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What’s Your Attitude?

What is the “Magic Word?”

The term ‘Magic Word’ was first used by Earl Nightingale in the series ‘Lead The Field’, and later adopted by his protégé, Bob Proctor.

Definition of Attitude

The magic word is ‘attitude’. A dictionary definition defines it as ‘a manner of thinking, feeling or behaving that reflects the state of mind or disposition.”

A similar definition is: ‘a complex mental state involving beliefs, feelings, values and dispositions to act in certain ways.’

The two definitions are subtly different, but their outcome is essentially the same.

The first specifically incorporates behaviour into the definition.

The second says that attitude merely creates a predisposition to act in a certain way.

In other words, attitude is a only a function of the mind (both subconscious and conscious) and the consequences of it is our actions, and hence our results.

The Stick Person

In order to simplify our understanding of attitude, we need to revisit the concept of the ‘stick person’. 

The 'stick person' is a diagram developed by Dr Thurman Fleet and it represents the mind and the body.

'Attitude' and the Stick Person

In the above diagram, the top circle represents the mind and the bottom circle represents the body. Atop the first circle are 5 antenna-like marks that represent our physical senses.

The body is the servant of the mind. It does what it is told by the top circle.

The top half of the top circle is the subconscious mind. It has no ability to decide on what enters it, and accepts everything it is given, whether true or false.

The bottom half of the circle represents the conscious mind. It  has the ability to choose what ideas it accepts or rejects.

Attitude is a product of both the subconscious and conscious minds.

If we have a ‘bad’ attitude towards something, our actions and results will reflect a ‘bad’ attitude.

Similarly if we have a ‘good’ attitude, our actions and results will reflect a ‘good’ attitude. 

If you would like to see a video presentation about the Stick Person, check out this article.

Nothing is Good Or Bad

Note that ‘bad’ and ‘good’ are subjective words. (As Shakespeare said: “There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so”).

They also reflect our attitudes towards things.

In general, a ‘bad’ attitude means that we view the object of our attitude negatively - we see the things that could go wrong, or we see the outcome as going to be bad. 

Similarly, a ‘good’ attitude means we view the object of our attitude positively and consider ‘what could go right’.

Earl Nightingale

Your Attitude Defines Your Results

Earl Nightingale gives an example of attitude, with a famous restauranteur being asked about when he became successful. His answer was:

“I became successful when I was living on park benches. I knew what I wanted to do and how I was going to do it.”

The above illustrates where ‘attitude’ comes into getting the results we want in life.

If we want to be successful, we must think and act as if we are already successful.

If we want a nice new house or a boat, we must imagine ourselves already in possession of the house or boat, and believe it.

This idea is also stated by Napoleon Hill in the book ‘Think and Grow Rich.’

As the sequence says, our thoughts leads to our feelings, which in turn lead to our actions and results.

How To Get What You Want

This could lead to the following formula for getting what you want:

  1. Know what you want [desire]
  2. Believe that you can get it [attitude]
  3. Take action [attitude]
  4. Check your results
  5. If they’re what you want, great! If not, check and change your actions and try again.
  6. Repeat steps 3 and 4 above until you get it.
  7. Don’t stop there! Pick a higher goal and repeat the process.

Need I repeat the saying: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again!”

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