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 I’ve been looking back at some of my blog posts. I’ve talked about behaviours, emotions, states, skills, lots and lots of resources… today we’re looking at another aspect of us – something that is similar to a state and just as easily manageable – but not always easy to see… An attitude.

An attitude can be defined as a positive or negative evaluation of people, objects, event, activities, ideas, or just about anything in your environment. A persons attitude can drive them forward, hold them back, turn people off and even turn people on. And, interestingly, an attitude can be incongruent with a persons state. This can be confusing!

Lets take a simple example – in fact, I have a specific person in mind who is very positive about his job. He is a star employee, a self starter and very good at what he does. However – he doesn’t actually like his job. His attitude is very much “I really don’t want to work for a living” while his state (mood/emotion) is more “I’m here and I’m going to do the best I can”.

To the ‘non-trained’ eye, sometimes this incongruence goes unnoticed. I know a lot of people who have a state which is in conflict with their attitude. What does this do? It creates incongruities within a person – and often times leads to behaviours that are not aligned with a person. Ah, there we go again with behaviours! Let’s get back to attitudes.

In my coaching practice I often meet people who confess to me about “feeling like a fraud” – they act (state) confident, outgoing, in control, etc., but their attitude is often defeatist and self-condemning. Of course this person would feel like a fraud, like they are going to be ‘found out’ at any moment.

I think that a persons attitude toward something, someone or somewhere is often more important that a person’s state. To me, it is something else that is more private – like looking into a person’s secret internal talk. And, of course, it is upheld and justified by a person’s beliefs and values about something.

So how do you train your ‘eye’ to identify a person’s attitudes? Well, first of all, make it simple on yourself – ask the question “what is your attitude about that?” – and then move it into more covert awareness using sensory acuity. Remember, the body cannot not communicate nor can it lie.

Another simple way to identify an attitude is to watch the people around you – is there a common theme going on? It very possibly could be an attitude that has caught on…. after all, like the flu, attitudes are contagious.

I’m curious – what is your attitude about work/relationships/life??  It’s an interesting question, isn’t it?