Attitude: Your Key to Success
If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude.
We all would like to be successful. Yet, many have thousands of reasons why they cannot succeed. In truth, all we need is one reason why we can. That one reason is attitude. Nothing is more important: not education, aptitude, health, wealth, or opportunity. Great men and women share this opinion. For example, Thomas Jefferson wrote “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”
What is attitude? It is our disposition, perspective, viewpoint, or outlook. It is how we view the world. Frederick Langbridge expressed it well when he wrote, “Two men look out the same prison bars; one sees mud and the other stars.” What do you see?
It’s almost as if we were wearing sunglasses. The glasses we choose to wear determine what we see. Polarizing glasses, for instance, can remove reflections and give us a clearer view of reality. On the other hand, yellow or blue glasses distort the world, giving everything a yellowish or bluish appearance. We don’t experience reality directly, but filter it with our mind. That is, we don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are. We interpret our experiences, labeling them as good or bad. However, our interpretations do not affect reality; they just affect us.
Some people love the cold weather because it’s perfect for skiing. Others hate the cold. Obviously, our feelings have no influence on the temperature. However, our emotions have great impact on our lives, bringing us happiness or unhappiness. Some of us can discover opportunity in every difficulty; others find nothing but difficulty in every opportunity — same circumstances, but different sunglasses, different attitudes. So, it is our attitude, not fate that determines our degree of success. This is not a new idea. The Greek Philosopher Epictetus wrote, more than 2,000 years ago, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” Again, 500 years earlier, Buddha taught, “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.”
However, it wasn’t until the nineteenth century that an enormous contribution to understanding attitude was made by the American psychologist, William James. He revealed that our attitude was optional. We have a choice. We can choose how we think. In his words, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”
Not only did he teach us that we have a choice, but he taught us how to change our attitude. It’s simple: just behave the way you want to become. Are you a pessimist that wishes to become an optimist? If so, pretend to be optimistic! For when you change your behavior, you change the world! You see, the world is a mirror. If you always act grumpy, you will find everyone you meet behaves in the same manner. But if you start pretending that you are cheerful and helpful, guess what? Everyone will respond in a like manner, and as they do so, your attitude will start changing. You will have a reason to be optimistic, for you will discover people are cheerful and kind if given the chance.
It is not the position, but the disposition.
An acquaintance of mine, Mike, paid for college by taking a part-time job as a retail salesman. Unlike some coworkers, he didn’t whine about minimum wages. He never said, “Why should I work hard when I’m not being paid enough?” On the contrary, he realized there are no menial jobs, only menial attitudes. He was an optimist. He believed that whatever his salary, he should always do his best. After graduation, he stayed on, but started working full-time. Others, who had been working at the store longer than Mike, couldn’t understand how he got a full-time job when they didn’t. They didn’t realize the difference the right attitude can make.
Mike continued to do his best. Before long, he was promoted to store Manager. He did so well in his new job that Head Office took him out of the store and put on the road as a sales rep. Once again, he excelled. So much so that he was moved to Head Office as the new National Sales Manager of one of the product lines. There’s nothing that can stop a positive attitude, so Mike went on to become the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for his company, a chain of more than 120 stores. Oh, by the way, some of the people he started working with in retail are still there, still complaining. What a difference a positive attitude can make. So, if at first you don’t succeed, try a little ardor!
Attitude is Everyhting
The process of human change begins within us. We all have tremendous potential. We all desire good results from our efforts. Most of us are willing to work hard and to pay the price that success and happiness demand.
Each of us has the ability to put our unique human potential into action and to acquire a desired result. But the one thing that determines the level of our potential, that produces the intensity of our activity, and that predicts the quality of the result we receive is our attitude.
Attitude determines how much of the future we are allowed to see. It decides the size of our dreams and influences our determination when we are faced with new challenges. No other person on earth has dominion over our attitude. People can affect our attitude by teaching us poor thinking habits or unintentionally misinforming us or providing us with negative sources of influence, but no one can control our attitude unless we voluntarily surrender that control.
No one else “makes us angry.” We make ourselves angry when we surrender control of our attitude. What someone else may have done is irrelevant. We choose, not they. They merely put our attitude to a test. If we select a volatile attitude by becoming hostile, angry, jealous or suspicious, then we have failed the test. If we condemn ourselves by believing that we are unworthy, then again, we have failed the test.
