Of all the keys to success, attitude is by far the greatest factor that can be controlled. There are many moments in life that standout as epiphanies or “aha” moments, if you will. One such moment for me was when I was reporting on a seminar given by Michael Angelo Caruso, entitled How to Give Killer Presentations: Sell Your Products, Services & Ideas.
During the seminar, someone had mentioned that they could not stand their boss and it was really taking a toll on their work and their attitude. Caruso gave them a secret to handling difficult people. He said to put all feelings aside and find something you like about someone you don't like. Are they straight-forward? Perhaps a bit too brazen, but honest? The point was, if you could find just one or two good qualities about that person to focus on you’d be more apt to get along with them. (And if that doesn’t work, then consider seeking new employment!)
Hearing of that plight hit me like a ton of bricks because I realized this person, like most of us, was letting someone else control their attitude, without their conscious permission. We’ve all had a boss we didn’t like; they were too gruff, too strict, too demanding, the list goes on and on. But we don’t always stop to think of why they are the way they are; they could just be misunderstood. This goes for anyone with a negative impact on our lives – bosses, clients, spouses or friends. Why do we let their moods affect us?
The answer in one word is – ego. Our ego tells us that we cannot be treated in such a way that it demeans us or makes us feel less worthy than we are. Even Dale Carnegie addresses these issues in his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People – a great read I picked up when I began interviewing local celebrities and high-ranking executives. “When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic,” Carnegie wrote. “We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.
“Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness,” Carnegie concluded.
As soon as we can find the good in everything, we shall always have a pristine happy-go-lucky attitude that shines through. If you can see the perfection in everything, you’ll never be disappointed.
Make it a game of sorts to try to find something good in everything that happens, just for one day. Maybe you lost a sale or had an important client reschedule, or perhaps it was just a flat tire. Hopefully you can say, “At least I wasn’t traveling 70 mph on the freeway when it happened” or “I’m glad he chose not to do business with us, I can’t stand his negativity anyway.”
And then smile, it goes a long way.