Changes in Attitude (And Latitude)

by | Feb 15, 2022 | Observations, Peter's Voice

What is an attitude? Per Merriam-Webster it is,

1) the way you think and feel about someone or something
2) a feeling or way of thinking that affects a person’s behavior

The first definition is more immediate. How you feel about someone right now? It’s somewhat fleeting and relatively easy to change. Your attitude towards something or someone could quickly change based on new information.

The second definition is longer term. It’s more about the overall energy you bring to life and it can color all of your experiences.

We all have an attitude, a general way of looking at life. A good analogy is colored glasses. If you wear very dark shades, the world doesn’t look as bright and joyful to you as it does to someone not wearing them. And if you wear yellow or rose-tinted glasses, your outlook can get an extra injection of energy.

While you’re wearing your glasses (and feeling your attitude), it’s easy to forget you have them on. I remember when I struggled with depression, I didn’t notice I was in my funk until something or someone shook me awake. Things just got darker and darker, a little bit at a time until I was full-on depressed.

A good way to get a sense of your attitude is to ask yourself a few simple questions:

  1. How do I feel right now?
  2. How do I feel about my future?
  3. And for both of these questions, is it how I want to feel?

It’s the third question that really matters. If what you are feeling and how you want to feel is not in alignment, it’s a good sign to stop and ask yourself ‘why.’

I’ve thought a lot about how to change your attitude. One way is to follow the advice of Jimmy Buffett in the Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude, and move to someplace more aligned with who you are. But, it really doesn’t take a physical move, just a mental one.

I’d like to say it’s just a choice – and while it is – it’s also much more than that. You can’t instantly change the way you think of things because it’s not quite as easy as switching a pair of sunglasses.

It is a combination of things. It is partly who you are as an individual. You were born with a certain energy and that is your natural, default set of feelings. Of course, another part is how you were raised, the attitudes of the people you were around and learned from. 

To make a change later in your life requires some work to overcome years of habits and beliefs you’ve developed over time. Start with asking yourself the 3 questions to check in with yourself to understand where you are at any given point. This is where you’ll discover areas that need some attention and provide clues to what your next steps might be.

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