My good friend and colleague Brad Britton posted the cover photo I used for this blog with some wise words:
“Going through a day with a poor attitude is like driving through town with a flat tire. It’s a really great idea to stop and change it. And if you don’t know how, call somebody to help – even if it costs a few bucks.”
The concept shared here resonated with me on multiple levels. First off, the preposterous nature of attempting to continue driving on a flat tire reminded me of a story from my own life. I was 16 years old and heading home from my job at a movie theater. Going around a turn, I allowed the car to venture a little too far to the right, and I hit the curb, blowing out one of my tires. It was very late at night, I was probably tired, and I was less than a mile from my home, so I proceeded to drive home. By the time I got home, not only did I need a new tire, but I had also ruined that wheel. I turned a small cost into a much larger cost by not addressing the problem when it became obvious.
In the quote above, Brad relates this sort of incident to the concept of going through your day with a poor attitude. When we continue “driving on” in life while our mental or emotional state is not right, we run the risk of making problems even worse. It’s so important to stop and fix it. But first, we have to be able to recognize when our attitude needs fixing. Here are some signs:
Frustration is born out of a feeling of a lack of control. We most often become frustrated when something isn’t going our way, and we don’t know how to improve it. One key to moving away from frustration is curiosity. Jim Rohn teaches “Turn frustration into fascination.” When we become curious about our circumstances, first off, our perspective positively affects our emotional state. But more importantly, through curiosity, we seek answers that are in our control to implement to improve our circumstances. We are empowering ourselves to control our own emotions.
When we can feel ourselves getting angry, this is a critical moment to “pull over and fix the tire.” The times in life when anger is truly warranted are very few and far between. Yet, many people find themselves succumbing to this emotion on a near daily basis. The main key to solving this problem is a deep understanding of its effects. Consider how YOU feel when someone reacts angrily towards you. Do you immediately heed their words and consider what you might be able to do better? No. Instead, most people put their guard up even more and even fight back in some cases. One of my lifetime mentors said this to me just the other day: “ANGER is one letter off of DANGER.” Remember that quote the next time you feel yourself getting angry with someone.
3) Taking things personally
This is the third sign of a poor attitude, and it’s a difficult tendency to get past. Most people see corrective feedback or input from others as an attack on them personally. But the reality is that without receiving feedback from the world around us, none of us would ever learn or evolve as quickly. Remember that everything that another person says or does is a reflection of their own personal view. It’s not about you; it’s just them sharing their perspective. You can agree or disagree, but at least choose to receive the information you get from the world without allowing it to make you feel bad about yourself. Corrective feedback is a major part of how we all learn in life.
As Brad’s quote referenced, sometimes people need help to overcome life’s challenges. Reading more, listening to educational and positive audio material, and spending more time around encouraging people really makes a difference. Oftentimes, it’s wise to get a mentor, coach, or counselor, even if you have to pay for it. Just be sure that you are putting yourself in a position to succeed mentally and emotionally, and learn to catch yourself in those times when you are continuing to drive on a flat tire.
I’ll always remember some words I heard from a speaker at an event many years ago, who said simply: “Do more of what works, and less of what doesn’t.” Think about how this applies in your daily life.
Having 4 properly inflated tires works.
Driving on an unprotected rim doesn’t.
Responding carefully works.
Reacting angrily doesn’t.
Accepting the feedback of others as an opportunity for greater self-awareness works.
Taking everything personally and shutting out feedback doesn’t.
Addressing problems when they become obvious works.
Pressing on in the hopes that it won’t matter doesn’t.
Taking on life’s daily challenges with a positive spirit works.
Leaving ourselves in a poor state of mind doesn’t.
Take this all to heart, and use these ideas to help you live a more peaceful and influential life!
Brad Britton has been a long-time friend, colleague, and mentor of mine. To hear a conversation with Brad on the Changing Lives Selling Knives podcast, click here.