It is recorded that it was Confucius (circa 551 – 479 BC) that was the first to state:
“The man who said I can, and the man who said I can’t, shall undoubtedly both be right”
And far more recently in the mid 1920’s when Henry Ford added to this by stating:
“For the man who said I can, shall find a way. Whilst the man who said I can’t, already has a thousand excuses”
So today, I want to help you by examining your Mental Attitude, to understand why it is so important and how to maximise your potential simply by changing your mind!
What is Mental Attitude?
Various medical dictionaries define a Mental Attitude as: a complex mental state involving beliefs and feelings and values and dispositions to act in certain ways. And this dates to a phrase used repeatedly by one of my favourite authors: Napoleon Hill, in the infamous book (and on what I have based my business) ‘Think and grow rich’.
Throughout the book it discusses the importance of positive thinking as a contributing factor of success. Napoleon, along with W. Clement Stone, founder of Combined Insurance, later wrote Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude, defines positive mental attitude as comprising the ‘plus’ characteristics represented by words as faith, integrity, hope, optimism, courage, initiative, generosity, tolerance, tact, kindliness and good common sense.
It is that philosophy which asserts that having an optimistic outlook in every situation in your life attracts positive changes and increases achievement. Those who practice a state of mind that continues to seek, find and execute ways to win, or find a desirable outcome, regardless of the circumstances. This concept is the opposite of negativity, defeatism, and hopelessness. Optimism and hope are vital to the development of PMA.
Optimism, Pessimism, Pragmatism, Realism – Which one are you?
Think of a time when things could have gone two ways for you. Maybe it was taking an exam, passing your driving test, or making that first ever sales call! Go back, and think about your attitude, your belief’s about self, your mental state at that time.
Were you confident or were you nervous? Were you weighing up the odds or did you have a ‘what will be will be’ attitude? How did that impact the outcome?
Your mental STATE determines your outcome
I want to share with you a very quick example as to exactly how real this really is. On March 23rd 2020, the Prime Minister announced to the UK that owing to the rapid spread of the Corona virus, he was forced to placed the entire country into ‘Lockdown’ in order to get the spread of the virus under control to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed with new patients.
How did you feel? What were some of the questions and considerations that you asked yourself at that time? What ‘state’ were you in when you first learnt this?
Within 2 weeks I saw entire supermarkets desecrated, as if people had been on a wild rampage to ‘stock up’ on things like toilet paper and dried pasta! A clear sign that there were many who’s mental attitude was one of fear, uncertainty, trepidation…..and selfishness! It was on April 25th that I posted on my social media:
“People shall be remembered long after a vaccine is found, for their actions through this crisis”
You see, whilst many thoughts only of themselves, there were others who were rallying around to help others. Food banks, shopping deliveries to the vulnerable, and when Annemarie Plas, a Dutch lady living in London who started the ‘Clap for Carers’ movement that led to a country applauding the work of front line staff throughout this crisis.
But I want to go even further and share the story of 2 local business owners and their attitude to the crisis. Both own eateries, one a Gastro pub, the other a delicatessen, both on the same street, less than 100 metres apart, close to where I live.
When the country went into lockdown, both businesses were forced to close. And yet, at the time of writing this, one remains closed (and very unlikely to ever open again) whilst the other has more customers than ever before! – You see, whilst they both had the same opportunity (to have a rapid re-think on the means of executing their business plan in a way that was acceptable under the new working conditions) only one took up the mantle and pivoted their business. The Gastro pub was a great fun place to eat and hang out. It had a loyal following of ‘regulars’ and throughout both summer and winder was always a lively place to be. On the other hand, the delicatessen was relatively a new addition to the high street. It hadn’t been open that long before lockdown (owned by 2 polish brothers) and was still building up their reputation and following.
I am not sure what will ever become of the pub, whether it will be turned into a shop or maybe flats? Or whether the polish brothers have grown big enough to expand and take it on as a bistro! You see, it wasn’t loyal customers, and length of operation that will help survive, it is a business owner that responds positively to whatever circumstances they are presented and turns their deli into a freshly made home delivery service!
And there are countless other examples I read about EVERY SINGLE DAY, where the attitude of the business owner determines the outcome!
How many times have you been running late, become a little stressed only to find every traffic light on red! As apposed to driving into a busy car park, knowing there will be a space for you, only to find someone reversing out to leave, directly outside where you want to be?
Here are eight tips to help you make that choice:
Remember that you are powerful
Most of the time we have no idea what we are supposed to be doing, or who we are supposed to be imitating. I say “imitating” because this is what we do: We conform to the external environment.
We play roles and cover up our true selves by identifying with “things” that end up defining who we think we are. I’m a doctor, a salesperson, a secretary, a lawyer; I’m sad, happy, lonely, or miserable. I’m angry, jealous, afraid, and I can’t help it—it’s who I am.
The truth is, though, we are none of those things. They are symptoms of the sleepwalking disease. You are more important than any label. We are not our professions. We are not our feelings. We are not our circumstances. We are not even our mind.
What we are is far greater, far superior, far more important, and far more mysterious than our conceptual mind tries to define. This is why we are far more powerful than we think we are.
Choose to embrace life
Let go and embrace the moment, whether it contains an obstacle or an opportunity. Stop fussing over trivial matters and start focusing on what’s really important to you.
