Today I’m going to talk a little bit about why attitude is important and what a positive attitude might actually look like.
Really what an attitude is, an evaluation something – and its important because how we evaluate a situation will determine how we react or respond, and our behaviour determines our results
So what makes a positive attitude i.e. an attitude that’s going to improve our results. Well I’m not going to try and be comprehensive in such a short video but I will put forward some elements of what I think, and science suggests, might be useful ways to evaluate the world i.e. positive attitudes – and I’ll dive into these in the coming weeks.
The first aspect of a positive attitude I think is important is optimism. Optimism is the belief that things are going to go well. Conversely, pessimism is the belief that things are going to go badly. And we can have optimistic beliefs about ourselves, other people, and the wider world in general. Why is optimism important professionally? Well if you believe you can or you can’t – your probably right. Optimism predicts our tendency to try things -and if you don’t try you can’t succeed. Optimism also predicts our tendency to build relationships – we’re not going to take the time and effort to build relationships with our employees, fellow work colleagues or event clients – if we don’t believe they’ll lead to good outcomes.
A second important aspect of a positive attitude might be gratitude. Why is gratitude so important? Gratitude is very much associated with overall happiness. And, well, nobody likes to be around a misery guts. If you are someone who always sees the empty half of the glass, or what they’ve missed on – rather than what they have to be thankful for – keep that in mind. Focusing on what’s wrong all the time brings other people down – and if people don’t like being around you, then its very hard to do business, or build productive relationships.
A 3rd aspect of what I think might be a positive attitude is being values focused – or focusing on what’s important, rather than reacting to how we feel in a situation. We all get nervous, we feel tired, bored, and frustrated in our day to day – and sometimes in our inter-personal interactions. This is where values can be very important because they can help guide our actions in tricky situations.
So, for example, rather than focus on the fact I’m frustrated with a member of my teams performance – I can focus on what’s most important in the situation – such as getting a positive result or getting the team member performing again through support or challenging them. Once we set goals around what’s important -then we can start to do something about the probem – rather than using our energy to be angry or resentful.
To wrap I just want to make the point that having a positive attitude is not about assuming everything will be ok, or grand – especially when things are tough. This is what I call being mindlessly positive – and this can be annoying but also unhelpful. When people try and brush problems under the table it can be frustrating – and sometimes detrimental – because if everything is ‘grand’ it means we don’t have to do anything about the problem.
We contrast this to being optimistic, grateful and values driven – aspects of a positive attitude that mean you feel more motivated, build better relationships and navigate tricky situations better i.e. they lead to action. – and that can only be useful in terms of your work performance and professional and personal relationships.
So, the next time you’re in a tricky situation – ask yourself do I have an attitude problem?