If we care at all about ourselves, then we must accept full responsibility for our own feelings. We must learn to guard against those feelings that have the capacity to lead our attitude down the wrong path and to strengthen those feelings that can lead us confidently into a better future.
If we want to receive the rewards the future holds in trust for us, then we must exercise the most important choice given to us as members of the human race by maintaining total dominion over our attitude. Our attitude is an asset, a treasure of great value, which must be protected accordingly. Beware of the vandals and thieves among us who would injure our positive attitude or seek to steal it away.
Having the right attitude is one of the basics that success requires. The combination of a sound personal philosophy and a positive attitude about ourselves and the world around us gives us an inner strength and a firm resolve that influences all the other areas of our existence.
This is one of the main keys in eliminating negativity. It does take discipline to do this, but it is well worth making the effort for. When you start you will notice many subtle layers of negativity within your consciousness. Don’t feel bad about them as we all have them, every single human being. There is the top, obvious layer of “I cant’s” and the like. Once you start dealing with this you will become aware of other layers below this, which are much more subtly woven into your consciousness. Since you will have spent time making yourself aware of the negativity by then, you will find it much easier to spot and remove these subtler forms.
Once you have spotted them of course, you need to replace them with something. You can do this with Positive Visualisations or Affirmations. You can also change it then and there, with a powerful mental image of positivity. For example, you are about to start a new job and you arrive at the office and your mind is full of “I can’t do this” thoughts. Do not let them come in to your mind and take root. Visualise a wall or bars coming down to keep them out. Then positively focus on “I CAN DO THIS” changing the negative to the positive. Repeat this three times to strengthen it and you will be fine. It really does work, honest. And … you will notice a difference very quickly, so keep it up and persevere. It really is worth it.
As part of this healing process, there is a meditation worth doing to help you understand your belief patterns. Firstly, find a quiet place to sit where you won’t be disturbed for 15-20 minutes, and get yourself a pen and paper. Then sit quietly, and centre yourself. Relax and breathe deeply and evenly. Take your pen and paper and begin to write down all the beliefs you hold. These can be about yourself, about money, about love, about life, about people. Keep writing and be honest with yourself. Remember that if you lie here then the only person you are lying to is yourself, no one else. Some of these beliefs may not be too easy to face, but be brave and face them because that is the first step to ridding yourself of them.
Once you have written them down and no more are coming out take a break, go and do something else for a little while. Then come back and re-read what you have written. Try to determine, if you can, where these beliefs come from as this will help you in reprogramming them and stopping them from taking root again. Now you can work on reprogramming these beliefs through affirmations, positive visualisation, and whatever other techniques suit you best.
A lot of our beliefs we will find are not our own, but are programmed into us by our parents, the media and our surroundings. For example, when we were growing up our parents may have always said to us “We can’t afford that” which programs you with a worry about money. You may see in the news something about another country and from that you mentally create a belief pattern, perhaps “All xxxxxxx are ignorant savages” whereas they are not all like that, no more than all the British take afternoon tea (they don’t by the way).
We also hold cultural beliefs. These are beliefs that are programmed into us by the society we grow up in. These relate to our social status, ethnic group, geographical region, religion, and nationality. For example, those born into high social standing often have beliefs that people without money are below them. Certain ethnic groups are brought up with the belief that they are not as good as other ethnic groups. Religions have pre-programmed sets of beliefs, usually along the lines of “My god is better than yours”, or that disbeliever’s are inferior. Countries have national pride and enmities. For example, China and Tibet, North and South Korea, America and Cuba. Removing these can be much more work, but again, the end goal is well worth pursuing.
One thing to remember here is not to use generalities. You may have been taught that all Communists are bad people, but they are not. There are good Communists who care for other people as there are good and bad Americans, British, Japanese, and so on. This applies to all of our cultural beliefs. Not all rich people are mean, not all poor people are thieves, not all religious people are pompous, etc.
Attitudinal healing is about challenging all these beliefs. It is like looking after your garden, where your mind is your garden. You do not want weeds and debris cluttering your garden, and nor do you want them in your mind. You have to go through and weed out the thoughts that serve no purpose and you do not want, or need, there. Remember though that this is not a one off process, it is a continual process. As new weeds always grow, new thoughts and patterns are always entering our minds, but as we follow this path so we stop them from taking root and making themselves at home.
To effect these changes does require some discipline on your part, as often negativity creeps in from the most surprising avenues. However, after a short period of time you will find that eliminating negativity will become a habit and you will be catching the thoughts before they can even get into your mind.
