Earl Nightingale started off his Lead the Field record series with a record called: “The Magic Word.”
What is the “magic word?” Well, I had always been taught that it was: “please” and “thank you.”
Though those aren’t just one word, they do point toward what Earl Nightingale was speaking about.
His “magic word” is “attitude.”
A good attitude will get anyone who was blessed by inherent disposition, upbringing, or cultivation through personal improvement far in life.
People naturally want to be around others who have a positive attitude.
The corollary, with the caveat that “misery enjoys company” is that people are repelled by those that have a bad attitude.
Now, setting aside nature and nurture, how does one go about cultivating a better attitude.
First, it’s important to recognize the attitude that one has now – one’s “starting point.”
Interestingly, there are a lot of people who are not even aware of the fact that their attitudes are sub-par.
This lack of self-awareness is really a shame!
Think of it this way. If you were walking down the street and you saw an individual approaching who was shabbily dressed, flailing his arms around, and screaming obscenities, what would you likely do?
Most people would step across the street and continue on so as not to have to cross paths with this “bum.”
Well, though that’s an extreme case of someone whose attitude has gone completely amok, the same thing happens – but just to a lesser degree – to people with a bad attitude.
Now, does this mean that their attitude might make them perfectly suited for certain environments?
Of course, so. Here, think of that litigator who though completely bereft of any social graces is absolutely excellent at her job.
Here my mind wanders to the use of “the gimp” in Quinton Tarintino’s Pulp Fiction.
Just put these types of folks in the box and only let them out when they have a specific “job to perform.”
For most of us though, we need to be able to “perform” with many different types of people over the course of our day.
Those that have a positive, “can do/will do” attitude are the one’s with whom other’s want to interact.
Returning to the question at hand: How do we cultivate a good attitude? Earl Nightingale says:
Act toward others and the world at large in exactly the same manner that you want the world, and others, to act toward you. For example, treat the members of your family as the persons they really are: the most important people in your life. Carry out into the world each morning the kind of attitude you’d have if you were the most successful person on earth. And notice how quickly it develops into a habit. Almost immediately, a change will be noticed.
Now, to prevent “a failure to communicate” know that acting as if you are “the most successful person on earth” is not going to be perceived of the same for someone with a bad attitude as one with a good one. So here’s another quote from Earl Nightingale:
Before you can achieve the kind of life you want, you must THINK, ACT, TALK AND CONDUCT YOURSELF IN ALL OF YOUR AFFAIRS as would the person you wish to become. (Emphasis added by his mentee and my mentor Bob Proctor)
Simple enough right? Well, like any habit, having a great attitude is going to take quite a bit of work upfront until its set.
Just keep at it! If I can do it, so can you.
Turn that frown upside down!
PS – My family just came down to the kitchen. I’ve got to run now to treat them as the people they really are. Have a great Saturday!