If you were able to choose your attitude in any given situation, what difference would that make?
What would be the component parts that you would choose to make up your attitude.
In this video I talk about a general purpose attitude to life that will help you to get the most out of whatever you are doing.
If you prefer to read, rather than to watch, you’ll find a transcription below. This is an automatically generated transcript so please excuse any errors.
What if it were true that you can choose your attitude to life? What would you choose?
A few years ago, I was going to a networking meeting. And on this particular day, I didn’t feel like going, I’d committed to going a few weeks before, I’d already paid. So I felt I should go. But a few things had come up in the meantime. And to be honest, I felt that my time would be better spent doing other things, nevertheless, or going to my car. But I remember sitting there and saying to myself, I’m going to meet the same people that I met last month, we’re probably going to talk about the same things we talked about last month.
But the biggest thing that was going through my mind was the speaker, the event, I kept saying to myself, I’ve heard him speak before he speaks in a really monotone voice is very boring. And what he talks about isn’t actually very applicable to me anyway. And actually, I don’t even believe that he’s very good at what he does.
So I’m sure you can see, by this point, I really didn’t want to go to this meeting. Nevertheless, I had committed to go it and I don’t like letting people down. And so luckily, at that point, I caught myself. And I realized that what I was doing was talking myself out of it.
But more importantly than that, I was setting the tone for my experience. If I’d gone along with that attitude, firstly, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it, or would have been frustrated for the whole time that I was there, or wouldn’t have focused on the conversations that I had. When the speaker came on, I would have been bored or wouldn’t have been listening. And then after that, I would have probably driven home feeling like I’d wasted the whole morning and getting stressed about all the things I could have done instead.
So it’s really good that I caught myself, because I knew what I was setting myself up for. Instead, I remembered and general purpose attitude are very wise ladies once told me about which is simply reminding yourself or asking yourself the question, What can I learn here? And as soon as I remembered that, it was blindingly clear to me that my current attitude was, this is going to be a waste of time. And if that was my attitude, my expectation, that would absolutely have been my experience as well.
So instead, I asked myself the question, What can I learn while I’m there? And just by asking that question, it’s switched me into a better frame of mind. And I instantly became more open minded. While I was there, I spoke to a guy that I see every month. And as we as we spoke, I learned that he had a brother who’s a radio presenter.
Now for a while at that point, I’d been looking for speaking opportunities to get on things like podcasts and radio shows. So actually, his brother was a really good contact for me. If I’d gone in with the the attitude that this is going to be boring, I’ll just talk to the same people about the same things, then we probably would have had the same conversation that we always had, which would probably be something like, Hi, how you doing? Good. Thanks. How you do? Yeah, good. You’re busy. You’re keeping busy can’t complain? Oh, look, we’re serving breakfast. See you later.
Instead, because I’d switched into the what can I learn attitude, somehow it opened up our conversation, and I became more interested in him as a person. And as a result, I learned something that turned out to be very useful to me. Interestingly, as well, when the speaker came on, he did speak in a monotone voice. And yes, his subject matter was something that wasn’t very applicable to me.
But something really interesting happened. Have you ever had that thing where somebody says something that sparks a completely different thought in your, in your mind, something that’s totally unrelated to what they just said, but somehow, you know that they triggered it. I had been working on writing a workshop for a while. And I’ve been struggling with how to bridge from one part of the workshop to another. And there was something that the speakers said, which had nothing to do with writing workshops, but somehow it triggered a thought in my mind. And it gave me flat flash of inspiration. And suddenly, I had that link that I’ve been struggling with for a few days.
The point is, if I’d gone in there with that this will be boring attitude, I would have been very closed minded, or wouldn’t have been very listening. I wouldn’t have been listening. And I wouldn’t have picked up on that. What can I learn here, put me in exactly the right frame of mind.
So that’s been a very long winded introduction to the question. If you could choose your attitude to life, what would you choose? And I’m talking about a general purpose attitude that would work well in any situation. And I think there are five components to that.
The first is curiosity. And I’m talking about childlike curiosity. You know, I wonder, I wonder what happens if I press that? What happens if I press it again? I wonder what that tastes like. Children are curious about everything, aren’t they? And it’s no coincidence that this is the period of their life when they learn the most.
The second part is a sense of adventure. How would it be Every day felt like it was an adventure to you.
And three is a desire to learn. We’ve almost been conditioned that when we leave school or university or wherever it is that we’ve done learning. But it’s not true. That’s just the beginning. When you combine that state of curiosity with a genuine desire to learn, that’s when magic happens.
dThe fourth component of the attitude is a sense of awe and wonder. I remember when I was about 20 years old, I went on an outward bound course work, and we were out lake in the lake, outside out hiking in the Lake District. And there was a lot of snow on the ground, and it was very foggy. And we’re walking through this field, and suddenly, the fog lifted. And right there in front, and we there was this huge hill, I want to call it a mountain. But probably hell is probably more accurate. But whatever it was, there was this huge magnificent sigh in front of me. And I felt really small in comparison. And it filled me with an amazing sense of wonder about life and nature and about everything. And it really was a magical moment, you’ve probably had similar experiences in your life, where you just looked at something. We just looked at the world and you went, wow. d
And the fifth component, the last, but certainly not the least, is a sense of fun. Life can be pretty serious sometimes. But we don’t have to be serious. As we go through life with a lighter heart, we’re often able to find the fun in everyday situations, and then life just becomes more enjoyable. What components would be in your general purpose attitude, spend our time thinking about that?
And then think about some recent experiences you’ve had in life? And ask yourself, how would it have been? If you approached it with a bit more curiosity? How would it have been if you looked at it as if it was more of an adventure? What if he’d gone into it, looking for things that you could learn? How would it have been different? And where was the Wonder? How can you look past the ordinary to see the magical and how could you have made it more fun.
Now, this is not a one time event, unless you wire it in, then your attitude to life would tend to change as the circumstances around you change, which is like being in a boat cast adrift in the Great Lake of life being pushed around by the code and the wind. Choosing your attitude is like putting the sail up. And like every good sailor knows it doesn’t matter what the direction of the wind is. If you change the set of your sail, you can always get where you want to go.