“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference” Winston Churchill
Think of a time when you had a bad attitude towards something or someone. What caused it? Perhaps it was due to a lack of choice, disregard for the event or even a lack of rest. Would the situation have been smoother with a more positive outlook? Even in the most challenging situations, the one thing we can always control is our attitude.
Moreover, there does seem to be a certain admiration associated with maintaining a positive attitude in times of difficulty. This could be in a sporting setting when the chips are down, or when faced with an emotional upheaval in life. Sports coaches will frequently remind their players of the importance of a good attitude when performing a task or drill. The same can also be applied to many day-to-day tasks such as waiting in a slow, busy queue or being sat next to a crying baby on a train. In fact, research supports the notion that positive thinking can be an effective tool for stress management. As with anything which reduces stress, this can lead to health benefits ranging from lower blood pressure all to way to a decreased risk of depression (Fredrickson et al., 2008). Luckily, some of the most effective methods for increasing positive thoughts include making time to play and have fun, writing, and meditating. None of which should prove too challenging to attempt, especially having fun!
Additionally, how does this translate to our interactions with others? As John C Maxwell said “People may hear you words, but they feel your attitude”. Wherever possible, making a good and lasting impression on others is always beneficial. It may simply be the happiness we gain from making someone smile, or perhaps it may lead to some wonderful karmic consequence further down the line! Conversely, it is easy to criticise someone’s poor attitude or behaviour when it does not match up to our own expectations and disrupts our lives. However, there are instances where a public display is merely the tip of an emotional iceberg of which we have no appreciation or experience. As such, taking a moment to assess the situation before acting rashly may serve us well in the long run.
Alternatively, we could do worse than embrace Jack Handey’s philosophy:
“Before you criticise someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way you are a mile away and have their shoes”.