Someone always accuses somebody else of having an attitude as if there is a person somewhere who does not have an attitude.
Each one of us has an attitude.
When we don’t like someone else’s “attitude” or if their attitude is better than ours, we tend to say they have an attitude ÔÇô and the negative connotations are unmistakable.
We get jealous of people who like people and who get liked back in return. Yet we don’t like people who don’t like people.
Some people miraculously laugh and smile even though they are in the throngs of personal difficulties. They meet their crises not only with uncomplaining faces but with genuine smiles as they trudge along and deal with whatever dilemma they are facing. It does not appear as if there is any type of setback that could make them appear dour.
And when we are around such people, we tend to feel that problems are there to be solved but with a joyous disposition.
And when we annoy such people, they annoy us back by not being annoyed at all. It appears as if nothing fazes them.
Some people just don’t have an attitude.
Then there are those confident young women who are always smartly dressed and forward-looking. They walk into the reception area full of other women. With a very open smile on their faces, they greet and nod at everyone in the room while briefly holding their gaze forcing everyone to respond with a reluctant nod and a strained smile. She then confidently says or asks for whatever bit of information she requires and leaves, still with a cheerful, self-assured smile on her face.
As soon as the door is closed behind her, the other women look and frown at each other.
“She has an attitude,” one of them says.
“A big one!” others concur.
A positive attitude, said Herm Albright in the June 1995 Reader’s Digest, “may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.”┬á
Thus, attitude may be seen as “a form or appearance that an individual assumes to gain or achieve an egotistic preference, whether it is acceptance, manifestation of power or other self-centered needs. Attitude may be considered as a primitive attribute to the preservation of the self or of the ego.”
Aristotle said that happiness depends upon ourselves. Our attitudes matter to us and to those around us because they define or guide how other people are going to react to us, to our presence, our talk, behavior, etc.
Attitude, says Wikipedia, is a hypothetical construct that represents an individual’s like or dislike for an item.
“Attitudes are positive, negative or neutral views of an “attitude object”: i.e. a person, behaviour or event. People can also be “ambivalent” towards a target, meaning that they simultaneously possess a positive and a negative bias towards the attitude in question.”
In his “1000 Things You Never Learned in Business School”, author William N. Yeomans says attitudes are the established ways of responding to people and situations that we have learned, based on the beliefs, values and assumptions we hold. Attitudes become manifest through your behavior.
“Attitudes drive behavior. 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.”
Almost always, he says, we have a choice as to what attitude to adopt; there is nothing in any normal work situation that dictates we must react one way or another.
“If you feel angry about something that happens, for instance, that’s how you choose to feel. Nothing in the event itself makes it absolutely necessary for you to feel that way. It is your choice. And since you do have a choice, most of the time you’ll be better off if you choose to react in a positive rather than a negative way.”
Wikipedia also says that attitudes are composed from various forms of judgments.
“Attitudes develop on the ABC model (affect, behavioral change and cognition). The affective response is a physiological response that expresses an individual’s preference for an entity. The behavioral intention is a verbal indication of the intention of an individual. The cognitive response is a cognitive evaluation of the entity to form an attitude. Most attitudes in individuals are a result of observational learning from their environment.”
Ros Oliveira, writing about Positive Attitude, poses the question: When you enter a party filled with friends, do they all fall silent as if something terrible had happened? Or does everybody there perk up as if waiting for something exciting to happen?
“You know what?” he says, “The answer to all these depends on your frame of mind.”
Thoughts are very powerful, he says.
“They affect your general attitude. The attitude you carry reflects on your appearance, too ÔÇô unless, of course, you are a great actor. And it doesn’t end there. Your attitude can also affect people around you. The type of attitude you carry depends on you. It can be either positive or negative. Positive thoughts have a filling effect. They are invigorating. Plus, the people around the person carrying positive thoughts are usually energized by this type of attitude. On the other hand, negative thoughts have a sapping effect on other people. Aside from making you look gloomy and sad, negative thoughts can turn a festive gathering into a funeral wake.”
The BBC says that you may not be as young as you feel, but research has found that a positive attitude may delay the ageing process.
It quotes a University of Texas research which found that people with an upbeat view of life were less likely than pessimists to show signs of frailty.
“The researchers say their findings suggest psychosocial factors – as well as genes and physical health – play a role in how quickly we age.” This work was published in the journal Psychology and Aging in 2004.
Positive thoughts have a filling effect, says Oliveira. They are invigorating. Plus, the people around the person carrying positive thoughts are usually energized by this type of attitude.
“On the other hand, negative thoughts have a sapping effect on other people. Aside from making you look gloomy and sad, negative thoughts can turn a festive gathering into a funeral wake.”
He goes on to say a positive attitude attracts people, while a negative attitude repels them. People tend to shy away from those who carry a negative attitude.
“We define attitude as our unique way of looking at the world. If you choose to focus on the negative things in the world, you have a negative attitude brewing up. However, if you choose to focus on the positive things, you are more likely to carry a positive attitude.
“You have much to gain from a very positive attitude. For one, studies have shown that a positive attitude promotes better health. Those with this kind of attitude also have more friends. Projecting a positive attitude also helps you handle stress and problems better than those who have a negative attitude. “A positive attitude begins with a healthy self-image. If you choose to love the way you are and are satisfied, confident, and self-assured, you also make others around you feel the same way.”
Experts say that, as always, if you are beset by troubles, even in your darkest hour, focus on the good things in life, you will always have hope. Problems become something you can overcome.
They point out that we do not have much to lose by adopting a healthy, positive attitude, noting that studies show that such an attitude actually retards aging, makes you healthier, helps you develop a better stress coping mechanism, and has a very positive effect on all the people you meet every day.
So, wherever you go, no matter what the weather, says Anthony D’Angelo in the College Blue Book, always bring your own sunshine.