For each of us, the universe is different. A homeless man may view the universe as unfair, hard and tough. A rich man may view the universe as a lovely place full of luxury and pleasure. Both of them are viewing the same universe, it is just different because of their perceptions of it and their life experiences.
This is a fundamental key to understanding, to know that how you perceive the universe is how it is to you. If you feel it is full of fear and hatred, then it will be. If you think it is full of love and happiness, it is. Using some of the techniques discussed in this, and other articles, you can start to reprogram the way you perceive the universe and change your life!
Think about how many times you have feared something happening and then it has. For example, you might be worried that you are going to bump your car, and then you do. Was it a premonition or did you create it? Compare this to the amount of times you have looked forward to something and then it has happened. Usually the fear is a much stronger emotion and focus, which causes the object of that fear/thought to manifest much more quickly.
Of course, thought and belief does not just create the universe on an emotional and psychological level, but also on a material level. We may fear that we are not good with money and hence we are not. You can use your will and focus on manifesting items that you want to further your life with. Remember that you can only manifest things you believe you can have. You may wish for a million dollars, but unless you really believe you can have it, you will not get it.
You need to be aware that things are not just going to fall out of the air and land on your lap, though on occasion they may well do so, literally as well as figuratively. It sometimes takes a little while for what you want to manifest to appear. Sometimes it requires faith and patience on your part. It might be the Universe is testing you to see if you really want it and will really dedicate yourself to getting it before you get it. You cannot sit back and wait for what you want to manifest.
There is a saying “God helps those who help themselves”. This is true. When you are manifesting it is essential that you listen to your intuition and follow your instincts. It often also depends on whether what you are trying to manifest is in tune with your life’s purpose or not. If it is not then you have an uphill struggle to manifest it. Also, if you manifest for selfish needs and with your ego then it is not likely to work. It works best when you manifest for the greater good, selflessly, and from your higher self.
When working on manifesting remember to keep your mind open as to how it is going to appear in your life. For example, many of us may want to manifest more money. We have a mental program that says, “more money means I have to work more”. This is not necessarily true. You might manifest more money from a promotion, a raise at work, a change of job or career, from a competition win, an inheritance, and many other ways. You need to be open to this because if you mentally limit the ways the Universe can provide to you then it is going to be much harder for what you want to come into your life. Listen to your intuition too because it will help guide you. You might get the urge to buy a newspaper suddenly. You buy it and notice the exact car you want for sale in it. Our intuition is from our higher self and will guide us if we listen to it.
You can use decrees, affirmations, and positive visualisation to help you create what you want in your universe. This does not just have to be limited to material items, but you can work on bringing more love, more joy and many other things into your life and the lives of those around you. When you are working on manifesting things such as these into your life look to the root cause of what you are lacking. For example, you might feel you are lacking love in your life. Examine the cause and you might see it is because of a lack of self-worth or self-love, or because of something in your childhood. Once you are aware of why you can work on dealing with the issue and healing yourself. Then you will find it much easier to bring, and to keep, what you desire in your life.
Another exercise you can do to help you manifest is to realise the abundance of the universe. Abundance will be the subject of another article, and is dealt with fully within the course, but take a walk outside some time and look at how abundant nature is. See how freely nature gives and how much is given. Think about this and how abundance can be a part of your life.
You can use affirmations such as:
I am worthy of love and respect from others and myself
I have an abundance of money in my life
I am good with money and spend it wisely
I open myself to the abundance of the universe
I am in tune with my higher self
I accept that I am a good and worthy person
Finally, remember these points:
- Believe in what you are trying to manifest
- Listen to your intuition
- Manifest from your higher self and in harmony with your life’s purpose
- Manifesting is not just limited to material items. You can manifest more love, happiness, peace, and much more
- Manifest for others, not just yourself
- That YOU create the universe you live in, so changing your perceptions of it, changes the universe
Discovering Your True Self
The most important question of all
Many people are on a quest seeking to discover whether God exists, what happens to us after death, and what the purpose of humanity is. Few people, however, are asking the most important question of all: “Who or what am I?” What good are the answers to the other questions if we don’t even know who or what we are? Most of us are asleep. We’re zombies. We exist, but don’t live. We see, but don’t watch. We hear, but don’t listen. We speak empty words and eat without tasting. We rush on our way without feeling the wind on our face, the sun on our arms, and the grass beneath our feet. Why chase after life-after-death when we ignore life-before-death? Why do we pass through life unaware of the greatest treasure of all, our True Self?
