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A Thing

Attitude adjustment

Water Cooler Wisdom

It is never too late to
give up our prejudices.

- Henry David Thoreau

Water Cooler Quotes Archive

We all know what attitude is. It's certainly easy to notice attitudes in other people, especially when they collide with our own. We like to spell those kinds of attitudes with a capital "A." But often attitude is there permeating everything we do. And we don't even notice. Attitude embodies our perspectives about how things are and how they should be.

If you haven't thought about the impact of your attitude lately, it's time for an attitude assessment, and possible adjustment.

Your attitude can have a tremendous effect on whether you simply survive, barely making it through each day, or whether you flourish day in and day out. Given this fact, you've probably been told many times in life to have a positive attitude, but listen up: That may not always be the best advice.

Why? you ask. Just as it is unhealthy to have a negative attitude and automatically assume the worst from everyone and everything, it's also dangerous to see events through rose-colored glasses and assume life is perfect and challenge free. Perhaps telling someone to have an "open minded" attitude would be better advice.

If you have an open-minded attitude, you are free to form your own opinions in response to all manner of situations and individuals. And you are free to act in ways that are appropriate for each situation as it arises.

The benefits of an open attitude

If your attitude is open, you can see each event and person as an opportunity. In each instance, you have the freedom to form your own opinions and decide whether you wish to work within the situation.

You are able to judge each circumstance on its own merits and decide how you will behave. You can see the potential and risks with clarity and without bias. When your mind is open, you listen to others, assess the situation and then determine what your actions will be.

The risks of a closed attitude

If you have a closed mind and attitude, you prejudge events before experiencing them. Instead of making things happen, you are inclined to sit back and wait for the right thing to happen, and until it does, everything else is wrong.

Having a closed attitude can lead to feelings of victimization as well as loss of control of your destiny. You may only be able to anticipate one outcome for each event, and if the reality is not the exact outcome you had envisioned, you believe it to be a failure.

Open sesame

If you practice being open-minded, you can combine reality with personal power. You can accept circumstances and people over which you have no control. You can see a situation for what it is rather than what you think it should be or what you want it to be.

This clarity allows you to use your time and energy to focus on effecting change where you do have power. Having an open mind allows you to make the most of your efforts while minimizing your frustration and sense of powerlessness.

Your attitude affects your perspectives, beliefs and judgments. Practicing an open-minded attitude allows you the freedom to form perspectives, beliefs and judgments on a case-by-case basis, and then act accordingly.

Article published in issue number 060601

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