The Nature of Attitude

Attitude © Erik Back 2012

I’m working on an ebook titled “6 Powerful Mechanisms Behind Personal Change”. This post is a part of the chapter about positive attitude. I will show you what attitude is and how you can use it to be proactive.

The Nature of Attitude

Daniel D. Droba claims he was the first to define the attitude concept and he did so in his article The Nature of Attitude from 1933.

Droba based his study on 55 books on sociology and psychology and he concluded that attitude is a state of preparation to action.

“Attitude is a state of preparation to action”

Carl Jung’s definition of attitude

I’m surprised that Droba only used American sources and studies because the attitude concept has a central role in Carl Jung’s Psychological Types published in 1923.

Jung’s work is used today in personality tests and development of organisations.

In his work “Psychological Types” (pp. 526-30) Jung gave his definition of attitude:

“Attitude is a readiness of the psyche to act or react in a certain direction.”

Jung places great emphasis on the attitude concept because it is a powerful mechanism that is based on experience:

“To have a certain attitude means to be ready for something definite […] having an attitude is synonymous with an a priori direction towards a definite thing.”

Jung believes that we have both a conscious and an unconscious attitude. I you want to act in a certain direction you have to be conscious about it; for that you need attitude.

“Active apperception is impossible without an attitude.”

Jung has identified certain types of attitudes that are based on habits.

“When a function habitually predominates, a typical attitude is thereby produced.”

This means, that habits can develop both consciously and unconsciously; these habits will produce some kind of attitude.

If you want to change something you need the right attitude to do so. That is why you can combine habits and attitudes and thereby create personal change.


Experience → Attitude → Action

It’s raining. Rain is wet and cold. → Rain is bad → Cancel date

Habits → Attitude → Action

Bad habit → Negative attitude → Negative projection to other people

Unhealthy diet → feeling of guilt → healthy people are patronising

You can use this mechanism to create change. Changing a habit is difficult and it takes time, but you can choose to adopt a certain attitude, e.g. a positive attitude, and thereby change your action.

Another type of action will lead to a new experience. That new experience is your resource to the attitude you desire.

Your attitude is not predetermined. You can choose to take responsibility for your actions and adopt an attitude that will help you to personal change. This is being proactive.

Make your choice:

I choose to be reactive and let my bad habits control my life and actions I choose to be proactive and take charge of my life and actions

Is it that simple? – Yes, it is that simple! The difficult part is to make the decision about being reactive or proactive. If you chose to be reactive then you don’t have to read anymore – just carry on with your life as usual.

Did you choose to be proactive? What are you going to do to be proactive?

Maybe you are already in charge of your personal development, please share how you did in the comments.

Covey’s 7 habits to Be Effective

Proactive © by Jonathan Assink

I have mentioned Covey’s 7 habits in another post and yesterday a showed you 12 amazing Zen habits that make up a very good starting point for a solid foundation. The Zen habits are a great way to keep your well-being and a life without stress, but sometimes it would be nice if you could be both effective and have a life without stress. Stephen Covey discovered 7 good habits of highly effective people in 1989. You can combine these habits with the 12 Zen habits and you will both be effective and relaxed.

Habit 1: Be proactive. This habit is about having the right attitude; it is about taking responsibility for your own life and stop blaming others. Your life is shaped and designed by the choices you make. If you can see that it will rain tomorrow then be proactive and make some good choices that will make tomorrow a good day instead of blaming the rain for your misery. You have the power inside you to choose how you will respond to external stimuli.

Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind. To get success in life you have to know where you are going. Covey suggests that you make it a habit to envision your goal in your mind before you start going there.

Habit 3: Put first things first. This is about prioritising; what is important and what is not important. Accept that you cannot do everything and that you do not have to.

Habit 4: Think win-win. The way I understand Covey’s win-win situation it is about not compromising. In my opinion you should never compromise because that would mean that both sides only get a part of what they want. You should always try to find a solution where both sides feel like winners. It is harder, but it is a good strategy and a very good habit.

Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Basically this is about listening; make it a habit to really listen and try to understand what the other part is trying to communicate. It will make life so much easier for you.

Habit 6: Synergise. Covey calls openness and cooperation for synergising. This habit is about being open to new ways of doing things and the ability to cooperate with other people.

Habit 7: Sharpen the saw. This seventh habit covers some of the basic things that you find in the 12 Zen habits. According to Covey it is important to work on your own well-being and I could not agree more.

These seven habits are not revolutionary and they have been said before, but Stephen Covey has managed to develop some good tools to keep focus on these habits and to understand them better. The habits correspond to keywords such as: Positive attitude, set goals, prioritising, listen, not compromising and being extrovert. Read more on Stephen Coveys website.

