Your Attitude Determines Your Outcome

Your Attitude Determines Your Outcome: Choose your attitude. Choose your outcome. How can you change your usual outcomes with a different attitude?

Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. – Viktor Frankl  [Tweet this quote]

This quote was written by a man in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany during WWII.  It is believed that this is what saved his life – his attitude.  His family was murdered.  He was stripped of everything he had and physically abused and tortured.  Would you be able to maintain a positive attitude in those circumstances?  If your desired outcome were simply to walk away from the situation with your life, could you do it?  There were many in his same situation who couldn’t.

Think of the last situation in your life that didn’t go as you would have liked.  Before you jump to blaming other people or aspects of the situation for why it went that way, keep an open mind.  Rewind the whole thing and think about your attitude at the very beginning, before any of it even started.

How did you feel about the people involved?  How had you felt about similar situations?  What preconceived notions did you bring into the situation?  How did you feel physically at that time?

All that created your attitude before the situation ever began.  The situation only brought out in you what was already there.

Different Attitude, Different Outcome

Let’s say that you had another fight with your partner.  Rewind.  Were any of the following present before the fight began?

  • Were you hungry or tired?
  • How had your day gone?
  • How long had it been since you were intimate with your partner?
  • How did you feel about the topic that your partner brought up, before it was brought up?

Scenario 1:  It was the end of a long day.  You’re exhausted.  Your boss was on your case all day.  You feel beat up and dejected.  You just wanted to get home, have a drink and vent to your partner.  When you got home your partner asked if you had run an errand on your way home.  You said no because of the kind of day you had.  Your partner (who had a day similar to yours) gets on your case about how irresponsible you are or how you always forget things (or some similar hot button that lights you up).  The fight begins.

Scenario 2: It was the end of a long day.  Your boss was on your case all day.  You realize that your boss has a lot of personal issues so you didn’t let him get to you.  You know your work is top quality, regardless of how he sees it.  Mid-day you were feeling a bit run down.  Instead of plodding through to get more work done and exhausting yourself in the process, you chose to take a short walk to get your blood pumping and refresh yourself.  When you got home your partner asked if you had run an errand on your way home.  You said no because you forgot.  Your partner (who had a bad day) gets on your case about how irresponsible you are and how you always forget things.  You realize that he/she had a rough day and is only speaking from that vantage point.  You apologize for forgetting and offer to make it up somehow.  You offer him/her a drink and ask them to tell you about their day.  They vent.  You don’t take anything personally.  You’re both relaxed and happy.

In both scenarios, the same external circumstances existed and yet your attitude and your resulting actions created a very different outcome.

You See What You Think You’ll See

What is your general attitude about life?  Are you a generally positive or negative person?  Do you think people are out to get you or do you think people generally have your best interest at heart?  Are you lucky or does the world conspire against you?  Do you have to fight to get your fair share or do you think there’s plenty to go around?

You tend to get out of life what you expect.

The same environment exists around you, regardless of how you choose to see it.  You make ongoing choices about how you interpret your environment. Your interpretations are based on your attitude.

Like the saying goes:  Change your attitude, change your life.  [Tweet this]

Simple Steps to Change Your Outcome

Your Attitude Determines Your Outcome: Find out how to change unwanted outcomes with a new attitude.When you wake up in the morning, as you’re beginning your morning routine, stop to notice how you’re feeling.

Sometimes I’ll wake up in a foul mood for no apparent reason.  As I start to make my tea, I’ll notice that I’m walking around with a furrowed brow and a general negative attitude.  I may have already said something snippy to one of my kids.

As soon as I notice this, I ask myself what the problem is.  If there’s something bothering me (usually there isn’t), I will focus on how I can address the problem quickly.  When there’s no reason for me to be in a bad mood, I stop and take a few deep breaths while I smile a big, whole-face smile.  I relax my jaw and my shoulders and I hold that positive physical state for at least 30 seconds.  While I’m doing this, I run through a list of some of the many things I’m grateful for.  And, to top it off, I remind myself that my family wouldn’t want to be around a negative me.  They don’t need that in their lives.

With that very brief practice, I have turned my entire day around.

In the past I would let the bad mood permeate my day.  I felt like there was nothing I could do about it.  It’s just the way I was.  My friends and family were subjected to my venom and they didn’t understand why.  And then I got angry and resentful when they didn’t want to do things for me or treat me nicely.

Looking at this now, I can see how ridiculous it all was – how deranged my thinking was.  At the time, I wondered what was wrong with everyone else.  Now I know that I’m the one with the issue.  I take responsibility for it and do something about it.  I don’t expect everyone else to change to make my life better.  That will never happen.

Repeat this practice of noticing your mental, emotional and physical state throughout the day.  Notice how you’re allowing it to impact your attitude.  Notice how your attitude is affecting your day.

