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If you know (or ever were) a typical teenager, then you have observed what attitude is! You know that look in their eyes, or the flip of their hair…or worse, the roll of their eyes. Sometimes it can just be the way they are standing. Of course, you are trying to be a great person, so you find yourself correcting the teen, and then he or she gives you an “attitude.”

But what is it, really? It is actually a little difficult to describe, right? What does a bad attitude look like? What about a good one?

What about in the workplace? Would you hire someone if everyone you asked about this person said, “Oh, he/she has a bad attitude”? What if you had a problem and you called the company that made your product, and the customer service rep had a bad attitude? Even if you liked the product, or service, I suspect, like me, that you would steer away from that company.

What makes an attitude good or bad? Who can determine that presumed reality? An attitude is the way we express ourselves. Look at the prefix of this word, “at”—it means “expressing location or arrival in a particular place or position.” So our attitude is our arrival to our position that is expressed. Our attitude is often presented in facial expressions and body language. It is really our inner view coming to the forefront. Like the curtain has been pulled back.

I think we would all agree, no one likes a bad attitude. Thank goodness we all lose this trait after we grow out of the teenage years…yeah, right. Face it, we develop a bad attitude if we are not careful.

So what can cause a bad attitude? I personally think it is mostly how we react when something does not go our way. That is most evident with me in traffic. Have you ever driven in central Florida? It is crazy nuts! Seventy-five percent of people are lost, on their phones, and switching across four lanes of traffic at the absolute last second. Maybe because many of the drivers are from another state, country, or very likely on vacation. It makes for a real mess!

So let’s be honest…how do you react when things do not go the way you expect them to? Perhaps, just like when we were teens, you cop a “tude.” Here are four L’s that can help you have a better attitude:

Look for the positive. Whatever we look for, we will eventually find. If all we do is look for the negative…we will find that exact thing. The same is true with looking for the positive. There is always something positive we can find.

Listen to motivation (concepts/people). New concepts can be exciting, and people who are leading or developing these concepts are full of hope. People who are fun to hang with, dreamers, optimists, and those who even take risks (the potential thinkers) are the people we need to surround ourselves with. They tend to rub off on us and give us hope.

Leverage what things you can change. Fix what you can fix, but don’t bother to point out a problem without at least one possible solution. American poet Maya Angelou once stated, “If you don’t like something, change it, but if you can’t change it…then change your attitude.”

Leave the frustrations/hurts behind. Why carry them around? It will only drag you down. Forgive fast, and walk on. We have all been hurt in this life by a spouse, a child, a mentor, or a boss. (Heck, we’ve been hurt by society as a whole). They have let us down. Perhaps they have disappointed us. Hurt us. Does that give us a right to have a bad attitude? No!

Let’s be honest, some days are hard. I am in health care and own numerous businesses, and sometimes things do not go as planned—or I should say, as I have planned. With this awareness, I choose to have a positive attitude before I walk into any room. The patients, family members, and others I’m about to interact with deserve my best attitude. So I now make sure that during the last ten minutes of my drive toward my home, especially after a difficult day, I focus on bringing a great attitude home. I work on the four L’s before I get home.

In his book 7 Reasons Why You Should Have a Positive Attitude, Ryan Low says, “Having a positive attitude allows you to be more productive at work and around the house. People who have a positive attitude regularly set goals and achieve them…Being able to accomplish things regularly is found in a positive attitude, and it enhances that attitude at the same time.”

“Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.”
– Albert Einstein



Attitude is written by Dr. Paul C. Sorchy ll