One of the first things we develop in life is attitude. We might define attitude as “a predisposition or a tendency to respond positively or negatively towards a certain idea, object, person, or situation.” When we describe a baby, we use terms like fussy, nervous, upset or calm, peaceful, happy, or others, depending on what the baby is doing at any given time. When observing small children and animals, we become aware that they may demonstrate a different attitude depending on who is interacting with them.
As we develop skills, we tend to acquire certain attitudes. Prowess in certain sports can lead to attitudes of aggressiveness and assertiveness. In lives tending to quieter pursuits, attitudes develop that tend to reinforce and reflect these activities. In this way, different attitudes can be present in one person in different circumstances.
In the same way, the people in our lives can influence our attitudes. A loving, nurturing environment can nurture the development of one type of attitude. Strict, overbearing, or evening abusive influences in a person’s life can have a significant impact on the attitude a person develops. Economic factors can have a direct bearing on attitude.
A part of attitude comes from how we are wired emotionally. A highly systematic, detail-oriented person will most likely have a different attitude than a spontaneous person who has very little in the way of self-discipline and tends to go with the flow.
There is a cause and effect relationship between our attitudes and the things we pursue in life. We tend to engage in those activities that support our underlying attitudes and to avoid those that do not. In the same way, we tend to seek out relationships with people who support our underlying attitudes. Ideally, this results in a balanced, happy personal, and professional life.
Some things can disrupt things and cause tension with our attitudes. Something like a close personal relationship with someone whose attitudes conflict with ours can exert considerable stress on our emotional well-being. Being in a job you don’t like just for money or security can have a destructive impact on one’s attitude.
Some of these things can, at least theoretically, be changed. Some other things like illness, loss, a local or global crisis cannot be changed but can seriously affect our attitude. An awareness of our attitudes and the things that are influencing them can go a long way toward helping us manage the circumstances in our lives and making sense of what is going on around us.
As we move forward, we can increase awareness of our attitudes and those of other persons. When we face seemingly overwhelming situations in our lives, knowing how these things can affect our attitudes can give us valuable tools to deal with these things. As we move forward, sometimes we need every tool we can get.If you would like to receive new As We Move Forward posts, please subscribe to the As We Move Forward mailing list by clicking here. I release entries on a bi-weekly basis.
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