One of the things that can take some time to understand is that you have control of your attitude. Even after being understood, achieving this control is incredibly difficult. The majority of us go through life allowing our emotions to be held hostage by life events and circumstances. This doesn’t have to be the case. I’m not implying that we should all go through life as cold, emotionless automatons, but that we would all benefit from taking the occasional proverbial “Chill Pill.” All too often we allow relatively small impediments to our day set the “emotional tone” for us. Often, this emotional tone affects us negatively. Think of our emotional tone being the weather of the day, and our overall attitude being the climate in which we live. Our emotional tone changes daily for most people. Take, for example, a young man who begins a relatively neutral day. On the way to work or school, he has a flat tire. Immediately he is frustrated and the emotional tone starts to become negative. The domino effect has now officially begun. This struggling young man, lacking training in controlling his or her emotional tone or attitude, is now preconditioned for the rest of the day to see only negative effects Although life circumstances are sometimes outside of a person’s control, we all still ultimately hold power over our reactions. We choose whether to be upset about them; we choose whether we embrace our inner Tigger or Eeyore.
The day described above could have just as easily unfolded as a positive day, or at least been a neutral day, if the person had instead chosen to positively reframe the situation. My favorite way of utilizing this method is to try to extrapolate the problem to a situation that could have been worse. For example, if a week or two prior to the flat tire incident, our young man had been on a trip involving air travel. To reframe this situation with the flat tire, instead of thinking, “This figures, why does this always happen to me,” our young man, having retrained his thought process, thinks, “Wow, this really stinks, but at least it happened today and not Thursday when we left on our trip!” Think of that domino effect! In this moment, the tone of the day has been reset to be thankful, and the domino effect goes the other direction. He is nicer to his parents, his friends, his coworkers, and others, which then results in them being nicer to him. He is more predisposed to seeing the good things throughout the day. Attitude is, indeed, everything!