Attitude is a Decision

Posted on April 30, 2009 by Aidan

Light through the trees

I was driving through the pouring rain the other day and I was listening to the latest ESRI figures describing the contracting Irish economy and the increasing number of unemployed. As I arrived on this dark dank day at my destination –  a conference –  I walked into the room and the speaker was talking gloomily about Swine Flu and the imminent danger it represented. I was greeted by one of the conference organisers – “You the motivation speaker?” …”Yes” I replied and wondered to myself if I wasn’t up against it on this one….

But no – I thought again about what I was to talk about and I brightened considerably. For I went on to talk about attitude.

And attitude is everything. Some will look out on a rainy day and think “oh what a horrible day” – well no – its not horrible its just wet. We tend to add the adjectives that make stories which drag us into a state of mind that can be hard to get out of. We need to remember that things are as they are. Our reaction to the situation can be either empowering or destructive – but we get to choose which.

Viktor Frankl – a Psychiatrist who was interned in various concentration camps during the second world war wrote that choice was the last of the human freedoms – he tells us that “Even under the most terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress, we, who lived in concentration camps, can remember men who walked through the huts to comfort others and give away their last piece of bread …They may have been few in numbers, but they offered sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a person but one thing, the last and the greatest of human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way of life!” Frankl founded a school of Psychiatry to rival Freud and made an impact all over the world with the theories he engendered from his observations.

Given this truth can we not choose our attitude? I believe so.

Its well known that one can alter state by conscious choice. There are methods which do this such as visualising happy events, or positive outcomes or repeating a mantra which evokes powerful and positive feelings. Once you achieve the new state of mind your (always) subjective perspective can alter too allowing you the freedom and energy to get into positive action.

And we need plenty of positive action right now.

Aidan Higgins