March 14, 2022

What is Attitude?

Attitude is defined as a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behaviour. Attitudes are the established ways of responding to people and situations that we have learned, based on beliefs, values and assumptions we hold. Attitudes manifest through our behaviour.

Simply put, it is the mental state or position we take regarding our life and affairs. This means it’s not what I think but how I think it. Out of our attitude comes our enjoyment of life and gratitude for all our blessings. Out of our attitude also comes our disappointment and anger at how things have panned out.

What is Altitude?

In practicality, when we talk about altitude, it is something related to flying objects like aeroplanes or helicopters, but in life altitude literally means the same thing. The term altitude here means elevation. It tells us how HIGH we are flying.

Our Attitude determines our Altitude

This has been one of those quotes which has evolved over the years. It’s a universal truth that fits every stage of our lives. Attitude denotes a way of looking at things from our ‘point of view.’ By expanding the word VIEW, I will try to elucidate as to how we can go about with our ‘Attitude’ to triumph in life.

V – VALUE of Positive Attitude:

Our brain is divided into two halves - positive and negative, good and evil. It doesn’t function on anything else. There’s no neutral ground in our brain. It’s either positive and good or negative and evil. Attitude, more so ‘mental attitude’ is the power we hold in our head. Reality can be changed dramatically by a ‘single thought.’ In nutrition the adage is you are what you eat. In terms of leadership, it’s more likely you are what you think. Contrary to what people want to believe, outside influences don’t usually determine your happiness or success; rather it is how we react to those influences - good or bad.

Successful people think differently and produce better outcomes because their response is guided by a positive and proactive outlook. Their mindset is not occupied by negativity and as a result, they are able to focus their energy on exploring solutions, taking action and growing consistently. It is generally observed that such people tend to display behavioural patterns such as: A smile (cheerful disposition); willingness to participate; mixing with others; consistency in behaviour. A cheerful disposition reflects sociable nature; willingness to participate denotes leadership qualities and mixing with others reveal high interpersonal skills with strong team dynamics. In addition, a consistent behaviour is an attribute of individuals with positive attitude.

Dr Paolo Masangcay: Known as ‘Miggy’ to his near and dear ones, Paolo was a diligent student throughout his schooling years. He went on to score a high ATAR (rank secured to get into a University in a chosen field) and got into one of the top Universities for his undergraduate studies. Thence, he made it to the rigorous cut-off list in the medical field gaining entry into another University on a scholarship with government funding. I have watched the boy grow and throughout what is striking about him is his attitude towards life. The way he carries himself - the light of positiveness flows all around. Fast forward, passing out in flying colours, now he is a Doctor par excellence in a leading hospital. His father opines it was his positive attitude that brought him thus far making his parents and sister proud. This goes on to prove in no uncertain terms, positive thinking is the hallmark of people like Dr Paolo.

Our attitude really does affect our altitude! Life is never perfect or without problems, but a positive attitude will help us soar above our problems and have a brighter outlook on life despite the obstacles. That means having a positive attitude will bring us up higher in life versus having a negative attitude, even if it’s just on rainy days and Mondays.

I – IMPORTANCE of Attitude Adjustment:

Our life is broken into stages. New adjustments need to be made with each stage of life, along with changing belief systems about how we handle conflicts and stress. The best part about attitude is that we are the only one who can control ours. No other person on earth has dominion over our attitude. People can affect our attitude by teaching us poor thinking habits or unintentionally misinforming us or providing us with negative sources of influence, but no one can control our attitude unless we willingly surrender that control.

College Story: During my final year in College, I had the privilege of penning down ‘One Hundredth and Seventh Year’ as a preface for our Student Annual (Printed Magazine). The Editor-in-Chief of the College Wall Magazine, who also doubled up as ‘Student Editor’ had this prerogative. My Executive Editor R.K. (name suppressed) took over the mantle the following academic year. However, the opportunity of writing the ‘One Hundredth and Eighth Year’ went to someone else and the Chief Editor was naturally upset about it. In the course of time, when I met up with the Staff Co-ordinator, chatting about RKs successful stint but being deprived of the foreword - he did not disagree but had this to add ‘During your tenure, the last week of classes, R.K. personally removed your ‘splendid final issue’ which would have adorned the
boards until the new academic year. This behaviour is not acceptable. He was not even formalised to take over the following year. That was not a good attitude. The snub was decided then itself.” If our attitude is not correct, whatever was meant to be ours by right may also slip away.

