"You and Your Attitude"
By Carol P. Waldhauser
In response to Fred Astaire’s first
screen test, a 1933 memo by a MGM testing director remarked,
“Can’t act. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” Astaire kept
that memo over the fireplace in his Beverly Hills Home. On another occasion,
an expert once said of famous football coach Vince Lombardi, “He possesses
minimal football knowledge. Lacks motivation.”
Life deals its blows to each one of us. Whether
the setbacks occur in our personal or professional lives (or both), they
can ruin our dreams for success – that is, if we let them. It is said
that our happiness and success depend not so much on the problems we face,
but on how we respond to them. Have you ever noticed how some people not
only survive personal setbacks but also emerge from them stronger and more
David Brinkley, the famous news correspondent,
once said, “A successful man is one who can build a firm foundation
with the bricks that others throw at him.” Ironically, data suggests
that people are more alike than they care to admit. However, one little difference
usually makes a big difference in individuals overcoming setbacks
both personally and professionally. That little difference is attitude.
Maintaining a positive, realistic “can-do” attitude
is the key to resiliency when we are experiencing life’s bumps in the
road; our attitude is what gives us the stamina to go traverse the bumps.
No matter what the bump, a positive attitude enables individuals to move
on when life has dealt them one or more cruel blows (i.e., a chronic
illness, a missed promotion, a big loss, or all of the above at the same
time). In other words, individuals who know how to bounce back have the ability
to transform disappointments and personal tragedy into a positive experience.
They know also that this ability to transform personal tragedy into a positive
experience takes skill, determination and moxie. For some individuals this
is natural, but for some it takes more.
Attitude is Everything
The amazing thing about this energizing quality
is that it is within your control. You are responsible for how you
react to disappointments and what you allow to influence your life. Ironically,
we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that
day. We cannot change the past, nor can we change the inevitable. We can,
however, change our attitude.
Accentuate the Positive
A positive outlook allows you to stand up and
take control of your life. Of course, when an individual experiences a traumatic
event, that person will at first grieve the loss and may even go into a “hole”.
However, the resilient individual is determined at some point to crawl out
of that hole by seeking additional support, if necessary. In addition, as
time passes, the resilient individual manages to transform the traumatic
tragedy into an oddly positive experience. He or she does this in three ways:
(1) building faith in themselves; (2) finding refuge from personal troubles;
and (3) believing in their own resilience.
Therefore, resilience demands optimism, and optimism
is the ability to accept negative events without allowing them to destroy
“Resilience depends on creating a life
in which you are surrounded by positive forces,” says Frederic F. Flach,
M.D., author of Resilience: The Power to Bounce Back When the Going Gets
Tough. “If you work on developing a supple sense of self-esteem,
you’ll recover more quickly from difficult times.”
Adversity Can Teach
When you have faced disaster, you can eventually
learn from it rather than worrying about it; the challenge is in replacing
worry with hope. “Worry is the most subtle and destructive of all human
diseases,” a famous physician once noted. “Millions of people
are ill because of dammed-up anxiety.”
Furthermore, “If you can get through one
setback and remain intact, you’ll have the ability to bounce back from
all sorts of other things,” says Curtis McMillen, Ph.D., associate
professor of social work at Washington University in St. Louis. In other
words, you learn coping skills.
A passionate and unwavering belief in dreams
and goals is a necessary rule for “resiliency”. This motivates
and recharges the individual. Without belief in dreams and goals old or new,
the opportunities to give up will look too tempting and you could easily
take the path of least resistance and quit.
Limit Wallowing in Self-Pity
Every person going through a hard time should
feel free to cry. The skill is to allow that time and then know when to quit
wallowing. For all of us, the best-laid plans do not always work. Our lives
are filled with potholes, roadblocks and detours. However, when times get
tough, persisting with every fiber you can is paramount to resiliency. Moreover,
surviving a major tragedy can also give you an indispensable sense of perspective.
To jump-start your attitude adjustment and cultivate
your coping skills, try the following as stated in Joe Torre’s Ground
Rules for Winners:
The five guidelines to serenity in business and
- Focus on the Present.
- Maintain Your Perspective.
- Control What You Can, Let Go of the Rest
- Feel the Fear, Succeed Anyway.
- Keep Your Cool.
Remember, you are the only person on this earth
who can use your ability. Furthermore, if you make a habit of seeing yourself
as a powerful force in your own life, not a victim of circumstance, then
you will be a powerful force when you hit the bumps in the road. For more
information work/life issues and/or other matters that influence your quality
of work and quality of life contact firstname.lastname@example.org or
call (410) 685-7878 or (800) 492-1964, ext. 3041.