There's an old saying that goes, "Your attitude determines your latitude."
Your latitude is your scope for freedom of action or thought, and your attitude, whether positive or negative, has a significant impact on its range.
Being positive or negative are habits of thought which help determine how you feel and, in turn, that significantly influence what happens in your life.
You have the power to decide if your mindset is positive or negative.
Your thoughts create your attitude, and the beautiful thing is that you get to choose your thoughts. You are the architect – and editor – of your mindset. You determine how you will perceive and process life's situations and events.
What is Attitude Anyway?
Attitudes can be described as evaluations of ideas, events, objects, or people – including ourselves.
Attitudes are typically either positive or negative, but they can also sometimes be unsure. For example, we may have mixed feelings about a particular issue, idea, situation, or person.
Our attitude helps determine pretty much everything in our lives - what we consume, how we show up in the world, how we respond to others, what our surroundings look and feel like, what we allow, the way we handle money, and how we succeed in achieving our dreams.
Every attitude has three components represented in the "ABC Model" of attitudes: A for affective, B for behavioral, and C for cognitive.
Although every attitude has these three components, any particular perspective can be based on one element more than another. Let's use money as an example:
- Affective element: this involves your feelings and emotions about the attitude object. For example: "Money is dirty, evil, or hard to come by."
- Behavioral element: the way the attitude we have influences how we act or behave. For example: "I can never get out of debt anyway, so I might as well go ahead and buy this."
- Cognitive element: this involves a person's belief about an attitude object. For example: "I believe money is easy to make but impossible to keep."
So How Can You Change Your Attitude and Thus Expand Your Latitude?
We can do many things to create or edit our thoughts and effectively create the direction and range of our lives. Here are a couple of powerful ways to change your attitude and expand your latitude.
"Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become a habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny." — Lao Tzu.
Most of us think of positivity when we think of affirmations – but affirmations can be harmful too. In fact, most of the assertions that go unnoticed in our heads on the daily tend to be negative. Research done by the National Science Foundation, of the 12,000 to 50,000 thoughts we have per day, roughly 80% of our thoughts are negative. Even more concerning is that 95% were the same repetitive thoughts as the day before.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapists call these Automatic Negative Thoughts (ATMs).
Of course, shifting perspective may be easier said than done. It takes a conscious effort - it requires practice.
Here's an exercise you might want to try. Write down your more frequently occurring negative thoughts. Things like:
- Why is this so hard?
- I hate my life.
- I'll never get out of debt.
- Ugh, they drive me crazy.
- I failed, and I'm so disappointed in myself; I'm such a loser.
- I hate my body.
- My partner is so controlling; I feel suffocated.
Then, the column next to it– or on a separate sheet of paper – write down a positive thought or aspect of that thought, feeling, person, or situation. For example:
- I am capable of many things. I bet I can figure this out too.
- There are at least a few things about my life that I love and appreciate. They are … (this could be anything: healthy body, the connection you have with loved ones, the beautiful view you have from your kitchen window, your art, hobbies, or job.
- I once had the good credit and financial habits to qualify to get into debt – I can probably use those same money skills to get out of debt if I apply myself.
- Even though they drive me crazy, they make me laugh, or they are kind, or (fill in the blank- I know you can think of something).
- I may have failed, but at least I tried, and I learned …
- My body is healthy, strong, serves me in so many ways.
- My partner tries to control me because they love me and care about my well-being. I bet I could have a conversation with them about showing that love and care differently because I know they want what's best for me.
With practice, whenever you find yourself getting caught up in a negative thought, you'll automatically shift that to the positive. There is always a silver lining. All you have to do is notice and appreciate it.
Make meditation a part of your daily routine. When you wake up in the morning, start your day by sitting in quiet reflection, perhaps laced with a bit of gratitude and a few positive mantras. You don't need to spend more than five or 10 minutes meditating – but you certainly can if that's what gets your day off to a good start.
Likewise, end our day in sitting silence. Take a few deep breaths, give some thought to the way your day went, express some gratitude for all that went well, and dive in. I like to light some candles and put on some soothing music when I meditate. Some terrific apps are available that include background music, timers, and soft, zen-like chimes to let you know when to begin and when you should come back from bliss.
Meditation is my last thing-of-the-day activity - the thing that helps me wind down and hit the sack in a peaceful, relaxed frame of mind.
And, it makes a world of difference to my attitude throughout the day and how well I sleep, which, let's face it, is just a super bonus.
Adjust Your Attitude, Expand Your Latitude
One of the first things women do when they step inside the School of Self-Image is defining their “Extraordinary Goal.”
This is the kind of goal that doesn't just change your life — it changes you.
When paired with the right attitude, you might find that your dreams are not only attainable, but they are inevitable and much closer to fruition than you think.
Some women tell me that it's hard to follow their dreams.
I believe it's harder not to.
A bit of a catch 22, when you follow your dreams, your attitude lifts toward the positive, thus expanding your latitude by raising you higher and expanding your horizons.
When you don't follow your dreams, it doesn't feel good. As a result, negativity seeps into your attitude, thereby limiting the scope of what you can accomplish in life.
Latitude is all about attitude. Strive to elevate yours, and you'll be blown away by the results.
The Self-Image Manifesto
You’re Invited To Live An Extraordinary Life!
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