Having a late afternoon slump or bout of low blood sugar?  What’s your attitude about this?

  • It doesn’t matter what I eat.  I just have to keep going:  Coffee and a candy bar = instant surge of energy with a crash a couple hours later and feeling like crap the rest of the day.  Cranky after dealing with traffic.  Snap at your family when you get home.  Veg out in front of the TV.
  • My body is a temple and deserves respect.  What I eat affects how I feel:   Protein bar or fruit with peanut butter and water = sustained energy and feeling good until dinner.  Happily sing out loud in your car while driving through traffic (energizes you).  Happy to see your family.  Have plenty of energy to play with your kids before dinner.

Two different attitudes with very different outcomes.

Choose your attitude.  Choose your outcome.

How can you change your usual outcomes with a different attitude?

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39 Responses to Your Attitude Determines Your Outcome

    Commented:  09/10/2014 at 4:56 pm

    Hi, a very informative post. A positive attitude is something everyone can work on, it gives us the lighter side of life, a brighter perspective and attracts good results. Thanks for sharing a great post.
    sherill recently posted..Join Our Power Team and Step Into Your Best FutureMy Profile

    Keith Clarke - Life Coach X
    Commented:  07/19/2014 at 1:44 am

    Hi Paige,

    I love the idea of a mood check first thing in the morning. The act of facing it, naming it and bringing it to full awareness can help us avoid auto-pilot responses. I think I am going to try that one 🙂

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  07/21/2014 at 6:38 pm

      It can save your day, Keith. So often we don’t even notice our own bad mood or, if we notice it, we don’t think we can do anything about it. Then we inflict our bad mood on all the unwitting souls around us and wonder why they have a problem with us.

      Notice how you feel and, if you feel it’s necessary, change your thoughts and feelings to align with how you want to feel. It can change your life.
      Paige Burkes recently posted..My Life Sucks – Now What Do I Do?My Profile

    Paige Burkes
    Commented:  01/24/2013 at 7:37 pm

    Exactly Patricia! Society tells us to go, go, go! It’s like we’re on a treadmill and someone keeps turning up the speed while we’re not looking. We think we’re supposed to keep keeping up when the best choice is to simply step off the damned machine. It’s counter-intuitive but the best way to stay ahead is to slow down. Thanks so much for your comments!
    Paige Burkes recently posted..Not Doing What You Love Is Literally Killing YouMy Profile

    Patricia Anderson
    Commented:  01/24/2013 at 2:35 pm

    I love Victor Franki’s quote and it is unbelievable that he wrote that in the middle of his suffering. Wow! Thanks for sharing this to us Paige.

    Stepping back and taking time to breathe is an awesome process to get mind clarity, Sometimes when everything is all over us, it can be quite heavy and stopping for a while may not do harm. Clearing our thoughts can give us the right direction to pursue what we desire to do that can lead us to the discovery of our life purpose.
    Patricia Anderson recently posted..Live Your Life Purpose: Angie’s StoryMy Profile

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  5. Cathy Taughinbaugh | Treatment Talk
    Commented:  03/30/2012 at 11:42 pm

    Hi Paige,

    We do make decisions everyday about our attitude and how we interact with those around us. Eating the right food is definitely helpful. Finding that inner happiness to sustain you helps as well. Love the Viktor Frankl quote. Have not read his book, but will do that soon. Sounds like a powerful message. It quickly puts our problems in perspective. Thanks for sharing a great post.
    Cathy Taughinbaugh | Treatment Talk recently posted..The 7 Links & 7 Random Facts ChallengeMy Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/31/2012 at 7:04 am

      Thanks Cathy! Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning is a short book packed with great stuff. I highly recommend it!

      Yes, we have the opportunity for many more choices in a day than most people think. Imagine if we paused for a half second to think about everything we were about to say or do in one day. I think the results would be very surprising!

      Thank you so much!
      Paige Burkes recently posted..How To Prepare For Your DayMy Profile

    Commented:  03/30/2012 at 5:27 pm

    Love this, Paige! I’ll always remember the story of Stephen R. Covey on the train when a father and his young children board and sit with him. The father sat there quietly as his kids grew increasingly obnoxious. They were loud and rude, pulling at other people’s newspapers and the like. Covey was growing increasingly indignant when he finally spoke up and asked if the father shouldn’t take a little more responsibility for his kids who were allowed to run wild disturbing fellow commuters. The father seemed to snap out of a trance and said, “Oh, sorry. I suppose I should do something. I guess they just don;t know how to handle the news. You see, we just came from the hospital where their mother just died.”

    Covey goes on to explain how his attitude completely changed from judgement and anger to compassion and service. The power we have to interpret life allows us very real influence over the attitudes we possess at any given time.

