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Is Attitude really everything? Or how our Attention makes all the difference.

>> 22 September 2010

I recently talked about Attitude being everything.

The very next day someone I will call Melissa told me I was completely WRONG!

That got me thinking. Was I wrong? Is attitude really working EVERY time?

Melissa said that she was under stress and pressure at work and wished she had stayed at home that day. I told her that changing her attitude could make a difference in how she felt. That's when her big WRONG was fired back.

So what do I do when I'm under stress and pressure? I sure am no Wonder Woman!
I do get pulled into the vicious stress spiral like everyone else.

But when that happens, here is what I ask myself and focus on:

  1. What's my story in this? - ME versus the PROBLEM
    Why do I react like this?
    Is this something personal/emotional?
    Can I detach my emotions from the situation at hand?
    What does my reaction say about me?
    What is my issue here and why does it matter?
    Can I let it go?
  2. Life and death priorities - TIME versus the POSSIBLE
    What is the most important thing that needs to be done here?
    What would happen if I don't do this?
    Can I delegate this? And if so, will that save me time?
    Could this go away by itself?
  3. You teach people how to treat you - MY MESSAGE and OTHERS' INTERPRETATION
    How did I get into this mess? 
    Am I accepting too much on my plate because I want to show I can 'do it all'?
    Am I saying yes to too many things when I mean no?
    Have I taught people that this is ok?
    How can I set boundaries and systems that make it easier to say no.
  4. Don't make it personal - ME versus THE REST OF THE WORLD
    It's not about your nasty boss or colleague. No one's 'out to get you' by dumping too much work on you!
    You are not incompetent. Maybe just a tad unorganized - and that can be easily fixed. 
What to do when nothing works?
When it all comes down hard though, even I tend to think that 'the universe is against me' and 'I attract all this'.
Those are thoughts you put in our head. And if you put them there, you can take them out again too.
Thoughts are things. They materialize and become a solid wall, in this case a stress wall.
The more we think in the same direction, the more our neurons create connections that raise that wall.

I's all a question of how we translate situations.

Energy flows where attention goes

Melissa may be right and in her situation, attitude could not make a difference.
However, she decided to put her attention on the stress, on the problem and the pressure. And that made all the energy flow there.
That was her choice. We always have a CHOICE in where we put our ATTENTION, how we think about something or react to something. ALWAYS! Nobody is doing that for us. Nobody can take that away from us. So maybe attitude is not everything, but attention is.

What if next time, Melissa acknowledged the situation, tried not to get emotionally involved and turned her attention to other, more positive and important things?


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