Monday, March 1, 2010

Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude


Our attitude either helps us or hinders us in the way we relate to others. I wrote the following article some time ago in an executive context but felt to post it on this blog as our attitude truly determines whether we limp or soar through life and thereby has a huge impact on all of our relationships.

In his book You Can Do It Paul Hanna states that just like a pilot of a 747 we have all the controls at our fingertips that allow us to take off and fly at any altitude we choose. He asserts, however, that many of us cruise along at the same altitude for years, often very unhappy with our bumpy ride, but with the conviction that we don’t have the power to change it.

I believe that Paul Hanna is right – it’s our attitude that determines whether we will soar like a 747, cruise along at the same altitude year in year out or, worse still, limp along the tarmac taking off every so often, only to land again with such a nasty bump that sooner or later we’ll be convinced that take-off isn’t even an option.

My attitude not only determines my altitude it also determines the success I achieve in my life. Recognising this principle makes it vital to understand how I came by my attitude in the first place and, more importantly, how I can change it.

Simplistically, our attitude is the sum-total of the beliefs we have developed about ourselves and our world throughout our life’s journey. The most significant development of our beliefs occurs throughout our childhood years. This may mean, for instance, that if you were raised in a fear-filled home it is likely that when you first tried your wings you did so with great fear and trepidation, expecting to crash at any minute. If you were told throughout your growing years that you are worthless and would never amount to anything chances are that you never even found the courage to take off in the first place. Adversely, having spent your childhood in a supportive environment that applauded your early successes you most likely took off with the total conviction that your plane would safely lift off the ground, would soar like an eagle in no time at all and that you would land safely at your chosen destination…which, no doubt, you did!

It all depends on how you see yourself – the image you have of who you are, how competent, how capable and how worthy you are of success. So, what if you were NOT raised in an environment that encouraged a positive self image? Does this mean that you will never be able to effectively fly your 747?

Not at all! Whilst it obviously helps to have had acknowledgment of our childhood successes, thankfully our future does not depend on it as we all have the capacity to change our early programming.

So, how can we change our programming?

The only way you can change the program that has thus far determined the view you have of yourself and of the world is by changing your beliefs. The only way you can change your beliefs is by accepting that they may not be accurate; that you’ve simply accepted what you’ve been told by your parents, your teachers or other individuals who were influential in your life as the truth; that – in fact - you have been viewing yourself and the world through someone else’s glasses.

Please return to this blog next week to find out how to change your program.


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