How to Change a Bad Attitude 

Attitude is a Powerful Word

Attitude; a simple word with enormous power over our lives. In my 20 plus years of working with professionals I’ve seen attitude make and break careers. I’ve watched people lose positions, lose spouses, and destroy relationships wiith their children, all because of their own attitude.

On the flip side, I’ve seen people do amazing things…overcoming tremendous obstacles. Not because they were better, or smarter, or stronger, but because they had a better outlook.

It Changes an Outlook

Let’s look at two examples of people that I know.  These two people are both kind, amazing, loving people. Both are dealing with serious and life altering medical issues; and are considered disabled by the legal definition.

One, who has always had a negative outlook, and has always felt like a victim, is facing bankruptcy, dealing with depression, and basically giving up. Her physical impairment became the final straw in her negative and victim mentality.

The other, with just as serious physical conditions, has continued to work (albeit in a modified way) through several surgeries and months of recuperating.  He’s faced the fact that he may never walk again and he’s recognized that his physical limitations mean a very different life for him than he had envisioned. But his attitude has remained positive. He refuses to see himself as a victim.

Both are my friends. One, I genuinely worry about. I wonder if she’ll pull out of her depression; the other, I am inspired by. The biggest difference between them is their attitude.

Negative Thought Habits

So, what creates an attitude? At what point in our lives do we develop our attitude? And do we actually have the power to change it?

I don’t know much about the childhood of either of these two people. I only know that at some point in their lives they formed a habit. One formed the habit of  a victim. She told me stories of being treated poorly by her former employer and how her spouse mistreated her. She said her children don’t understand her or care about her and she believes she has no friends.

For as long as I’ve known her, she’s had a victim mentality. She always felt as if the world had it in for her. By the time her physical problems entered the picture, she had already formed a strong victim habit.

Positive Thought Habits

The other friend used to coach hockey. He taught young boys about team work and about not giving up. He created (and taught) habits of success. His attitude was always one of overcoming. In the months since his devastating medical diagnosis, he has maintained his habit of a positive attitude. It is that attitude that will carry him forward to face his new life without walking.

I have no doubt that he will find happiness and more success. It is already there inside him, demonstrated by his attitude.

Changing Thought Habits

Fortunately, like any habit, good or bad, attitude habits can be changed. It won’t be easy, but it’s doable. It starts by recognizing that we have the bad habit. Sometimes we can discover it as easily as reading our own FB feed. Do we post negative stories all the time? Do we talk about every headache or muscle pain? Or, do we share uplifting and motivating stories?

What we post can be a reflection on our habits. It’s a good place to start to identify our own habits of thought! Once we identify it, we can make the decision to change it. Start small, make one small change at a time. Eventually you can have power over your attitude.

Power that will be important should you ever find yourself in a situation like my two friends. Your attitude can be the difference in your entire future.