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How’s Your Attitude?

Although our educational system in the United States is the best in the world, I am amazed by what we don’t learn in school. Our entire educational system, from kindergarten through graduate school, either ignores or is unaware of a critical success factor in our lives—the right mental attitude.

Just how important is attitude? A study by Harvard University revealed that 85% of the reasons for success, accomplishments, promotions, etc. were because of our attitudes, and only 15%
because of our technical expertise. Yet, not only in the school systems, but as a society, we seem to have this reversed.

Attitudes do make the difference. Professor Erwin Schell writes that “when our attitude is right, our abilities reach a maximum of effectiveness, and good results inevitably follow.” And we see this time and time again. Salesmen with the right attitudes outperform their “attitude-challenged” colleagues. Students with great attitudes get good grades, and enjoy the educational process. Right attitudes make all the difference when dealing with people, including our spouses, children, parents, friends, and co-workers. Attitudes help us to win in every situation in life.

So, what can we do to improve our attitudes? Let’s starts by improving our enthusiasm. Enthusiasm, or lack of it, shows through in everything we do and say. And our “right attitude”
is directly proportional to our level of enthusiasm.

Here are a few ideas for improving your enthusiasm, and your attitude:

  1. Lift yourself up a notch. Lift up your smiles, your eyes, your thank you’s and your talk. Instead of “plodding” through the day, make it a point to be a little more upbeat.
  2. Build people up. Talk about good news with your friends and family. Encourage your children and others around you. Be helpful. Offer praise as often as you can. David Schwartz, PhD., offers the following question to ask yourself after you’ve interacted with someone: “Does that person honestly feel better because he has talked with me?” Make sure the answer is “Yes!”
  3. Make people feel important. Improve your listening skills, and be truly interested in what others have to say. Our interest sends the message that what they have to say is important.
  4. Practice appreciation. Compliments are easy to give, and easy not to give. While most of us are quick to recognize and praise big accomplishments, the little things are even more important. Develop of habit of noticing, and commenting on, appearance, routine tasks that have been completed, ideas and efforts. Be grateful, and express that to others.

As you become more enthusiastic, you will notice two things. One is the change in your attitude, and the other is the change in others. Attitude is contagious, so we must choose carefully the people we are around, and also be conscious of how our own attitude is affecting those around us. Be a positive role model with a great, enthusiastic attitude, and this will profoundly affect not only your own success and well being, but others’ as well.


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