What is attitude anyway? Have you ever stopped to think about what it is you are really trying to change about yourself? You read books and go to seminars where you hear self professed guru’s standing on their soapboxes railing that you must change your attitude if you want to change your life, but have they ever actually explained to you how exactly you got there to begin with? Or what the actual steps are to make a lasting change?
When I first started learning about attitude and its affect on my life I found myself constantly battling my subconscious trying to be optimistic about everything. As I continued to learn I realized that I was going about it all wrong and over the years I’ve finally discovered what was missing, and why. I’d like to try and save you the headache and effort I drained in learning my lessons.
From a scientific perspective we can acknowledge that our brains are made up of many neural pathways. Those pathways have been formed throughout the years and they run very, very deep. Picture a rutted dirt road that has been used for years. As children we often hear the words “no” or “don’t touch/do that”. And of course, being children, we proceed to do it again and again. And we are told the same words, over and over. Those were the trailblazing words and lessons on our neural pathways. Those words, believe it or not, are negative. No. Don’t touch. Don’t do that. They are all forms of negativity. Essentially, our negative behavior was attracted to the negative response it elicited from our caretakers. So it’s understandable that as we grow into adults we carry those experiences with us. After all, those are some of the earliest life lessons we learned.
As an adult, when we set out to change our way of thinking by seeking a more positive or optimistic view of life we frequently become our own worst enemy. The words no, you can’t touch, and you can’t do that come back to haunt us time and time again. It’s a seemingly constant battle of wills between your conscious mind and your subconscious mind. As you try to attract positive results from your positive thoughts and actions your old, well worn negative pathways continuously get in your way. By being the path of least resistance they are effectively sabotaging your best efforts. This brings about the counterproductive negative thoughts and so you enter that viscous circle once again.
Here’s a little secret for you though: You CAN create new neural pathways! It IS possible! Sure, it takes time, effort, patience and a LOT of learning but it can be done. The trick is to work on it every day, no matter what. Even if it’s only for five minutes, it will help. Over time, your thoughts will naturally take the newer, positive pathways. You will find yourself struggling less and less against your subconscious and its old way of thinking. This process takes time, it’s not going to happen overnight, but I promise you, if you stick to it and work on it daily, it will become easier, one positive thought at a time.
We all have that nagging voice in our heads, the one that tells us that we’re not good enough, smart enough, or whatever “enough” to reach our goals. It’s important to remember that YOU are the only person who has control over your thoughts and actions. If you want a change YOU will have to make it happen. You must be the one working on those new neural pathways, creating a better environment for yourself.
I want you to take the time to write yourself a list of five positive attributes and qualities you possess. Expand on this list every day for a week. Take it day by day, are you a good organizer? Peace maker? Writer? Cook? Are you good with numbers or money? What are the top five qualities you possess that you might admire in someone else? It’s time for you to admire yourself for once. Every day I want you to return to this list and think more on each quality. What do you admire about it, about yourself? Can you come up with more than five?
Next week we’ll delve into what you should do with that list. For now, take your time and learn to love yourself and your positive qualities and attributes.