Is attitude everything?
The old saying “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade” is maybe more important than we could have imagined. It turns out that our attitude towards what’s going on in our lives matters a lot as recent research is showing us. A large study by Keller et al in 2012 shows e.g. that a positive attitude towards stress can protect us from the harmful effects of stress. When I read that it made me feel bad about always fussing to my daughter who from the age of fifteen and on has been using almost every minute of the day and well into the night getting all the things that keep her ticking done. What she can fit into her schedule is truly amazing. To my remarks about how her health would suffer if she kept going like a mad person she always replied; “stress is good for me, it keeps me going”. Now it turns out she was probably right. By having a positive attitude towards stress she made it ok for her health. Fear of falling is another example of how our attitude matters. Some research has shown that people who are afraid of falling are more likely to fall (Friedman et al, 2002).
Why are we so prone to think negative thoughts?
If attitude is so important then why are we so prone to thinking negative thoughts? Why do we sometimes even feel like we have to think about all the bad things that could happen and not allow ourselves to be too optimistic as that might even jinx the outcome? Are we systematically trained to keep a negative attitude with the aim of making sure that we will become realistic enough? Haven’t we all heard people tell us that we shouldn’t be so naive and that we have to take into account all the things that could go wrong? What if the ones among us, and throughout times, that have excelled and made history are the ones that didn’t adapt this negativity and kept an unbroken positive attitude despite all the warnings? Maybe we should change the way we train our kids and help them keep some of their naive attitude and feelings of being able to do anything instead of making sure that they will become realistic enough to handle lifes’ challenges. Maybe that’s the essence of a true leadership as Ralph Marston put is so well.