   But the most important and effective change,
   a change in our own attitude, hardly even occurs to us,
   and the resolution to take such a step is very difficult for us.
         Ludwig Wittgenstein

  • Want to know more about Dr. Mardy Grothe? Check out this Reading Room post which I published last September.

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