Change Your Attitude Change Your Life — You Have the Power!
“The ship’s gone, the stores are gone…so I guess we’ll go home.” ~ Sir Ernest Shackleton, after his ship the Endurance was crushed by ice and sunk, stranding them in the Antarctic, in 1915.
Twenty months after casually speaking the above words, Shackleton and his crew did emerge from that icebound landscape. He was a genius for setting the right attitude that would enable him and his 27 men to survive 20 brutal months of isolation, deprivation and below 0˚F weather. They did so in high spirits and not a man was lost. How did they do it? What can we learn about thriving during isolation and times of uncertainty? How can you use their experience to change your attitude, change your life?
As the men left the ship, they each took 2 pounds of provisions. The captain also made sure a 12-pound banjo came along for evening concerts and sing-a-longs. After reflecting on how the crew of the Belgica — the first expedition that overwintered in the Antarctic in 1897 — went mad and perished, Shakleton learned that having the right attitude, filling each day with healthful activities and keeping a routine were essential for survival.
Change Your Attitude Change Your Life – Why & How?
One of the most important ingredients for personal and professional success is Attitude. It’s more important than relying on skills. As a leader, who would you want on your team — the arrogant, hot-head who knows how to do everything or the person who lacks a few skills but is a team player who wants to be of service? It’s a lot easier to improve a skill-set than to change an ingrained attitude…it can be done, but it takes more work.
The men on the Endurance and the Belgica were all skilled…yet only the ones who cultivated a positive, forward-thinking, can-do attitude survived. Becoming highly-skilled is important. I love learning new skills, but you can be skillful and have a bad attitude. As Seth Godin says, “We learn something new by becoming temporarily incompetent.” A closed, proud attitude would never allow you to appear incompetent or vulnerable for a moment!
So, not any attitude will do. It’s important to cultivate the right attitude. There are three types of attitude: positive, negative and neutral. We’re born with a certain disposition and the people around us influence the development of our attitude. But we’re not locked into our genetic predisposition or our environmental influence. We have the power to choose.
We can’t blame our environment because that is neutral. Our perception and reaction makes our environment “good” or “bad”. To one person, being on a ship is freedom — they have an open, curious attitude. To another person, it’s terrifying – they have a fearful attitude toward it.
Just as sailors tack or jibe the sails when the wind blows (the wind is neither evil or good; it just is), so you can mindfully shift negative reactions and beliefs to support a peaceful attitude under any situation.
If you don’t become mindfully self-aware, you could go through life with an attitude that someone else has formed. The attitude you possess should be one that you choose, one that serves your values, your dreams, your purpose. You decide what is normal, acceptable or comfortable based on what you experience and choose to believe.
To change your attitude involves a thinking process and mental development that…
- cultivates a willingness to learn from others.
- is willing to look inwardly.
- learns to put others first.
- spends time with positive, not negative, people.
- recognizes and stops negative thinking and complaining.
- develops gratitude.
- rewards personal accomplishments and celebrates your wins.
- takes time to renew your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy.
- establishes good systems, routines and habits.
- believes in self.
- looks for opportunities.
- speaks positively about everyone and everything.
- is optimistic.
- is prepared for anything, but expects the best.
- is flexible, curious and open.
Choosing your attitude is a key component in self-leadership. Strive to be mindful of the things that are influencing you every day. As you do so, you will contribute toward the world Susan B. Anthony envisioned,
“I look for the day…when the only criterion of excellence or position shall be the ability and character of the individual; and this time will come.”
Did you know I’m hosting a half-day self-leadership course, designed to help you visualize and plan for profound personal and professional growth in 2021? There’s a lot we can learn about sailing through whatever life brings. Contact me to learn more about “Setting Sail for 2021” on Tuesday, December 29th via Zoom or visit my Facebook page for more details. Don’t delay, space is limited to 10.
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Mental Health, Personal Growth - Professional Growth, Positive thoughts - Negative thoughts