A-Z of Personal Development




“The stuff of legends; the right stuff; strong moral fibre; grit and determination; never, ever giving in; thinking the unthinkable etc etc etc.”

The point is: I could fill a whole page with superlatives to describe attitude but that would, I suspect, bore you senseless.

In a nutshell, my aim is to give you a pithy and, I hope, thought-provoking series of posts on personal development and, more helpfully, some key points that you might like to think about and apply or pass on to others.

I am not particularly interested in producing a set of impersonal positive affirmations – “I think positive and therefore I am positive” (not that there is anything wrong with this modus operandi but absent putting into effect those affirmations, you are merely talking the talk or as the late Jim Rohn said “… just being delusional”).

OK then Attitude:

  1. It is difficult for me to widen my compass beyond the UK (even though I did spend time in the 1970s living in South Africa) but attitude in the UK can and indeed often is associated with a slovenly teenager, grumpy, chippy and subject to mood swings disproportionate to the circumstances that pervade; you know the character that Harry Enfield so brilliant portrayed in Kevin and Perry (see YouTube). No the sort of attitude that I am referring to is the indefatigable type – the person who is a joy to be around.
  2. I am not talking about someone who is quixotic or sees everything through Rose tinted (Armani) specs – that is folly and likely to be self-delusional at best or more likely someone who needs professional counselling.
  3. Attitude for me means someone who likes themself – that is far wider than simply how they look – and extends to how they interact/interface with other people. The sort of person I am thinking about doesn’t criticize others, condemn or constantly resort to put downs. Indeed they are humbled very often to meet someone and do half as much talking as they do listening.
  4. Attitude pervades across a whole range of other areas of personal development but two of the most important are perseverance and persistence – not folding when the going gets sticky, not knowing when you are beaten and applying 100% of your effort to seeing the right thing done.
  5. Last but by no means least is authentic attitude – no fakes please. You can smell …em and taste …em a mile off. In this guise it feels like they have cloaked themself in an air of blandness or sometimes a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I know we all find ourselves in a situation where we can’t quite be our authentic self; but for heaven’s sake don’t stray too far off the beaten path because sooner or later you are going to end up on your rear end slammed on the deck.

How to cultivate the right attitude:

  • Be authentic. Let me say that again – be You. This is the most valuable gift you have to offer. If you want a direct application of this go read the Go-Giver which devotes a whole chapter to the Law of Authenticity.
  • By all means think positive thoughts but act on them. If you want to change your outlook on something then you also need to be prepared to work slowly, methodically and persistently at moving over to the new you. A good example might be that you tell yourself that as part of the new you, you are going to give up criticising people (this is going to be hard at the moment in the midst of a general election where you will feel from time to time the need to shout abuse at the TV) and use a system where you only speak in a positive way: Bad: “That person was so slow in serving me”. Becomes: “I appreciate that the person is busy and they will get to me as soon as they have finished with that other customer”.
  • I would suggest that if you want to make permanent change to your attitude (it could be as mundane as not liking a food or TV programme or more significantly how you deal with someone close to you) then the first step is to write down a list of all the things where your attitude gets in the way – “I hate brussel sprouts …” – and then next to it write a line or two of how you could change your attitude – “I haven’t really tried brussel sprouts and if they were cooked the same way as X chef then I will feel really great about eating them”. Don’t take on too many things too quickly but once you have got your list sorted out, I would suggest that you design 2/3 succinct sentences that you can either memorize of write down and read at least once a day for however long you feel you need to flip your switch. But please make sure that in to action what you have said.
  • Cut out the news.
  • Stop reading the newspaper for a while.
  • Stop reading your RSS feeds.
  • Try to read at least one book a month that is non work related that has something relevant, positive and inspiring within its midst.
  • Do a search on YouTube for Randy Pausch and watch his last lecture. If you don’t know who he is don’t worry.
  • Spend some time hanging out with some cool, irreverent and contrary people; make sure that they are not the usual suspects but people who have a optimistic outlook on life.

If you feel you have been able to make a difference in your life then tell others; if after reading this and applying some of or indeed any of the suggestions you would like to contribute on some of the rest of the B-Z let me know.

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