It All Begins With Attitude

.. efs. Each of these things has an influence over how we perceive life. Worksheet No. 1 covered where you are now.

Worksheet No. 2 will be your design for everyday from this point forward. Creating new attitudes can be likened to a high jump bar. For these new expectations to become part of you, it is important that the sights not initially be set too low or too high. It’s important to believe in the new attitudes and to believe in their realization. This helps reduce the cognitive dissonance.

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Once strong expectations become a way of life, you can raise the bar again and again. ATTITUDES WORKSHEET NO. 2 As you answer each of the questions below, stop for a few moments and do your best to picture your thoughts. Make sure that you can see these conditions or situations as real. 1. Mental Development: A person can become educated in different ways, through reading books, taking correspondence courses, traditional college classes, listening to audio cassette tapes and so on.

“I would feel as if I were knowledgeable if I knew the following things:” 2. Spiritual Belief: What a person believes about the nature of the universe, God and religion is subjective. Above all else, it should be something in which you have faith. “I would believe myself to be a spiritual person if I. .

.” 3. Physical Health: Whenever people are concerned about their physical well- being, it is difficult to support positive attitudes in other areas. “I would believe I was healthy if. . .” 4.

Families and Relationships: “I would believe my family or relationships were nearly perfect if. . .” 5. Career: Without thinking of a specific job title, concentrate on work related tasks which give you personal satisfaction. For me, some of the elements are communicating both in the written and vocal genres, using a computer in my work, sharing ideas for better living, marketing, and creativity. “The perfect work situation for me would include.

. .” 6. Finances: This is perhaps the most difficult area in which to change an attitude. There are two distinct sides to this, the amount you earn and the amount you spend. And both sides must be represented in your attitude. “I believe I can earn $ per year/month/week.

With those earnings, I could do the following:” You now have a blueprint for your new attitudes, and know what you would like to think and feel about life. Concrete and cement are the materials of a building’s foundation, the material for turning these ideas into attitudes is the mind. The tools you use are up to you. To continue with the analogy of the building, to pour the cement, you could use a portable cement mixer, bring in a cement truck, or both. The truck to fill the forms; the portable mixer and wheelbarrow for detail work. The tools you use here will determine how fast and how well the job can be done.

Use the tools which work best for you, as many as you can. And, if you think of techniques other than those suggested, then by all means adapt them. By the way, any poor expectations should start to fade as positive, optimistic attitudes begin to take shape and form. Ever since Think and Grow Rich was published, constructive self-talk (affirmation) and creative imagery (visualization) have been recommended for helping people to experience a new sense of possibility in themselves. Unfortunately, there are people and organizations who have made these exercises into more than mere tools for self-expression, personal growth and realization, as if they were magic wands for changing our lives and the lives of others. The truth is that creative imagery and constructive self-talk are nothing more than a statement like, “I can see myself.

. .” When using creative imagery, people begin to deliberately design pictures of where they want life to take them, and then view those pictures at specific times when the mind is receptive. To use this method for building new attitudes, mentally picture sequences of events which support what you will gain from expecting the best. Perhaps you can see your family enjoying more quality time together by imagining various activities which everyone would enjoy. Maybe you can see co- workers acting in concert rather than as individuals, working together as a team. Possibly, you may see yourself with 10% more money than you’ve ever had before, with a new car, home, or furniture, taking a fun-filled vacation, or starting your own business.

The next step to using creative imagery involves the right environment. Although many people recommend imaging first thing in the morning or right before falling asleep, I’ve found that anytime of day will work provided there are no interruptions. My preference is during working hours whenever I need a break or in the evenings while relaxing. The time is not as important as the setting. As well, by speaking pre-determined positive thoughts over and over, a person can make these powerful ideas a part of her or his everyday thinking. This is called constructive self-talk.

The thoughts can be one or two sentences long or entire paragraphs. The choice is yours. The thoughts should say things which are relevant to your new attitudes. If you would like to improve the levels of communication at work, “I am able to communicate with everyone effectively,” would be good. If you would like to improve your personal relationships, “I see the person’s name as I saw him/her when we were first dating and feel those same attractions again.” If you would like to improve your health, “I am doing the things necessary to live a healthy and happy life.” These three examples are brief statements which, when read twice each day, will begin to take hold in your mind, creating changes in your behavior.

I recommend taping your self-talk statements to the bathroom mirror and reading them aloud as you’re getting ready for work in the morning and again while preparing to retire at night. Two excellent books on creative imagery and constructive self-talk are, In The Mind’s Eye by Arnold Lazarus, Ph.D. and You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay. A third method for reinforcing positive expectations is by continually exposing yourself to positive ideas through audio cassette tape programs.

There are numerous publishers of single audio cassette tapes and full length 6 to 18 tape programs: Nightingale-Conant, Sybervision, and many others. My personal choice is Nightingale-Conant. Their catalog is very extensive (over 100 titles) with a wide range of topics. The price of most 6-tape programs is $55. One way to get extra value from your investment is to form a group of three to five people. Each member of the group invests in a new program every two or three months.

Then, share the programs with each other. A terrific group exercise is to talk about what you each learned from a program or cassette tape and how you can apply the ideas. This can be a great source of good ideas and practical feedback. In any event, the idea is to listen to something positive almost everyday for 30 to 60 minutes. A fourth way to build a more hopeful outlook on life is through “association”. By associating with people who are doing what you want to do, you begin to develop new expectations from the attitudes of others. Become acquainted with people who are successful, who earn the kind of money you believe you can and should earn.

As a member of Toastmasters International, I associate with people whose common goal is to develop the ability to speak in public. As a member of the National Speakers Association, I spend time with other professional speakers further developing my marketing and presentation skills. The use of this tool must be a two-way street. It’s not just a matter of sitting and taking things in, we have to contribute as well. As is always the case, we can only get out of something what we put into something.