    Thanks for this awesome article, Paige. Important stuff here!
    KenWert@MeantToBeHappy recently posted..Stand and be Counted, Part I: Are You Standing on the Sidelines of Your Own Life?My Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/30/2012 at 5:58 pm

      I remember that Stephen Covey story very well. We usually see what we want to see and judge it if it’s different. Unless we actually live in someone else’s shoes, we have no idea what’s going on with them. It’s always a safe bet to come from an attitude of compasion and service as our default instead of judgment. We and the world would be much happier!

      Thanks so much for the great story and comment Ken!!
      Paige Burkes recently posted..How To Prepare For Your DayMy Profile

    Bobbi Emel
    Commented:  03/30/2012 at 3:10 pm

    Good stuff, Paige! I love the freedom that comes along with learning that we can actually choose what and how we want to feel.
    Bobbi Emel recently posted..The courage to be (self) compassionateMy Profile

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  8. Galen Pearl
    Commented:  03/28/2012 at 6:25 pm

    It’s amazing how we can change our reality with a simple shift in attitude.
    Galen Pearl recently posted..Radical ForgivenessMy Profile

    Commented:  03/28/2012 at 4:52 am

    Frankl is right, we are the masters of our own emotions and actions.

    Nancy Shields
    Commented:  03/27/2012 at 3:41 pm

    Wonderful post and writing Paige.

    It’s all about perspective and attitudes in life. I just published my blog post on how we are designed to be beautiful mosaics in life – we are all broken pieces but it’s how we’re put together that makes the difference.

    I believe in great attitudes and we chose which attitude we want to bring with us each day. We can look at 2 things and you can see it through the eyes of negativity or through the eyes of positivity.

    I vote positive attitude!

    In love and light,
    Nancy Shields recently posted..WE ARE DESIGNED TO BE BEAUTIFUL MOSAICS….My Profile

    Commented:  03/27/2012 at 2:27 pm

    What a wonderful post, Paige! Over the past few years I’ve come to realize we can control our mindset regardless of situation. Not always easy, it’s an ongoing process. I’ve worked hard to replace “negative chatter” in my head with positive affirmations, which I often repeat when I’m feeling frustrated. Also, if I wake up feeling grumpy for whatever reason – e.g. if the little ones wake up repeatedly through the night and I’m extremely tired – I make sure to consciously practice gratitude as you mention above (usually I speak aloud what I’m grateful for in the shower, where I have quiet headspace for a few minutes). I try to do that if I’m feeling great as well, but when I’m cranky, it really helps to turn my mood around. And you’re so right – often we allow others’ signals (often which have nothing to do with us) to fuel our already-foul mood. Thanks for a calming, thoughtful post!

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/27/2012 at 10:37 pm

      I know exactly how you feel, Christine, with the little ones waking you up all night. 🙂 Sometimes we may have little control over our situation, especially with little kids, but, as you’ve said, we do have the choice of how we respond to it.

      I’m glad the positive affirmations work for you. Historically, I haven’t had much success with them. I usually have a conversation in my head where the mindful self objectively calls the bluff of the negative self, pointing out how silly the things that the negative self is saying really are. That “negative chatter” is simply our monkey mind speaking from our fears. When you shine the light on your fears, they tend to dissolve.

      Thanks for the great comment, Christine!
      Paige Burkes recently posted..How Free Do You Think You Are? ReallyMy Profile

    Tess The Bold Life
    Commented:  03/27/2012 at 8:24 am

    We can all recognize when we’re ‘off.’ It’s being aware and then feeling better is only a choice away. I read Victor Frankl’s book in my 20’s. It changed my life. It needs to be required reading. It can’t be mentioned enough. Just that one thing makes the world a better place!
    Tess The Bold Life recently posted..75 Bold Tips for When Fear Grips Your MindMy Profile

    Commented:  03/27/2012 at 2:56 am

    Thanks Paige! This is just what I needed to read and comprehend! I had a really intense moment with my loved one, my cat (haha) and myself yesterday. I was raging with anger and negativity and it was rather scary for myself to witness all these coming within me! I pulled through the day with some mantra and focus inwards on my thoughts and behaviour. I ‘saw and heard’ it was within myself to change the disastrous moment around. I fully embrace what you shared and I am thankful to this preciously learning experience. Much blessings and love!