Why is having an attitude adjustment important? Unless we change our attitude, things will only be heading up further south. Here are a few tips that I would like to share:

• Start your day by expressing gratitude. Gratitude for another beautiful day. It helps to get things going by framing your thoughts with positive energy. Find anything to be thankful for and focus on that for just a minute. That simple shift of looking on the bright side even on a small scale can set the stage for the rest of the day.

• To affect the way you think, focus on the positive things happening to you. No matter what bad things, there are good things always.

• Break the negative power cycle - mix it up, break the routine and do something that gives you an incredible altitude and lifts you up if you see yourself spiralling down or in a rut.

• Audit your attitude at the end of the day, for the day in question? This can be done by journaling, the process of jotting down how you felt. You must be brutally honest with yourself.

• With your journal, reflect on how your attitude affected your behaviour, holding you back. Rectify it by taking corrective measures by thinking of an alternative good attitude.

Check the people around you and observe their attitude barometer: negative or positive - and if the results are negative, then you may need to look at your own attitude and make certain adjustments. Your mind truly is like a parachute; it works best when open. Work daily on shifting your mindset to a, “Yes I Can Attitude” and you will find a greater level of success in life. Remember, as corny as it may sound, “Your attitude will determine your altitude.” So here’s the thing - you can choose to change your attitude at any time. It really is a choice. But you have to actively make that choice. And only you can make it!

E – ENKINDLE the Right Attitude:

A right attitude is not about displaying a phony smile, a happy face and a perky disposition. It is simply a way of responding to life in a manner that allows us to accept the duality, the contradictions and the contrasts of our experiences. The most successful and happy people have the right mental attitude.

Of course, it is important for people to have skills, training and experience but the best skill-set will count for very little if they do not have the right attitude.

Of Helicopter Ride: In January 2019, we visited Hawaii. Among numerous adventures, flying over the Island of Oahu on a doors-off helicopter was one to reminisce. We were seated for our turn in front of the Reception when two females and a male returned from their flight and took a seat opposite us. The male who sat between the ladies was excitedly describing ‘the most wonderful experience he just had of his lifetime’ and we could literally see it in on his face with his eyeballs rolling. Hearing this, my two girls and I could not wait. Soon after, we were called and while walking towards the helicopter, I described the elation of the people who had returned with our pilot. ‘The bloke is born blind’ he said, but thoroughly enjoyed the adventure with his sister and mother and yearns to fly again. We were dumbfounded. Here was
someone who could not see but could experience it all the way. That to me is the Right Attitude.

These I consider are a few ways ‘right attitude’ could be developed:

• Watch and learn from people you consider positive forces in your life as to how they maintain their attitudes.
• Read and reflect from quotes of people past and present who have climbed the ladder of success by following a right attitude.
• Survey your use of language and change it when necessary replacing your negative words and thoughts into positive ones.
• Commit yourself to using all of your energy to be positive until it slowly and steadily but surely becomes your second nature.

Having the right attitude is one of the basics that success requires. Our right attitude is an asset, a treasure of great value, which must be protected accordingly. Beware of the vandals and thieves amongst us who would injure our attitude or seek to steal it away. More often than not, our attitude is the number one determining factor in our success. With the right attitude, we’re almost certain to gain the altitude and achieve our goals.

W – WINNING Attitude:

The world’s most popular question is “How are you doing?” Ask me that and ten times out of ten you will hear me say great, terrific, superb, fantabulous! I don’t like to be just fine. It’s doesn’t matter what day of the week it is. Weekdays to me are just great as weekends. ‘Don’t complain about your indigestion. How are you? is a greeting and not a question’ is an altered quote that I carry with me all the time.

Successful people can either be male or female, tall-short, big-small, have a high-level of formal education or little formal education and from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. So, if it’s not physical, academic or cultural factors that determine someone’s success, then what can it be? The answer is fairly obvious… it’s the way that someone thinks and a large part of this is their winning attitude.

Australian Open 2022: In January every year, Melbourne hosts the first of the four Grand Slams in Tennis. I used to be physically present watching the live action of the men’s single finals but this year I missed out and was content watching it on TV. What a contest it turned out to be? Down two sets to love and facing three break points early in the third set, Rafael Nadal was nowhere and was virtually written-off. But, thanks to his can-do-attitude that came with calmness, holding on to his nerves that gained the backing of the spectators. He turned the tide with a record-shattering win, creating history by lifting his 21st major title. In contrast, his opponent Daniil Medvedev, fined for his outbursts in a previous match and continuing with his tirade had completely lost it. We can be in a good situation and have it turn sour based on simply having the bad attitude we bring with us or we can be in a bad situation and turn it right around into a good one by having a positive winning attitude.

