Attitude Makes a Huge Difference
Posted on Thursday July 29, 2010 at 02:14PM
Attitude Makes a Huge Difference
Evaluated Feelings + Beliefs + Behaviors = Attitude
I’m facing the chicken or the egg dilemma. Which comes first: positive attitude towards the job, or job satisfaction? If I get up for work with an attitude that this is going to be a yucky day: construction noise is going to be loud again, problems are going to crop up so that I can’t work on long-term projects, the view out the window is going to be overcast; then, generally speaking, I will have a day in which my job satisfaction will be pretty low. I’ve found the opposite to be true as well. When I come in to work feeling that I’m on top of things, believing that nothing will crop up that I won’t be able to handle, and that I will be speaking with some of my favorite library managers that day – then I tend to be pretty satisfied with my job: a self-fulfilling prophesy. That’s attitude.
But could it work the other way around? Could satisfaction with my job buoy my evaluation of the situation, affect my emotions and therefore my beliefs about the job and my day? Say my job offers me a balance between tasks that I am comfortable with, and tasks that challenge my intellect (and generally it does). I have autonomy, purpose, variety, and great people to work with. If I recognize these factors (evaluation), believe that these are good things, and therefore walk around with a smile on my face (behavior), then job satisfaction has contributed to my positive attitude.
You know those people who are constantly cheerful, think the glass is half full, and encourage you that a smile will make everything ok? Generally I want to slug them. Although I’m not a fan of the Pollyanna positivity that’s so sickly sweet I feel a cavity coming on just thinking about it, I will admit, grudgingly, that they are on the right track. The attitude with which you approach something contributes to how smoothly it goes. You have chosen the job you are doing. If it’s making you miserable, stop and evaluate: is it the job itself, or your attitude towards it? Can you tick off all the boxes of criteria that add up to job satisfaction for you? Have you been able to separate the demands of home and work? If so, and you’re still unhappy, do an attitude check.
Sometimes the above analysis is sufficient to help you see that your work life is pretty good. The realization should make you more cheerful, which affects your behavior. Granted, this article just scratches the surface. There may be many underlying reasons for not having a positive attitude that I can’t focus on here due to space restrictions and lack of medical training or a degree in psychology. But I do have a challenge for you: plan a day of excessive positive attitude. Put on your favorite outfit, preferably something with a lot of colour. Post sticky notes with happy faces on your bathroom mirror and practice smiling. Wear the best smile for the rest of the day. It will feel really forced and really fake at first. Don’t give up! Smile at the grocery store, the post office, while paying bills. Cheerfully greet everyone first, before they can greet you, and see how many respond. If they don’t, that’s their problem, not yours. If you feel the smile droop, push it back up, using your fingers if you have to. If something goes wrong, try smiling through it and try again. Saying oops with a giggle helps. Whatever you do, don’t stop smiling all day. Then evaluate.
It’s not easy, and people will wonder what you’re up to (or if you’re smoking something, or laughing at them). Family members may show concern for your sanity, particularly if you haven’t smiled in a while. Life is beautiful. If yours is not, change what you can change, and learn to deal with what you can’t change in a positive way. Who knows, maybe the one day of excessive positive attitude will feel so good that you’ll want to continue. It may even become a life-long habit. Good luck.
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Author: Northern Lights Library System