The way we are
Many of us were raised by imperfect parents in an imperfect world. In our early years, we were exposed to criticism by others. Not knowing any better, we accepted the criticism of adults as the truth. Some of the thoughts that flowed through our minds may have included, “I am lazy. I am stupid. I am bad. I am worthless. I can’t do anything right.” First we were criticized; then we criticized ourselves. We identified with the negative thoughts. We gave them life. We believed the thoughts were us. Later, we started criticizing others, in the vain hope that by dragging them down we would be uplifting ourselves. Our own feelings of inadequacy led us to treat others unfairly. Naturally, our victims fought back by criticizing us, thereby perpetuating the problem.
The way we were meant to be
To discover your True Self, you need to understand the roles of Things, Thoughts, and the Thinker. Things stimulate our senses and cause thoughts to arise in our consciousness. After, licking an ice-cream cone, for example, my stimulated taste buds may cause me to think, “Wow, this tastes great!” Thoughts are powerful tools. They allow us to advance. Ice-cream tasters and other experts working for the ice-cream factory used the power of thought to develop new, delectable flavors. We are poised to explore space, build new super computers, and discover cures for deadly diseases all because of the power of thought.
I am not the thoughts that flood my mind, but I am the Thinker that uses the thoughts to create. That’s our legacy. That’s what we were meant to be. Unfortunately, many are still trapped in their thoughts. They don’t realize they are the Thinker and not the thoughts. They allow their thoughts to control them instead of them controlling their thoughts. This is a recipe for disaster because our thoughts are created by things and events that we have no control of. Therefore, if we allow ourselves to drift in the tide of our thoughts, we will have no control over our destination. We must reclaim our True Self, The Thinker, and analyze our thoughts as they appear. We must be critical thinkers, tossing aside every useless or negative thought while using every positive thought to bring us nearer to our full potential.
The way out
How do we crawl out of the quicksand of our thoughts and assume our rightful role as The Thinker, our True Self? A good way to begin is with a simple meditation technique. Choose a comfortable room where you won’t be disturbed. Wear loose-fitting clothes. Sit straight, yet comfortably. Close your eyes to remove distractions. Breathe slowly and deeply. Relax. Allow your thoughts to flow freely. Don’t try to control them; merely observe them.
Another name for your True Self is The Witness. Assume the role of The Witness by witnessing your thoughts. Do not analyze them. Above all, don’t be judgmental. Merely observe and accept. If a negative thought arises, don’t say to yourself, “I’m too negative. I need to change.” Just observe; don’t judge. But if you do start criticizing yourself, that’s okay, too. Witness your self-criticism. Step back and observe, just like you’re watching someone else. In fact, that’s what you are doing. You are observing someone else because the thoughts are not you. The thoughts come and go. They fade away and change. But your True Self is changeless.
Although the technique is simple, it is not simple to do. You are so entrenched in your thoughts that you will find it almost impossible to step back and remove yourself from them. But that’s okay. That’s to be expected. Practice this technique for five to ten minutes at first, gradually increasing it to twenty minutes. Over time, you will be able to witness your thoughts. At first, just for a fleeting moment. But as time passes, you will be able to witness your thoughts for longer and longer periods of time.
The technique may be simple, but the rewards are great:
- Once you learn how to witness your thoughts, you realize that you are not your thoughts, but you are The Witness. This realization is a small, first step in discovering your True Self. But compared with where you were before, it is a giant step forward.
- By learning how to accept your thoughts without self-criticism, you learn how to accept yourself. You will be more at peace with yourself. Importantly, when you stop criticizing yourself, you will stop criticizing others, which means that you will make this world more peaceful.
- By learning how to witness your thoughts, you are releasing their power over you. You are now prepared to reverse roles. That is, you are ready to start controlling your thoughts, instead of vice versa. Start witnessing your thoughts throughout the day. As you travel to work, as you wait in line, as you take part in a meeting. Observe, analyze, and manage your thoughts. Weed out the trash and nourish every thought that has potential.
Do you want to meet a wonderful person? Try getting acquainted with yourself! The meditation technique I described is small, and simple while difficult, but as Lao-Tzu wrote, “All difficult things have their origin in that which is easy, and great things in that which is small.”
A Little Black Pen