Intellectually speaking, I would say a winner is characterized by four things: A winner knows that winning involves a lot more than coming out on top; A winner sets high goals; A winner is disciplined and is highly motivated. The characteristics of a winner are very consistent: confident, dedication, determination, enthusiasm, happy, hardworking, kind, optimism, patience, positive attitude and to top it all a winning stance. None of them are God-given aptitudes. Neither these qualities has much if anything to do with a person’s genetic makeup or physical and mental abilities.

You can be a winner. You can have a winner’s attitude. You really can!

Final Thoughts:

Understanding the significance of being positive
Adjusting our attitude that is not exhaustive
Inculcating a right outlook which is attractive
Developing a winning attitude of beatitude

Will promulgate: “It’s our attitude, only our attitude
Not even aptitude - that will determine our altitude!”

Airplanes have instruments called attitude indicators. It’s an instrument that informs the pilot of the plane’s orientation relative to the earth’s horizon. When a plane is climbing, the nose of the plane is pointing above the horizon (nose up position) and when it is descending, the nose is pointed below the horizon (nose down position). Pilots keep close watch on the attitude indicator, because it helps them to determine the altitude of the plane. If they wish to change the altitude of the plane they must adjust the attitude. Thus, the performance of the plane is dictated by its attitude.

Similarly, the success we find each day is deeply influenced by the attitude we have about life. We can choose to go through life with a nose down attitude and see nothing but the ground or we can go through life with a nose up attitude and continually see the stars.

I wish you the stars and beyond!


By Stephen P D’Souza, Melbourne
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Comment on this article

  • Stephen P. D'Souza, Mangalore / Melbourne

    Fri, Mar 18 2022

    Thanks Alwyn for your appreciation of my write-up. “Our attitude is one of the most important, most powerful factors in our life. In fact, just about everything we achieve or don’t achieve can be traced back to our attitude. Quite simply, good attitudes bring good results, and bad attitudes bring bad results.”

  • alwyn, Mangalore

    Thu, Mar 17 2022

    Congratulations dear Stephen, good article.... keep it up.

  • Stephen P. D'Souza, Mangalore / Melbourne

    Wed, Mar 16 2022

    Thanks Mary for your positive comments on Dr Miggy. “The remarkable thing is that we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. Nor can we change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We also cannot change the inevitable. The only thing that we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.”

  • Mary, Melbourne Australia

    Wed, Mar 16 2022

    Congratulations Dr Miggy cheers to your hardword and attitude towards life Big Congratulations to the proud parents

  • Stephen P. D'Souza, Mangalore / Melbourne

    Wed, Mar 16 2022

    Thanks Daniel/Maria. I am a huge believer in putting attitude above aptitude. Your son has been a perfect example!

  • Daniel Masangcay, Melbourne, Australia

    Wed, Mar 16 2022

    Very nice article Stephen. Thank you so much for including my son and keep up the good work.

  • Stephen P. D'Souza, Mangalore / Melbourne

    Tue, Mar 15 2022

    Thank you Naveen, Elizabeth, Alzira for taking time out to post your comments. I for one believe - In life attitude is everything! 'We can alter our lives by altering our attitudes.'

  • Alzira Mascarenhas, Mangalore/Melbourne, Australia

    Tue, Mar 15 2022

    Dear Stephen, The caption 'Our Attitude determines our Altitude' is enormously eye-catching !!! An extremely well written article with real stories encompassing our daily lives. However higher echelons of altitude we may intend to reach, they will be 'out of reach' without 'attitude'. Thanks for the eye-opener in showing the marriage between these two greats evolves a better, responsible and ambitious human being in reaching levels of perfection. Keep going and all the very best for your next write up !!!

  • elizabeth Apon, Melbourne Australia

    Tue, Mar 15 2022

    Nice to see you Dr Paolo featured in this Article. This is the result of your hard work and a positive attitude towards life. Congratulations to your parents for supporting you in achieving this goal.

  • Naveen Salian, Mangalore/Dubai

    Tue, Mar 15 2022

    Our Attitude determines your Altiitude. Good topic. Nice narration.

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