One of my first mentors in personal development, Earl Nightingale, referred to the word “attitude” as both “The Magic Word” and one of the most important words in the English language. As with much of what Earl wrote and talked about, he was right on with this idea.
As a life-long student of success and failure, I’ve found that our attitude is the single greatest factor in determining how we experience life. It’s not an overstatement to say that it’s the strongest force behind the results we achieve.
Your attitude is a mixture of your philosophy of life, your beliefs, your expectations, and your emotions. What you feel and experience in life is primarily coming from your attitude, your outlook on life.
Perhaps attitude can best be defined as a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically in a way that is reflected in a person’s behavior. It’s hard to obtain good or great results in life without a good or great attitude.
How would you rate your attitude? As with all success concepts, attitude is not the only factor involved in what you achieve (or don’t achieve), but it’s right up there at the top.
Consider for a moment the attitudes of the people you’ve been around most of your life. Would you describe the general attitude in your environment both past and present to be poor, good, or great? Think about the attitude of your parents and other relatives as well as all of the people you are around on a daily basis right now. And how about the attitude that you bring to your environment? Would you describe it as poor, good, or great?
When clients tell me about the environment they experience on a daily basis, I often suggest the following method for sorting things out. If your environment, including the people you are currently around, reflects a poor attitude, consider using some strategic disassociation; if your environment is good, but not what you most want in your life, consider limiting the negative associations. If your environment is great, look for ways to expand your association with those people that most inspire you to grow. This is one of those concepts that is deceptively simple, yet all encompassing when it comes to how we experience life.
For the next 30 days, try cultivating a great attitude in all of your dealings with the world. I can promise you that this won’t be easy at first, especially if this isn’t something you have spent a lot of time previously thinking about or working on. However, if you’ll keep at it for a sufficient amount of time, you’ll soon discover that you are developing a new pattern of behavior that will impact every area of your life in ways that you can’t even imagine.
Work on making your attitude better every day and watch as new levels of synchronicity and serendipity come your way. We tend to get out of life what we expect, and our attitude is the key.
Focus your attitude using these two key words: Gratitude and Expectancy. First, be grateful for where you are in life and what you’ve already accomplished. In some ways, you’ve already won the grand prize in life. A scientist would tell you that your appearing on planet earth is beyond calculation or comprehension, especially if you happened to show up in a free country. So you’ve already won the lottery.
Second, expect the best. Cultivate an attitude of hopeful expectation. Work on expecting the best from life and watch how having great expectations leads to having even more to be grateful about.
Finally, commit the following three Earl Nightingale quotes to memory as a way to lock in place this most important idea:
- “Our attitude toward others determines their attitude toward us.”
- “We can let circumstances rule us, or we can take charge and rule our lives from within.”
- “Our environment, the world in which we live and work, is a mirror of our attitudes and expectations.”
Earl was often referred to as the “Dean of Personal Development.” It’s certainly not hard to see why.