We have been looking at the Importance of the Right Attitude ( see part 1 and part 2) and  started to examine principles that govern our attitude.  We have discussed the first of these principles (how my attitude when beginning a task is crucial to its outcome) in a previous post. To continue on:

half-full-glass-water 2. My attitude towards others will determine their attitude towards me.

The story is told of a man travelling let’s say from City A to City B.

On the way he meets someone called ‘a wise man’ who is coming from City B. He asks the wise man, what are the people in City B like? The wise man replies, by asking him what were the people in City A like? The traveller replies those in City A are nasty, mean, cruel and vindictive. The wise man replies, then that is what the people in City B will be like. A little while later the wise man meets someone travelling from City B to City A. He is asked the same question, but this time it is about City A- what are the people in City A like? He asks this second traveller what are the people in City B like. This traveller replies that those in City B are kind, compassionate and honest. So the wise man replies that is how the traveller will find the people in City A!

One of the surprising generalities in human relationships is how other people can be like mirrors. They will reflect the attitude of others to them. The key is that you must initiate the attitude you want in return. I attend a large church with my family (All Souls, Langham Place in London). I’ve noticed how on a number of occasions my state of mind affects the quality of my conversations with those who are there during the coffee time after the service. Generally speaking (and this is speaking in general terms) when I am positive and upbeat, everyone else seems to be as well and when I am feeling less motivated and inward looking so does every else seem to be as well.This mirroring of our state of mind from others is vital to learn if we are going to develop satisfying and mutually fulfilling relationships.

3. My attitude is the major difference between success and failure in any endeavour.

We see this in the sports arena where it has often been commented that the only difference between gold and silver medal winners is their attitude much more than their ability. At that high level there is very little difference between the players in their technical ability. The key is how they think and handle setbacks and discouragements. How do I handle setbacks and disappointments? More than what actually happens to me is my how I respond to what happens to me. For more on this and a video on how to deal with stress see here.

4. My attitude can turn my problems into blessings.

When problems come it is very easy to become negative and discouraged. We get upset because we feel we should not be upset and that life is so unfair. It is so easy to focus on what is going wrong rather than on what is going right or what I am learning. I love this quote from C. S. Lewis:

“If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.”

Such a paradigm shift  is a powerful way of looking at the world and gives a much broader perspective on the different challenges of life.

The late psychiatrist Scott Peck has pointed out how highly rational and capable people will go on to do evil because they are unwilling to think deeply about what is going on around them. (For more on this see post on Spiritual Maturity).

5. My attitude can give me an uncommon perspective on life.

There is the story of 2 shoe salesmen who went to a faraway country. The first after a few days sent back the message, “This is a waste of time. No one here wears shoes. The second looked at the situation in a completely different way and sent back the message, “Send more shoes! Nobody has them over here yet!”

Am I able to look beyond what is in front of me to the potential and possibilities that are out there?

6. My attitude and not my achievements will give me happiness.

We tend to believe the myth that the more successful I become then the happier I will be. This manifests itself as ‘Destination Disease’ with certain symptoms. I have found myself often believing the following:
– If I was living in a different place I would be happier.
– If I just knew that person or had that relationship then I would be more satisfied and fulfilled.
– If I worked somewhere else my life would be more meaningful.
– If I had certain qualifications or achievements then I would be happier (see post on this about defining success).

But the fact is, and this has been shown through research from positive psychology, the thoughts in your mind are more important than the things in your life. (I touch on this in the post entitled The Difference Between Talking to Your Heart and Listening to Your Heart).

How do these principles resonate with you? 
It would be great to have your thoughts and comments below