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Do We Know When Our Attitude Makes a Difference and When It Doesn’t?

We want to think that having a great attitude in the situation will always solve the problem. However, that isn’t the case.

To help us succeed in our professional and personal lives, It’s important for us to understand when our attitude will help us and when it won’t.

John Maxwell, a well-known author, and motivational speaker, summarized it well when he said that there are times our attitude can make a difference, and there are times it will make the difference.

Our attitude is not a substitute for:

  • Competence – some people confuse confidence, a function of attitude, with competence, which is a function of ability. For example, I may have a great attitude and believe I can run the 100-yard dash in 10 seconds flat, but if I don’t have the ability, it doesn’t matter my attitude, it won’t happen.
  • Experience – Attitude can’t make up for experience. For example, thirty years as a real estate mortgage broker negotiating and structuring deals can’t be replaced with a good attitude.
  • Facts – Attitude doesn’t change the facts. For example, the fact that interest rates are rising and may slow down the real estate market won’t be changed by a great attitude. Whereas careful study on where to focus in the market can change the situation.
  • Personal growth – Attitude doesn’t make up for the knowledge gained through active learning. For example, for myself over the years I have purposely sought out counsel through reading and listening to experts on how to be more self-aware of my actions, which has helped improve my ability to relate with people. Something that would not happen merely with a good attitude.

However, our attitude, which includes our self-awareness, does play a huge role in our ability to succeed in life.

We cannot always choose what happens to us, but we can always choose what happens in us.

Our attitude can make a difference in areas beyond our control, but attitude will always make a difference in areas of our life that we can control.

Our attitude does make a difference in:

  • Our approach to life – An attitude of gratitude can affect the level of enjoyment in life. For example, when we are content with what we have and do not compare ourselves with others, we can live with less stress.
  • Our relationships – Our attitude towards people is a huge factor in the success of our relationships both at home and at work. For example, when we come home from work and the first impression, we give our family is a great attitude, it rubs off and perpetuates the positive experience with those around us.
  • How we face challenges – An attitude of optimism, looking at the glass half full rather than half empty, can change an obstacle into an opportunity. For example, when there is a correction in the real estate market, we can either concentrate on the downturn and what we may have lost, or focus on the opportunity to invest at a discount and what will be gained.

Successful people do not have fewer problems than unsuccessful people; they just have a different mindset. We can face the same problem: one person is baffled and frustrated, and the challenge energizes the other.

Being self-aware of how our attitude relates to our success in life will shorten the learning curve and expedite our journey to a more successful professional career and a more satisfying personal life.


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