Don’t go through life expecting things to change. Life becomes hard and unfair when we decide to complain about things rather than trying to change them ourselves. Wake up to the truth that life is not a practice-run.
Be bold and courageous, and make decisions that benefit your growth. Put yourself on your imaginary death-bed and realize that time stands still for no one. Start as soon as possible to make any necessary changes you may need to.
Take the first step before more time gradually passes by while you stand still stagnating. Your choice. Your life. Your responsibility. Your power.
Realize that you get to control your reactions
We create our outside reality by the thoughts and beliefs we maintain about life in general. What we believe in our inner world, we see in our outer world—not the other way around.
We all have problems, and we’re often tested by circumstances outside of our control. Even though you may not be in control of what’s going on outside of you, you most definitely can control your reaction to those situations.
We have the power because our inner world (cause) affects the influence we allow the outer world (effect) to have on us. So next time you hear somebody mention that you have great personal power, know they are 100% correct. You have more control than you think.
Know that no one is better qualified
We place far too much emphasis on other people’s opinions about us, often to the exclusion of our own. This takes away from our own personal power. No matter what anybody says about you, it doesn’t hold any significance to who you truly are unless you identify or agree with them.
Stop identifying with other people’s opinions and become aware of how you see yourself. Nobody knows you better than you do. Never accept another person’s reality as your own. Always believe that you can achieve anything you put your mind to. And, most importantly, never let another person’s opinion of you affect what you believe about yourself.
Believe that you are more than enough
If you have to compare yourself to someone else, let it be a person who is less fortunate, and let it be a lesson to learn just how abundant your life truly is. It’s just a matter of perspective.
You may find that you are not entirely grateful for what you possess. You may believe that you need more than you have right now to be happy. If this is the case, then you are absolutely right—you will need more, and you will continue to need more.
This cycle will perpetuate as long as your mind believes it to be true. If you focus on what you have, and not on what you lack, you will always have enough, because you will always be enough.
You have arrived. Everything you need is right here. Cut out the distractions, open your eyes, and see that you already have everything in your possession to be happy, loved, and fulfilled.
It’s not out there. It never was out there. It’s in the same place it was since the day you were born. It’s just been covered up by all the external things you have identified with over the years.
Be yourself. Love yourself completely and accept everything that you are. You are beautiful. Believe it, and most importantly, remind yourself often.
If someone cuts us off in traffic or skips the queue at our local cinema, we may feel our blood pressure begin to rise and feel the need to react in a negative manner. We get uptight with other people’s actions, and in the end we punish ourselves for their bad behaviour.
We end up losing control over our own actions because of the way other people act. But we are responsible for our own action, regardless of how rude other people may act. If it’s hard to stay focused, remember: you are the one who loses in the end, if you lose this lesson.
We know life is about the journey and not the arrival. We don’t need to arrive if we accept that we are already here.
Be content with where you are today and don’t make the mistake of putting off being happy because you are waiting for the right moment to shine. Sometimes it takes a conscious effort to enjoy the journey.
Not everyone woke up this morning and not everyone will go to bed tonight. Life has no guarantees. Every minute you are living is a blessing that has to be experienced in the moment. It’s not always easy, but it’s always an option—a choice. Your choice.
What does this mean for business?
How many times have you been told (or completed) a SWOT analysis? I’m sure you are familiar with the phrase, first devised by Albert Humphrey at the Stamford Research Institute in the 1960’s.
A framework used to evaluate a company’s competitive position and to develop strategic planning. SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) assesses internal and external factors, as well as current and future potential.
And so, why would I strongly recommend NOT to use such a framework? Because the mental attitude in conducting one in such a way is fundamentally flawed!
How ‘excited’ and optimistic are you likely to be if you take time to properly conduct a SWOT analysis, when it instructs you to start by looking at your (and the businesses) strengths to THEN identify and list all of your (and the businesses) weaknesses!. Likewise, you spend time brainstorming, researching, and considering future opportunities only to then list all the potential threats. The finished document is more likely to fill you with fear and dread and reduce the chance of you ever making any real progress, because we have spent time building ourselves up, only to immediately knock ourselves back down!
However, before we completely disengage from this process, and write off the important work of Mr Humphrey. Instead, simply turn it around! From here on in, in fact; even more than that. I want you to finish reading this article, and then go back to the last SWOT analysis you carried out and do it again use the TOWS framework!
Start by considering all the potential threats to both you and the business. Do some research, give real consideration, form a long and detailed list. Now, begin to identify where there are opportunities? What could you do, to eradicate the threats? That might be taking your business in a different direction, appealing to a different target audience? Changing the method in which you conduct your business? But create a long list of opportunities that you could do.
Now move to weaknesses, what are both you and the businesses current weaknesses. What would you have to be mindful of, consider, what risks are there to do the things on your opportunities list? List them all, give real consideration to each and every one. Now you can establish both you and the businesses strengths what CAN you do that your good at and will have positive results for you, the business and the people you serve?
We may have used the same framework, but simply by turning it around, we have amended a negative mental attitude to a positive mental attitude, and magnified the likelihood of massive success!
And just before you go and apply this, there is one more thing: Where you place the apostrophe!
Remember Confucius quote from earlier? The only different between can and can’t was an apostrophe. So whilst your removing it from the word can’t….. reinsert it into the word impossible, and turn it into I’m possible.
Drop me a comment below and let me know what you ARE now going to do?
you might also wish to read: