Saturday, January 30, 2010

Winnie-the-Pooh and the Power of Attitudes

My old friend Ron retired from his career in corporate law a couple years ago. He emailed me recently that he's now a regular reader of my blog and enjoyed the recent posts about optimism. He attached a brief article about attitude that he wrote years ago and circulated among the managers in his company. It started with a reference to Eeyore, the gloomy donkey character in the Winnie-the-Pooh books. The article ended with this:

"Tomorrow morning look into the mirror while you are getting dressed for work and think about what you see. If there is an old Eeyore staring back at you…TAKE CHARGE of that gloomy attitude. CHANGE it before you [come to work]…or better yet, before you say good morning to your family. Just like selecting a shirt or blouse, you have a choice each morning as to the attitude you will put on for that day. But unlike selecting clothing, your choice of attitude will significantly affect your behavior and performance that day, and over time, the behavior and performance of everyone around you…even the other Eeyores."

I thought I'd share my reply to him with the readers of my blog....


Thanks for sending that. Good advice! Attitudes are simply thoughts/concepts/assumptions/conclusions/principles we have about things. Usually they can be stated in a sentence. We have thousands of attitudes about various things. And they do affect how we feel and how we act, which influences what happens to us. The amazing thing is that we can replace an attitude rather quickly, if the new thought is more closely aligned to reality.

Years ago, I had a distressing relationship with my aging mother. She whined a lot instead of doing things that would make her happy. When I talked to her I had to listen to that, and it caused me to be disappointed in her. One day I decided to adopt a new thought about her: "She'll never change. She is now who she'll always be. Unless I like being bothered, I need to just accept that." It made a huge difference immediately. I felt different about her and acted differently.

Attitudes are much easier to improve than skills, which take months of hard work to ingrain new patterns. Attitudes can be replaced in seconds. I guess only a couple neurons are involved. It's an amazing capability, and few people take advantage. They have the wrong attitude about attitudes, I guess.

Thanks for mentioning my blog to your friends. A writer likes to be read! I'm pleased that you visit regularly! I suggest you sign up as a Follower. And leave a comment every now and then.

I'm back to swimming regularly at the YMCA. Every time I get in the pool I remember that you swim, too. I put my goggles and nose clip on, get into the water and then an image of you swimming the crawl comes into my head. It's funny how the brain works.


1 comment:

Deika Elmi said...

great article thank you so much for sharing. There is someone who I'm close to who is a chronic worry wart and catastrophizes all the time. I am working on not allowing myself to be affected by this person's attitude and to not react to the negativity that pours out of him. I can only control my attitude and your post reinforces this thought. Hope you're having a great day in central texas. Cheers, Dea :)