Attitude Changes Behaviour

Adam’s rugby squad were visited by a motivational speaker yesterday. Sports psychology is big industry now and with the Ulster Schools Cup starting next month, it was a very appropriate time for such a visit. So instead of charging about on a muddy pitch, thirty teenage boys sat in a classroom and heard the following message – Attitude Changes Behaviour. Three big words.

The speaker told him that if they took nothing else away from the session, to take those three words. He spoke about walking out onto the pitch, as opposed to running out. Not looking at the opposing team, but focusing on your own warm up. And how victory started in the mind, before a ball had been kicked or tackle had been made. The brain is the most important part of any professional athlete. It all starts there.

The same applies to any walk of life. It all starts in the head and, if we confront any situation in life with the wrong attitude, then we are destined for failure. If we adopt a negative attitude, then more than likely there is going to be a negative outcome. I know this better than most people. My default setting is pessimism. Where I am concerned, the glass is invariably half empty.

I struggle with self confidence issues. When you have been plagued with OCD for the majority of your life, it is hard to think otherwise. You are your own worst enemy, an ever decreasing circle of self pity and negativity. If I can’t even defeat the enemy in my head, then how can I be expected to overcome the myriad of challenges I face in the outside world.

For many years I gave up. I allowed the enemy to wash over me and waved the white flag of surrender. I ran away, I gave up on my dreams and aspirations. Alcohol became a refuge, as well as a plethora of other addictive, inappropriate behaviours. I was a mess without a message. There was no hope, no glimmer of light. Only self enforced darkness. I stood on the edge of the abyss, staring down.

The penny eventually dropped. I run marathons now, I’ve written a book. I hold down a challenging, responsible job and have a great family. I’m still wary of new situations and people but I’m trying to instil the same positive mindset in our kids. If nothing else, I want them to avoid the many pitfalls and hazards which I stumbled over. I want them to be better than me, they can be so much better. I want them to attain their full potential.

I don’t want them to be like me, charging around in my 40’s, playing catch up and trying to realise dreams I had 20 years ago. I constantly feel like I’ve wasted time, that I’m running out of time. There isn’t enough time. My every waking hour is taken up with this. I have the attitude now, but my worry is that it’s too late. No matter how hard I work now, it’s too late. This is a ripe feeding ground for my old friend; OCD. It watches. It lurks.

Attitude Changes Behaviour. A phrase I had never heard before the motivational speaker visited Adam’s squad, but one which deeply resonates with me today. I have changed and I am continuing to change. The attitude has been corrected and healthier behaviours installed. I just hope I haven’t left it too late. But at least the kids have a future now. If nothing else, i have achieved that. A legacy I can live with.

35 thoughts on “Attitude Changes Behaviour

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  1. Well, you know: the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is today.

    So, maybe you missed your chance in your 20s -but you can’t do anything about that now. You CAN ensure you don’t miss your chance in your 40s, right? 🙂

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  2. The world is filled with people who did not achieve their destiny until later in life. Kentucky Fried Chicken, Colonel Sanders, McDonald’s Ray Kroc, Peter Mark Roget who printed the first edition of the Thesaurus, Susan Boyle who has an amazing voice, Laura Ingalls Wilder who published her first book “Little House” at age 65. We have lost nothing on our way to greatness. Each experience, each event helps fine tune us for what we do. And attitude? Well, attitude IS EVERYTHING. Without a positive attitude and an expectation that we can achieve, survive and even thrive allows us to do just that.

    It is the basis for the book I wrote: Surviving Medical Mayhem – Laughing When It Hurts. And it has taken me 63 years to write and get it published. Never lose hope. I had to live those years so that i could write about those years. Each was a defining gift to me and hopefully to those who read it.

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  3. Wow, I like that phrase! Attitude Changes Behavior. I’m going to have to write that down and keep it nearby. I know that I’m struggling to work on this book of mine but having the right attitude is key. If I’m negative all the time then I’m going to produce negativity. I’m learning to lean on God and trust in Him throughout this process. 🙂 It’s going to take some time getting this book together but I know I can do it.

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  4. My mother always was a human dynamo. Every obstacle was put there just so she could tackle and destroy it. But she always saw what was missing, not what was accomplished. That was her driving force…for perfection. And she was pretty amazing at a lot of things. What that instilled in me was seeing the world as the proverbial glass half full. My default position is possibility. So, this is the result of her influence even though she came at it differently. I’m sure your children are reaping the benefits of your perseverance. They’re not experiencing what drives you internally, just how you show up. I’m forever grateful to my mother for instilling my driving force, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

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  5. I loved your post. In sports, attitude is everything. It’s often more mental than physical. In day-to-day life, attitude and our perception affects everything and everyone we come in contact with. It shapes whether we are proactive or reactive. Proactive seems to generate the best results.

    That being said, experience has taught me that my attitude will change if, and only if, my actions change. My elders always told me that I can’t think my way into right acting, but I can always act my way into right thinking. It seems to be the whole “chicken and the egg” thing at times!

    Thank you for your posts. I look forward to reading them each morning.

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  6. It’s never too late! I understand what you’re saying. Sometimes I get worried my life is moving too quickly and I havent done enough. But don’t believe those lies the enemy is quick to give. They thwart you from moving on in your purpose and all that God is doing! Think of it like the marathon. There is a lot of mental work in the training and running of it. You are training your mind each day to refuse to believe lies, and be filled with truth so you can improve and run the race well.
    Joel 2:25-32

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  7. Yes, I like that. At CBT they teach to “Follow the plan not the feeling.” As in, even when you’re feeling rubbish, don’t give into it and drink/hide/run away, instead, stick to the plan of the day (be that exercise, work, writing etc etc). I know they’re all right, but the last few days (and completely due to my own lack of forethought and organisation) I’ve been low and it’s so wretchedly hard to see the light and pull oneself out of it. Sorry, grumble and vent over … forgive me.

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  8. Best legacy you can give your kids is that they CAN – they need to set the mindset. Sure, there are some things they aren’t going to realistically accomplish (swimming through lava – the visibility is terrible). Self assess, and move forward, just as you have.

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  9. I’ve not commented for a while – sorry! – as I’ve not been reading many blogs. This post resonated with me – I’m struggling with anxiety issues brought on by hormonetherapy medication. I know my anxiety is chemically induced, but I still allow myself to be drawn into it. It’s a hard thing, but I imagine if I could just *get on with stuff* it would be less worrying. I look around my tip of a study and know I should tidy it up, but it’s a bit too much to face at the moment…so I carry on drawing!

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  10. I found this post so interesting. Something I learned in college in my social psych class was “Attitude follows action.” I suppose both things can be true, but I have found “attitude follows action” to be tremendously helpful over the years in dealing with depression.!

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  11. Unless you are extremely lucky, most of your life growing up you were told no. When you got past that early stage you were told to try. You never try something. If you try you will never succeed. You must approach each task with I will do. Accept nothing less from yourself and try it over if you do not succeed. Telling yourself to try prejudges your effort. It says its okay to fail because after all, I tried. We face negative appraisals more than enough in our lives. I am 63 and raising a granddaughter the right way. We have learned with our first four boys through enough mistakes that doing it right now is a no brainer. Positive reinforcement, praise, and attitude make or breaks all of us… Thanks for your post.

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