Attitude: A Perspective for Success

If you had the ability to improve one area of your personal and professional life that would give you the greatest return on investment, what would you pick?

Though we may identify numerous areas of opportunity that we have, many can have a low return on investment when we begin to consider the amount of the time, energy and cost. Regardless of which areas for improvement we may each have, one that everyone can benefit from and costs very little is intentionally evolving our attitude and perspective.

Often when these words are used you can see eyes start to roll. Or people may think that having the appropriate attitude and perspective is obvious. But if we take the time to see how often most actually act on that stance, following through clearly isn’t easy. To prove this point, do a quick inventory of the people you are surrounded with regularly, both in your personal and professional lives. What percentage would you say are predominantly choosing to have an ideal attitude during the majority of their day?

Odds are good that by considering even a handful of people you interact with, very few are intentional about evolving their attitude and perspective. Now, we all know that there is no such thing as having all good days nor all bad days. But where we choose to place our focus matters, as does being intentional about how we choose to perceive our day.

As an example, how is it that someone who has what most people would consider a great life in terms of income and career still be unhappy with their life? On the other side of the coin, how could someone with seemingly nothing, truly be happy with theirs?

The answer is that attitude and perspective matter. We live in a country where we enjoy amazing freedom—and rightfully so, we love our freedom. We love it so much that many people turn ugly towards others who even suggest anything in opposition to what they feel represents our freedom. Yet the vast majority of people willingly give up their freedom to choose where they place their focus every single day. 

Unfortunately, very few people pause long enough to question why they are the way they are, and more importantly, what they could possibly do to change it.

We all have heard the saying and get the basic premise of “garbage in, garbage out”. This same thought is a foundational component of why those with poor attitudes and perspectives are where they are today. What we allow into our lives will be the determining factor of either staying on the hamster wheel of mediocrity or jumping on the track to success.

Every single one of us has to confront, eye-to-eye in the mirror, that we each have some level of mental limitations that were placed there from our past. In no way, shape or form are these limitations impossible to overcome, but the level of work it will take to overcome them will vary by individual and the severity of what caused those limitations.

A key factor at this juncture points to the simplicity of choice. Though we often over-complicate and agonize over our choices, the choice is really simple—it’s black and white. However, that doesn’t mean that it is easy. We can look all around us and within us to confirm that.

Stephen Covey, the author of the best-seller “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, talked at length about choice. Choice lives in that critical space between stimulus and response.

Choice lives in that critical space between stimulus and response.

This is the difference that determines how two people can experience the same thing and yet, based on their choices, their outcomes can be completely different. At the root of our choices lie our attitude and perspective. This again shows us how important these factors become in determining our overall success in life.

Let me invite you to do a quick exercise highlighting how we understand this impact, but yet most let ourselves off the hook to change our own growth in this area.

Imagine you are the parent of a middle school student. They just arrived home from school and slide their report card across the table. They begin quickly saying, “Now Mom/Dad, before you react, I want you know I have put a lot of thought into this.” Now curious you turn the report card to discover all D’s. With a shocked look on your face, your child continues, “I realized school really just isn’t my thing. D’s will get me through to graduation and I’ll pass, but school is so overrated.”

What would your reaction be, if your child chose to do just enough to get by? Would any of us accept this, nor would we expect that our children step into their potential? We would know they are capable of more and thus expect them to behave as such.

Here is the kicker. How many of us know that we too are capable of much more but yet have allowed ourselves off the hook from stepping into our potential?

Given that we know we all have more potential, how can we start stepping into the next version of who we are capable of becoming? It starts with planting seeds today that, through consistent attention, focus and effort will blossom to become fruitful in our lives tomorrow.

A simple way to start is to look around at those people you admire. Begin to deconstruct the things around their attitude and perspective that you feel makes them successful. Once you have identified what these characteristics are, you now have a basic list of things you can start working to adopt into your life.

If I were to ask you to list off the characteristics of a successful CEO, what would make your list? Based off of that list, how many of these characteristics do you have?

The point with this simple exercise is this: are you the CEO of your life, or life’s employee? The reality of evaluating successful CEOs is that no one is perfect, however, they clearly were intentional about elevating their attitude and perspective. No one wants to say that they are simply life’s employee. But if you are in that boat and it doesn’t feel comfortable (nor should it), you can still choose to begin taking control of your life by how you choose to view the world.

As John C. Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence.” One of the greatest steps towards evolving your personal attitude and perspective is to begin by influencing the people you interact with on a regular basis.

It has been said that we are the average sum total of the 5 closest people to us. So the more we begin to help elevate the attitude and perspectives of those around us, the more it will invest back into our lives.

Ultimately, life is what we make it.

What we make of it is rooted in our attitude towards life.

What will your choice be?