Have you ever considered what an important role your attitude plays in the way you experience life?
Of course, volumes have been written about the importance of a “positive” attitude, but you might be surprised to learn that when it comes to attitudes it’s so much more complex than simply a positive or negative outlook.
Your attitudes not only affect the quality of everything you do, they serve as filters that color your view of life and the world around you. For example if your attitudes are based on negativity, resistance and avoiding change it would be like trying to color a picture of all the wonders of world with a box of crayons and limiting yourself to only gray. No matter how hard you try, that picture is going to end up looking pretty bleak.
While it is natural to have opinions about many different things, underneath it all there will inevitably be a core belief system that is comprised of your fundamental attitudes; this is known as your mindset. Your mindset influences your behaviors and decision making and will be inclined toward one of the following two perspectives.
Fixed Mindset: Resistant to learning, doubting the ability to change.
Growth Mindset: Open to change and developing talents and abilities.
And here’s why understanding your mindset matters. The more fixed you are in your attitudes and beliefs, the more difficult it will be for you to develop habits that will improve your life or effectively manage change, because you’ll be far less likely to make much of effort to do the work to improve your circumstances if you feel you are wasting your time.
More importantly, if you do ever find yourself blindsided by a crisis your initial response (think knee jerk reaction) will be based to a large degree on natural instincts – your mindset. So if your mindset is grounded in resistance, then even if you eventually see a better way to handle your response to whatever challenges you may be facing, you’ll very likely only arrived at that point after experiencing unnecessary stress and loss of valuable recovery time.
The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude. ~William James
Uncovering Your Core Attitudes
Many of your attitudes will be fairly clear cut, but for the purpose of strengthening emotional resilience the attitudes you want to focus on identifying are those that contribute to your core belief system.
So the question then is – how well do you know yourself … really?
I realize this is one of those “self help” questions people find so annoying, but taking the time to honestly consider how you see yourself and understand the beliefs and boundaries you’ve created through your life experiences is really the only way to master your mindset, identify unresolved issues, attain greater self-confidence and establish a foundation from where you can begin to cultivate greater emotional resilience for the future.
One of the most effective self-discovery techniques is to ask yourself questions about who you are and what matters most to you. Questions have the ability to transform your thoughts from limiting to empowering. In fact our minds love it when we ask ourselves questions because they provide direction and focus. As soon as you ask a question, your mind will immediately begin searching for an answer.
Give it a try …
Following is a list of self-discovery questions to help you begin thinking about your attitudes toward yourself, life in general, and change in particular.
To get the most out of this exercise it’s best to find a quiet place without distractions. Give yourself enough time so you can thoughtfully consider your responses and open yourself to experiencing emotional triggers that may help you identify areas of longing or particular discomfort that you can explore further later on. If you don’t already use one, this would be a great opportunity to consider a personal journal.
- What do I like most about myself? What do I like least?
- What kinds of problems or events are most stressful for me?
- How do I handle change?
- Am I able to keep a positive attitude during difficult situations?
- Do I regularly set aside time to take care of myself?
- Have I set healthy boundaries or do I let people take advantage of me?
- What motivates me to be and do my very best?
- Who do I need to forgive?
- What is my number one goal for the next six months?
- What makes me genuinely happy? How can I have more of this?
- What is my biggest fear? What do I need to do to overcome it?
- Right now, at this moment, what do I want most? What am I waiting for?
The key to meaningful life changes and growth is self-awareness. Uncovering your attitudes and preferences, facing and eliminating unresolved issues and limiting beliefs will take time depending upon how deeply rooted they are, but doing the work will dramatically change your life for the better. You will be amazed at how much lighter you feel with this weight lifted… and how much easier it will be for you to move on to the next purposeful chapter of your life.
Your turn. Do you ever struggle to maintain a positive attitude about your life? What techniques do you use to switch your mood during a particularly stressful time? Have you ever used a journal for a self-discovery exercise?
- Faulty Beliefs: The Lies We Tell Ourselves
- Your Stories Are the Key to Understanding Who You Really Are
Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.
About Marquita Herald
Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.
She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.
To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living click “here“.