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  • Robert A. Dougan, M.A.

Why Attitude Matters?

Unfortunately, when things might not be going right in life, we sometimes discover that the enemy is us and we have a tendency of getting in our own way. We oftentimes fail to achieve success in life because of the way we think about ourselves, others around us, or life in general. Your attitude is about the way you feel and how you think day to day. The way you feel can have a direct impact on your ability to achieve your goals or even creating new habits.

It is human nature for us to feel down in life where we are not feeling optimistic and as a result, we may focus more heavily on our weaknesses or negative thinking. However, those who tend to find consistent success in life do just the opposite. The moment people focus on the negative they then begin to get caught up in a mental mind trap, which can become also negative habit or a mindset that is hard to escape. What we need to do is constantly remind ourselves is that no one ever became successful by focusing on negative thoughts. Always remember, negative thoughts and emotions can and will erode your self-image and your personal or professional productivity.


For example, I once read a story about a famous professional golfer's reaction to a missed putt. A fan said to the golfer after he missed, "Sorry you missed that one". The golfer replied, "I didn't miss the putt – it just didn't go in". Later, at a press conference, a journalist asked why he said that after this putt that he ‘didn’t miss it’, but rather it ‘just didn’t go in’? His response was simple, that “the minute I think I am missing putts on the golf course is the minute I lose the tournament”.


In this example, the professional golfer teaches us a valuable lesson in why attitude matters. He believed that he hit the line and speed he wanted, and he had made that shot several times throughout the week, so in his mind everything was fine. This mental approach protected his self-image and allowed him to move on without dwelling on it like so many of us do. In other words, he just let it go and continued to believe he could succeed!


Remember, everything you tell yourself is programming and it is important to think or say things with ‘attention’ and ‘intention’. As John Wooden once famously said, that the most successful people “do not let what they can’t do interfere with what they can do”. No one ever became successful from focusing on negative or defeatist attitudes – quite contrary, they believed they could succeed. Also, it is so important to choose carefully what you think, how you think, what you say, and how you say it.

If we take the example of the words that the golfer used in this story is that he chose his words carefully such as, “it didn’t go in” vs a more negative connotation of “I missed it”. There is a big difference in the thought process of these two statements. One is more positive, and the other is more negative. People are sometimes consciously or unconsciously aware of what they say and the impact it can have on themselves or other people. It is your job to own your attitude because, in reality, no one else does!


Let us take another example and examine mountain climbers who try to summit Mount Everest. All the climbers all start at base camp. Personally, I believe it is called base camp for a reason, which is first to allow the climbers to acclimatize to the altitude, but on the mental side it is also to stare at that mountain every day. From the mental side, if when staring at that mountain for one moment the climber believes they cannot make the summit then guess what, they won’t or they might literally, in this case, die trying.

Believing in yourself is critical to success no matter how big the mountain is to climb or goal to achieve. You must believe in your abilities, your work ethic, and your mindset to succeed. For sure, there will be times when you do not get the result you want, but if you have done everything you think you could have and learned from the experience then I guarantee you will have more success than not. It is your job to get yourself out of base camp and shift the mindset to “I can”.

Be the success that comes from within and believe you can accomplish just about anything in life. The only thing stopping you is you alone!


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