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2 Quick Ways to Change Your Attitude According to John Maxwell

Former Yankee and Hall of Fame baseball player Yogi Berra has often been quoted as saying, “Life is like baseball; it’s 95 percent mental, and the other half is physical.”

The former catcher and manager’s math may not be perfect, but he does understand the power that thinking has on a person’s ability to succeed.

How many jobs do people lose every day because of attitude issues? How many times are others passed over for promotion because of the way they approach their job and other people? How many marriages fall apart? It would be impossible to calculate.

No one should ever lose a job, miss a promotion, or destroy a marriage because of a poor attitude. Why? Because a person’s attitude is not set; it is a choice. You can change your attitude.

Watch: John Maxwell Challenges How You Define a “Good” Day

How to Change Your Attitude

  1. Evaluate your present attitude

To improve your attitude, you need to assess where you’re starting from.

The key is to try to look at yourself objectively, to separate yourself from your attitude. Your goal isn’t to condemn yourself. It’s to see yourself clearly so that you can make positive changes to the way you think. Here’s how to proceed:

Identify problem feelings about yourself. Many times our feelings come into play long before we become consciously aware of them intellectually. So let’s start with feelings.

When do you feel most negative about yourself? Write down your answers.

Identify problem feelings related to others. Attitude issues often relate to other people. What causes you the greatest problems when dealing with others? Once again, write down your answers.

Identify problem thinking. We are the sum of our thoughts. And we cannot for any length of time behave in a way that is inconsistent with our thinking. So the question you must answer is this: What negative thoughts consistently control your mind? Write down your answers.

If you simply read through those questions without actually taking time to think through and write down your answers, then I want to encourage you to do so now. Why? Because you will not be able to change your attitude for the better unless you know what is currently impacting it for the worse.

You don’t necessarily need to change all of your thinking—just the few items that are keeping a positive attitude from flowing in you.

  1. Manage your attitude daily

One of the most significant discoveries of my life was realizing that we often place too much emphasis on making decisions and too little on managing the decisions we’ve already made.

This discovery was so significant to me that I wrote a book about it called Today Matters. The thesis of the book is that successful people make right decisions early and manage those decisions daily.

You can make a decision to have a good attitude, but if you don’t make plans to manage that decision every day, then you are likely to end up right back where you started.

But here’s the good news: maintaining the right attitude is easier than regaining the right attitude.

How do you do that?

A Chinese proverb I came across gives insight: “Assume a cheerfulness you do not feel, and shortly you feel the cheerfulness you assumed.” Or as editor and publisher Elbert Hubbard says, “Be pleasant until 10 a.m. and the rest of the day will take care of itself.”

When you get up in the morning, you need to remind yourself of the decision you’ve made to have a positive attitude. You need to manage your thinking and direct your actions so that they are consistent with your decision.

How to Make Your Attitude Your Greatest Asset

If you take responsibility for your attitude—recognizing that it can change how you live, managing it every day, and cultivating and developing positive thoughts and habits—then you can make your attitude your greatest asset. It can become the difference maker in your life, opening doors and helping you overcome great obstacles.

What do you think?

As a Type A personality, I battle feeling like I'm worthless and a screw up on a daily basis. I never realized just how much these feelings impact my attitude towards my work and my job. These exercises created by John Maxwell helped me see for the first time that my attitude may not be as good as I thought it was. I mean, I won the Mental Attitude Award three years in a row from my swim coach when I was a child! In what ways could your own attitude be preventing you from living your best life while you're at work?

John Maxwell

John C. Maxwell is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, coach, and speaker who has sold more than 33 million books in fifty languages. He has been identified as the #1 leader in business and the most influential leadership expert in the world.

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