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/27/2012 at 9:37 am

      Thank you so much Shirly! I’m glad this was so helpful for you. Now that you have awareness, the next step is to bring that into the situation as it’s happening. Easier said than done, I know. Baby steps, without judgment, will get you there. Bravo!!

    kelli cooper
    Commented:  03/26/2012 at 11:17 pm

    Hi Paige
    Great post. One of the things that I have been focusing on heavily in my personal development work over the last several months is perspective and making more conscious choices rather than just blindly reacting to everything around me. Of course I have my moments when I do just that, but they are getting less and less as time goes on. We automatically think certain situations should elicit certain reactions and we respond accordingly without ever fully realizing we have complete choice in the matter. It is so empowering and can lead to a much greater sense of peace in our lives. It really is amazing the change we can make in our lives simply by becoming more aware.
    kelli cooper recently posted..The Only Thing Your Problems Have in Common Is YouMy Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/27/2012 at 9:34 am

      You’re so absolutely right Kelli! Becoming aware of our reactions in order to change some of them is definitely a process that takes time. Like you said, we think certain situations should elicit certain reactions. I find it amusing when I consciously choose a completely different response and watch the responses from those around me, especially those who think they know me well. It kind of catches them off guard. Thanks for a great comment!
      Paige Burkes recently posted..How to Deal Effectively With Difficult People (and Some Other Secrets)My Profile

    Commented:  03/26/2012 at 5:37 pm

    Paige: Really great and helpful approach. I think it always helps to hear about other people also experiencing the waves of emotions and then seeing how they manage through them. I really love your approach and appreciate you sharing it here. It really is true that sometimes our mood will just be off, but we can choose the attitude and the energy we bring to it. Great post.
    Sibyl recently posted..How You Can Never Lose “Infinite Hope” And Get What You Really WantMy Profile

    Noch Noch | be me. be natural.
    Commented:  03/26/2012 at 8:20 am

    Yes – i suppose attitude change is the first step to changing habits that we want to get rid of. noticing our mental, physical and emotional response is also a step to self awareness.
    Noch Noch
    Noch Noch | be me. be natural. recently posted..if I could choose a normal life, would I?My Profile

    Fran Sorin
    Commented:  03/25/2012 at 10:25 pm

    Once you being to implement these principles, it is amazing how significantly your life can change. It is literally going from feeling powerless to feeling powerful. First thing in the morning, I take my mood thermometer. If I’m grumpy or down, I do an inventory of why. My visual meditation helps to soothe my soul and mind and allows me to begin my day with a sense of calm and awareness.

    I laughed when I read your point about minding what we put into our bodies. Yesterday, I had a late breakfast with my daughter….about 1030a….and had a small cup of coffee. Paige, within 30 minutes, I was wired and felt on edge the rest of the day. I know that I can only have 2 cups of coffee a day and before 9am. I did something that I knew wasn’t healthy for me and paid a big price.

    Your thoughts are a good reminder that we do have choices and the power on how we walk through our day. To me, a genuine smile is one of the most heartwarming acts a human begin can offer the world. 🙂 fran
    Fran Sorin recently posted..How To Attract 8100 Adoring Fans and A Book Deal In Just Over A Year: Q and A With Jeff GoinsMy Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/26/2012 at 7:29 am


      You’ve hit the nail squarely on the head with your first statement. That’s what this whole blog is about: implementing small, simple changes in our days can transform our lives in amazing ways. We simply need to slow down enough to become aware of ourselves.

      I agree with you on the genuine smile. Here’s mine beaming back at you! 🙂
      Paige Burkes recently posted..Slow Down Enough to Find Your FreedomMy Profile

    Vidya Sury
    Commented:  03/25/2012 at 9:28 pm

    🙂 Heck. I wish I’d written this one! It is a policy I live by, Paige. Whenever I my imaginary blood pressure rises at a situation, I simply step back (mentally) and see it objectively and suddenly everything is clear. There’s always a different side. A better side. I love the scenarios you described – I am trying to steer my son towards viewing it the “other way”. When he raves and rants about something that made him mad, I just tell him to calm down, and rewind. Sure he hates me for it sometimes and even asks me if I am being “holier than thou” – then, of course we both burst out laughing and the tension simply disperses.

    Attitude is certainly a choice. My Mother was a prime example of this in my life. Our life was not easy and there seemed an abundance of lemons. We chose to make lemon juice and enjoy its health benefits.

    Again, I am thrilled to see my core policy described so very beautifully by you. By the way, have I ever told you you’re a fantastic writer? 🙂 Okay, I ducked. But seriously, I am grateful to start my day reading this post. Thank you!
    Vidya Sury recently posted..Sunday In My City – Tree CheersMy Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/26/2012 at 7:24 am

      Thank you so much dear Vidya! I’m working on explaining these concepts to my kids. Part of me says it’s a bit too early but the wiser side says that it’s never too early. It’s like their learning to speak. The more they hear and see it, the more it will sink in and become a part of them.

      I love the exchange you described with Vidur. I can totally see it and laugh with you. And you’ve described more aspects of your amazing and beautiful mother. You were so lucky to have her in your life.

      So happy I could start your day on a good note. Hope the rest of your day is wonderful!!
      Paige Burkes recently posted..Head vs. Heart: Which Is Smarter?My Profile


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