For as long as I’ve been a professional I’ve heard that a person’s attitude makes a difference. You’ve probably heard all the cute sayings about attitude – “Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude”, Attitude is Everything”, “The Only Thing You Can Control is Your Attitude”. Every sales manager talks about attitude. Every leader talks about attitude. Every entrepreneur hears about attitude.

Let’s face it. No one is against having a positive attitude. It’s kind of like mom and apple pie. There’s nothing to be against. But anyone who has worked with me knows that I don’t go with the crowd. I tend to be an independent thinker and as such, often see things differently than others. Over my professional career, I’ve been a student of human nature, and one of the areas I make note of is attitude.

Attitude has an interesting dynamic around it. I’ve observed, for instance, that people with a positive attitude tend to hang out together and people with a negative attitude also hang out together. Of course, each group tends to support the views of each other person within their group. The positive people see themselves as optimistic and forward thinking. The negative people see themselves as realists. Additionally, each group tends to view the other group somewhat unfavorably. The people in the positive group tend to look at the negative group as complainers, while the negative group tends to view the positive group as naïve, unrealistic, and/or overly “cheery”. I guess it’s a matter of your perspective. Each group feels they have an accurate view of reality – or more precisely, THE accurate view of reality.

One thing I’m sure of in life is that a person’s perspective determines their reality. And here is where these two groups begin to differ. I’ve noticed very different behaviors from people depending on their attitude. You see, attitude not only determines how a person sees things, but also affects their consequent actions as well. Our attitude determines our perspective, which in turn determines our reality. How does attitude and perspective affect our reality? Let me share a story as an example of how this happens. A number of years ago I had a friend who became focused on the potential problems surrounding the change of the millennium (Y2K). As he began to “research” the topic, the foretelling of upcoming disasters became his reality. In fact, the more he listened to radio talk shows the more he accepted their topics as “reality”. The more articles he read on the subject the more he accepted the writings as “reality”. The more websites he visited about Y2K, the more he accepted their perspectives as “reality”. By the time the end of December came around, he had stockpiled water and food, and was pleading with me to move up to the mountains to escape the impending terrorist attacks, falling planes, food shortages, crashing cars, and lack of water. January 1, 2000 came and went without incident. He never spoke to me again.

Obviously none of us are worried about Y2K any longer, but this story underlines how our attitude definitely affects how we conduct ourselves and our life. Our attitude creates our reality. But be clear, it’s OUR reality, not THE reality.

I’ve observed that positive people tend to view challenges as speed bumps while negative people see them as obstacles standing in the way of success. Positive folks often face the same challenges as negative folks, except that negative people have their thoughts and energies focused on the problems and the consequences of the problems, while the positive people focus their thoughts and energies on succeeding despite the problems. (Yes,… including rate increases.)

Does attitude really count? Can attitude really change your reality? I guess it all depends on your

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Written by Michael Beck, “Head Zookeeper” at, a marketing strategies website dedicated to getting more clients, making more money, and having more fun! Receive a FREE program on recruiting & prospecting success at:
Permission to reprint with full attribution. © 2008 Exceptional Leadership, Inc.