Yeah, you are so right, I am stating the obvious here and why should you waste your time reading about the obvious.
But apparently, it is not as obvious as it should be. Not to everyone.
Just an example.
Yesterday morning I had a minor argument with my son (this time my oldest son and not the curious career minded one from my previous post).
Me: “Don’t always give up so easily. How well you do in life all depends on your attitude. You have got an attitude problem.”
My son: “Attitude. Attitude. ATTITUDE. You always talk about this. I can’t hear it any more. I don’t even know what that even means!”
Me: “Oh, attitude is simply your frame of mind.”
My son: “huh?”
Me: “It is the way of looking at things.”
End of conversation
End of an unsatisfactory conversation, because I got the feeling that I did not manage to get my message across to him.
Back to the drawing board
What actually is attitude and how to explain it to a teenager?
The boring definition:
- manner, disposition, feeling, position, with regard to a person or thing; tendency or orientation, especially of the mind: a negative attitude.
- position or posture of the body appropriate to or expressive of an action, emotion, etc.: a threatening attitude; a relaxed attitude.
The better definition:
“Heavy rains remind us of challenges in life. Never ask for a lighter rain. Just get a better umbrella. That is attitude.”
Hmm, would that be enough to get the message across to my son? Maybe not. Hardly.
So I continued to search for more random stuff on attitude:
Attitudes are the established ways of responding to people and situations that we have learned, based on the beliefs, values and assumptions we hold.
It is attitude that determines how fast we achieve our goal or how well we acquire a skill or knowledge.
Attitudes also provide a framework to solve problems. Alas, kids aren’t taught to embrace problems in our current education system. They are taught that problems are to be avoided, or something to complain about. As attitude is perhaps the biggest determinant of what we can accomplish, schools should teach “problem embracing attitudes”.
Like successful people who have a different attitude to failure, which is seen more as feedback than as any permanent comment on themselves. If their “Plan A” didn’t work out. They move on. The alphabet has 25 more letters.
Successful people have a different attitude to money. The rest of us, however, often have a funny attitude about money. We are quick to say that money doesn’t mean a lot to us, but spend our lives working to get it. Why not admit that money is important and that it is basic to living a good life, wonderful if rightly used?
Successful people are luckier because they have a more relaxed attitude. Being relaxed means that they are more likely to see opportunities that the worried person will not. They spend much of their time looking for things that others have overlooked, overturning assumptions and creating profitable niches within generic industries. Lucky people see what is there, rather than trying to find what they want to see. What an attitude!
Successful people are not born with a millionaire mind. They simply have a set of attitudes and knowledge to achieve it. The good news is that we all can adopt those attitudes and acquire that knowledge.
Attitude drives behavior. If you want to succeed at anything you need to have the right mindset. Your body language is a result of your mental attitude. By choosing your attitude you get in that mood and send out a message that everyone understands, consciously or unconsciously.
We always have a choice as to what attitude to adopt. If we feel angry about something that happens, for instance, that’s how we choose to feel. Nothing in the event itself makes it absolutely necessary for us to feel that way. It is our choice. And since we do have a choice, most of the time we’ll be better off if we choose to react in a positive rather than a negative way.
Some quotes on Attitude:
- A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. – Herm Albright
- Attitude is contagious. Is yours worth catching? – Dennis and Wendy Mannering
- 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. – Thomas Jefferson
- Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it. – Lou Holtz
- The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude of mind. – William James, philosopher
- Our greatest freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude. ― Viktor E. Frankl
The only difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude.
Now back to my son’s attitude problem.
Well, explaining what attitude is, is rather easy.
But what is the best way to teach it?
Start with myself. Think more consciously about the behavior and attitudes I model (yes, I am a model, whether I like it or not, all of the time). Then make it a constant effort to display the right attitude I’d like to see in my son.
It’s all about the ATTITUDE – mine actually.