The Art of Attituding

6 February, 2014

Have you been happy lately, accepting? Full of wellbeing? Or have you fallen out with life, things not going quite right? What would happen if you could choose your perspective?

I was reminded today whilst working with a client that you don’t achieve a perfectly balanced life one day and that’s it. Much in the same way you don’t jump on a bike, stop peddling, and expect the bike to remain upright! To keep balanced on a bike you need to peddle… sometimes you will go over bumps, sometimes it will be an uphill struggle, sometimes a downhill cruise. And each time you make the adjustments you need to make to keep balancing. Life is therefore not 'balanced' or 'not balanced' . It is more that we are in a continuous act of balancing at any given moment, an act that requires almost constant attention. It’s a verb, an activity, a ‘doing’ - not a fixed state.

My own experiences with my life recently has reminded me that it’s the same deal with our own mental attitude. I took an epic 6 weeks holiday over Christmas and returned to ‘reality’ with a bit of a loud, dull thud. It makes sense that I got into a bit of a negative, de-motivated cycle, where nothing felt like it was going ‘right’ any more.

There’s a saying that says ‘your attitude towards life determines life’s attitude towards you’. I agree! However, keeping an eye on our attitude and making adjustments to it is not quite as easy (nor as tangible) as it sounds. However, the way you perceive and interpret the life and its events (your attitude) is just as malleable as anything else: it’s not a fixed state or a black and white construct (i.e. you either have a ‘good’ attitude or a ‘bad’ one and that’s that). It’s again a verb, an activity, a ‘doing’. In other words, making adjustments to how you perceive and interpret life in a way that allows you to be resourceful and make useful choices, is the Art of Attituding. And things really can ‘change’ in an instant!

If you notice that you are ‘looking on the dark side’ and could do with a bit of an Attituding makeover, read on, there may be a hint or a tip that could help you out:
  1. whatever it is you’re not feeling happy about, you are only viewing from one, limited perspective. Who says that’s the most useful one to view it from? Identify what it is that’s bugging you. And then identify at least 3 different perspectives to see it from. For example if you think your boss is being unfair to you, imagine the situation from their perspective and see what that opens up.
  2. be aware of your brain’s ability to generalise situations. It does this well! One thing may have gone ‘wrong’ or caused an inconvenience, and before you know it everything has gone wrong. Have another look: what is actually going well in your life? What one thing could use adjusting to make things even better?
  3. start to choose what you pay attention to. Remember: what you focus on, amplifies. Inside. So, are you focusing on the stuff that feels good, or the stuff that doesn’t? A good trick to reverse this is beginning to cultivate some appreciation for things in your life that are good (or at the very least, not bad). Writing down 3 things you’re grateful for in the morning and at night - every day - has a magical attitude-changing affect in about 5 days. Try it and tell me what happens.

As always, I welcome insights into your own experiences, your comments and feedback.

Love Charlotte.

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