The fifth tool is choosing a role model, a person you would like to emulate. Should you decide to use this particular method, select your role model with care and only after a great deal of consideration. Make very sure the person is someone you respect in many ways; a leader in his or her profession, a person of good character, someone respected and admired by others. In essence, it should be someone that you can look up to and say, “I would like to be just like. .

.” This provides a very concrete picture of who you would like to become. The final tool. . . HALT! There are five things represented by the word HALT which can cause setbacks in building and maintaining positive expectations.

The letters stand for the words: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. Whenever a person becomes too hungry, too angry, too lonely or too tired, positive attitudes begin to deteriorate. The fifth thing is also represented by the “H”. It is the word harassed. Remember that you can choose how to react to harassment and problems. It may be difficult but try to think through the situation rather than emotionalize about it.

By thinking your way through it, the situation won’t seem quite so overwhelming. In a later section, I will cover the skills of problem solving. The key is found in thinking through a problem rather than getting wrapped up in the feelings and emotional responses. For now, anytime you feel your new attitudes slipping, ask yourself, “Am I too hungry, too angry, too lonely, too tired or feeling harassed?” The answer more often than not will be yes. And for some reason, once you know the answer, things begin to return to normal. Breaking Through The Attitude Boundary The design is ready, the tools have been selected, and the material is in place.

All that is left is the labor. Realize that building these new attitudes can take a few weeks or more depending on how high the sights are set, how well ingrained the current beliefs are, and how often you’re willing to practice. The more you practice and ignore that little inner voice which says, “It’s not going to work,” the more quickly the changes will take place. To help you begin this amazing journey, here is one final worksheet. To use this action step, choose one new or different expectation for each area of your life, something you can begin to believe and feel right now, today.

The intention is to provide you with a starting point, a tangible beginning. It’s important for you to succeed at this. Be certain that these first choices are believable because this will form the first layer of concrete in your attitude foundation. ATTITUDES WORKSHEET NO. 3 Before completing the following sentences, think of one small change you could make in terms of your expectations in each area of your life.

1. Mental Development: One thing I would like to begin to learn to do is. . . 2.

Spiritual Belief: In terms of my spiritual life, I would like to experience more. . . 3. Physical Health: To improve my physical well-being, I can.

. . 4. Families and Relationships: As a family or couple, one thing which would bring us closer together is: 5. Career: In my job, I can expect.

. . 6. Finances: To feel as if I have more control over my finances, I will. .

. Here are some ideas for completing these sentences. Knowledge truly is power. Learning new things, however, should never be boring. When people want to learn something new, as opposed to being forced to learn something new, the learning process tends to feel more like play than work. Think of something which you would like to learn about or study over the next 30 days.

It may involve nothing more than investing a little money and time in a book or audio cassette tape and studying the material for four weeks. At the end of that time, you will have learned something new. That is only the beginning. As mentioned, spiritual expression is a very personal thing. If you attend church regularly, one way to further develop yourself spiritually is to begin to apply the message in each Sunday’s sermon directly to your experiences. Or, you might choose to read a book on various spiritual beliefs or philosophies, one section at a time, making notes about how the ideas can work for you.

To improve your physical health, perhaps you could begin walking every other day or modify your diet. Or, you could begin to appreciate your body more by spending 15 seconds in front of the mirror saying, “I like how I look,” (whether you believe it right now or not). You may find your health, weight, nearly everything responding in very positive ways. Families and relationships are an essential part of our lives. Taking a little time out of each week to be together as a family or couple, spending quality time with each other, helps generate positive feelings, healthy communication and enjoyable experiences. Perhaps you could take in a movie, go out to dinner, or get a baby-sitter and after a luxurious meal, stay overnight in a hotel.

The possibilities are nearly endless. Most of all, begin to appreciate and be grateful for the significant people in your life. You can do this by remembering how you felt when you and your spouse were dating, how you felt the day your child was born, how you felt when your family attended your high school graduation or other significant moments in your life. All too often, a job becomes nothing more than a way to keep the bills paid. Yet, you must have had some reason for choosing that particular line of work.

By focusing on the tasks you enjoy, and developing methods for further developing those tasks, a job can quickly become more of a career and less of a grind. If you would like to build a new career, then begin exploring the steps which lead to making a move in the right direction. A person can take charge of his or her money with some practical effort. A later section concentrates solely on finances. The key is a written-down budget.

Without a budget, a financial plan, your money is controlling you. Once you know where the money is going and begin to decide where and how it will go, you take control of it. Building The Foundation Everything else in the Breaking Through Life’s Boundaries program is based on “Attitude.” Some of the other steps include Beliefs, The Three Selves (Self Image, Self Concept, Self Esteem), Personal Relationships, Solving Life’s Problems, Personal Finances and much more. With an “I can change my life” attitude, it is possible to alter the belief system, improve self-esteem, or begin to solve the challenges which confront us. Our lives are very much like building a house. We were each given a lot, a piece of property, at birth.

How well we take care of that lot (the physical, mental and emotional being) will affect the value of the property – our lives. Good landscaping, keeping the lawn watered and mowed, putting in colorful flower beds, green shrubs and trees all enhance the value of the property. Eating well, exercise and regular check-ups maintain the physical body. Filling our lives with people who love and support us maintains and strengthens us emotionally. Being selective about what we watch on TV, what we read, what we listen to, supports the mental self. These things have a great deal to do with the value of our lives.

The strength and design of the foundation, attitudes, and expectations, may well determine how well and how long the house stands. Therefore, build your attitudes with ideas that support a successful and valuable life for the all the rest of your days.

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