Display a healthy attitude to life | Sunday Observer

Display a healthy attitude to life

30 April, 2023

Attitude is the opinion and feelings that you usually have about someone or something. It also means the way you behave towards someone in a particular situation, especially when this shows how you feel.

Some people have an attitude problem. Their behaviour shows that they do not like to help people or simply respect their rights. At a media organisation, a colleague had an attitude problem towards women. He used to harass them in many ways. Ultimately, he had to pay a heavy price for his behaviour.

One of my English teachers used to say that attitude is the most important word in the dictionary. Although I did not understand its meaning clearly at that time, later I became increasingly aware of its significance. Your attitude is one of the first things people notice. If you walk into a government office, most employees have a negative attitude towards the public. Unlike in the private sector, they do not have a friendly attitude towards the public.

You cannot change your height or body type however much you try. However, you can change your attitude. With proper guidance and training, you can acquire a positive attitude towards others. If you find that you have failed to achieve your targets in life, you need to change your attitude. Psychologists have come up with various ways to change your attitude and succeed in life.


I knew of a boy who had a stutter. He was advised by his teachers to go for speech therapy, but he insisted that he could outgrow his stutter. He told himself firmly that he would not stutter in the class. Consequently, he developed adequate self-confidence that he could speak clearly like any other boy.

At that time he did not know that he was using self-motivation to get over the problem. When the boy was sent to the therapist by the principal, he said he no longer stuttered. The therapist did not take his words seriously and gave him a book to read a passage clearly and effortlessly. The therapist was surprised when he heard the boy reading the passage without stuttering. The incident proves that you can use affirmation for positive thinking. I always remember Muhammad Ali who boasted that he was the greatest boxer. In fact he became the greatest boxer at the time.

Most of us expect external motivation. We need cheer leaders to support us. This does not work all the time. If there are no cheer leaders, you will fail miserably. Therefore, you need some form of internal motivation. It will take some time for you to realise that things inside you inspire passion. When you find them, share them with others. The best way is to write down what you really want in life. Thereafter, you can chart your way to pursue your vision.

As a child, I had trouble learning English at school. Most of my colleagues were very fluent in English. They used to laugh at me whenever I made a silly mistake. However, I was internally motivated to learn English well. I always remembered my father’s words, “There’s no future for you if you don’t know English.” The words always rang in my ears.

Mental training

To succeed in any field of activity, you need both physical and mental training. Even professional athletes spend a lot of time on their mental training. They not only visualise their goals, but also imagine exactly how their bodies will feel when they perform well.

Phil Jackson, coach of the Los Angeles Basketball Team, in his book “Sacred Hoops” stated, “I do 45 minutes of visualisation at home before each game.” Visualisation also helped Nelson Mandela to maintain his positive attitude during his decades in prison. He always thought of the day he would walk out free and serve his country.

Visualisation, however, should be connected with success, not failure. If you visualise failure, you will certainly fail. Do not send negative messages to the brain. If you think that you are not smart enough for a particular job, you are simply not smart enough. You need some effort to create positive visualisations to counter negative thoughts. Positive thoughts will always push you forward.

Words are powerful tools. Use them to lift up your attitude and the attitudes of those around you. Too often people greet each other with no energy. When someone asks, “How are you?” do not say “I’m OK.” Say, “I’m fine, thank you!” At the same time, remember that you can have a positive impact on another person’s life with just a few encouraging words.

One day when I was walking on the pavement I heard a garbage collector whistling a cheerful tune. I smiled and he smiled back. I knew he had a positive attitude to his work. What struck me was his enthusiasm and obvious sense of pride in his job. It was not the job that made him happy but his attitude. Most people like to work and live with people who view life for what it is. For them life is a miracle and a beautiful gift. Unfortunately, some people do not know what enthusiasm is. It means sharing what you have inside with others.

Innovative teachers

A long time ago a group of students attended a private English class in Nugegoda. The teacher wanted the students to shout English phrases while walking along the streets. He divided the class into groups and asked them to let out their enthusiasm. Later it turned into a contest and the teacher said the loudest group would win a prize.

After the unusual exercise, some students wanted another chance, but the teacher said, “You will never get a second chance to make an impression.” Innovative teachers know how to kindle enthusiasm in students. It is the fire in the belly that says, “Don’t wait!”

Men with the right attitude are usually self-starters. They do not expect others to lead them. Pope John XXIII once said, “Often I half awake at night thinking about a serious problem and decide that I must ask the Pope what to do about it. Then I wake up completely and remember that I am the Pope.”

He points out the difference between self-starters and others who want to be led. Practically, all the pioneering figures have illuminated history. They were the people who always reached the top of their careers. Your attitude matters in all transactions. Therefore, change your attitude to suit the occasion.

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