Volume 1 | #3 | March 25, 2019

Attitude – A Gift or Learned?

A gentleman came up to me after our recent PMA-RBC Economic Summit and said “Can I ask you a personal question? How can you be so positive, so up, all the time?” I answered… “drugs are an amazing invention!” Seriously though, it made me stop and think about an answer. I recall my mother saying to me when I was about 12 years old “You could be drowning up to your neck in catastrophe and still be smiling!” Was I born with this gift or did I learn it along the way? A little bit of the former and a lot of the latter. There is no question that attitude is an emotional state that can be controlled, changed and imparted from within…. it can be learned.

But it is also a gift that I think is partly environmental and partly ingrained. Both my father and my mother had natural positive spirits. My mother in particular had incredible discipline that she enhanced with a smile and warmth that made you jump to attention. Hers was all natural, a God-given attribute. My father was known as ‘Mr. Positive’ but in reality his was more manufactured, learned through the time tested battles of life….. he would often say “it takes 44 muscles to frown and only 14 to smile, smiling is much easier to do!!!” But his spirit, energy and enthusiasm didn’t always come easily and had to be reinforced, encouraged or manipulated throughout the day.

I believe that I am a product of that environment, a little natural positive attitude from my mother and learned positive attitude from my father.

I start each day half full, not half empty… And if for whatever reason (and there can be many) I’m feeling low, down trodden or a little half empty it’s recognized immediately and I do something about it! The key is to know that I can control the spark, the fire starter of my own attitude …it is a choice.

You absolutely know when your attitude tank is low or running on empty. The difference is knowing what to do about it! When I am confronted with an attitude buster, a stressful situation or a confrontation, before reacting I will ask myself: Is this situation life-threatening? Answering that question determines your reaction. Before entering a stressful meeting or confrontation I will purposefully ask myself: What is my plan? What do I want to accomplish? How do I see myself getting there?

Remember no matter how dark the clouds become, no matter how strong the seas you have an innate sense of attitude built in that can be trained, enhanced and expanded to navigate the most challenging scene.

And then…it’s showtime!

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