Your Personality 1: Jung’s Personality Types

Taking the personality test... © by ninasaurusrex

In my last post I raised the question: Who are you? I did not have the answer and I cannot tell you who you are. I cannot tell you because you are the only one who knows; or should know. If you are reading this, probability is that you do not know whom you are. I have realised that a lot of people do not know what to answer when they are asked the question: Who are you?

What would you write if I asked you to write a four-line description of yourself? Your height, age and weight barely take one line. You have to spend time getting to know yourself, because every day of your life you need to communicate who you are in order to stay on a good path that will lead you to your dreams and goals.

I know that it is not an easy task to do, but I have decided to spend the next 31 days finding methods for you to make your own personal profile. Every day you can look up a new test or method that will teach you something new about yourself and by the end of the next 31 days you will have a good idea about who you are and whom you want to become.

Jung personality type test

Carl Jung found that people could be divided into different types and he discovered 16 different types of people (well, actually he made the basic theory to the 16 types that was developed by Meyers and Briggs, but I am trying to keep the post short). Most of the tests that are used by companies today when hiring new people are based on Jung’s personality types.

The Internet have hundreds of test and but I ended up choosing two sites I will recommend to you. One site has a small test with only 56 questions that will calculate your type. This site does not have a very good description of the 16 types, so I have found a link with a very comprehensive description. You can find the links at the bottom of this post.

This test will show you if you have an introverted or an extroverted attitude. It will show you how you perceive information and how you make decisions. It will also give you an idea about what kind of lifestyle that you prefer. Mind that the result of the test will change over time, because you develop yourself. Tests do not represent the truth but they are very good tools for personal development.


Jung Personality Test

The 16 Personality Types

How to Be Nice to People: Say Hi!

Smile and greet people!

Hi! © by the.barb

Lately I have been thinking a lot about positive attitude and how important it is to make a good impression on people; it is important to have a nice and likable appearance. My blog is becoming more popular every day and in the wake of success comes unfriendly comments. They make me sad although I know they are not personal.

Today one of my readers told about a bad experience; she had just bought an ice cream and was smiling because it made her happy. On her way out of the shop a girl says in a hostile tone – what are you looking at? Sometimes it can be pretty hard to be friendly, but we have to ignore this. People have their reasons and if they contribute to your life with negativity then get them out of your life again. They are toxic to you and you do not want that.

Meet people, smile and say – hi! You can greet people even without knowing them in person. By greeting people they feel acknowledged; they feel welcome in your world and they feel comfortable. Sometimes nodding your head is enough to show that you acknowledge their presence.

Where I come from we do not talk if we wait at a bus stop together. Even if it is the same people we meet at the bus stop every morning we do not talk. We do not event say hi and a smiling is unthinkable. Some time ago I decided to smile to these people I met every morning and I practiced saying hi and commented the weather and asked how they were doing. Soon I learned that people loved the attention and gave me some attention as well. It felt nice.

We do not need close relationships to greet each other but sometimes greeting can develop into close and meaningful relationships. Practicing greeting I have met a lot of interesting people and some of them have become friends; some of them have become clients; some of them have become collaborators.

You never know where you will meet an opportunity for something you dream of, but you can be prepared for the encounter by greeting people.

I Wish I Were a Bastard!

© by Toms Bauģis

Self-esteem is a strange and difficult concept, especially if you do not have it. It is developed early in life in the age of 3-6 years old. My self-esteem was severely hurt when I was about 3 years old because of a very difficult period in my parents’ life. They do not have any education and jobs were difficult to get. They were poor and tried to provide for our family as best as they could.

Life got better though and as a result my sister and I had excellent conditions. This means that my self-confidence never suffered any damage. Today I have a strange combination of low self-esteem and a very high self-confidence. I have never in my life had any doubt that I could do anything I set my mind to; I have always been convinced that I could do everything better than everyone else.

Extremely arrogant

Well, it is obvious that my attitude made me an odd and extremely arrogant character. I realised this and I started accepting that there are other realities than mine and other people have solutions that are better than mine. I stopped being arrogant and that helped me to get friends, girlfriend and a very large social and professional network.

In the mist of my nagging poor self-esteem I often wish that I were a genuine bastard that did not give a rats arse about other people! The worse thing is that I feel bad about thinking like that and why is that? It is because my mind seeks balance; the body will always try to find balance both physically and mentally.

I am over-concerned about what other people think and feel and in particular what they think about me. I cannot help it except accepting and trying to develop and balance my mind. You have probably experienced something similar and the reason we have this urge to be inconsiderate bastards are that one of the traits we experience from these people is an extreme self-esteem.

In the perspective of people with very low self-esteem these inconsiderate bastards seem to be very successful. They do not get hurt when people reject them, they do not care if people like them or not, they seem to have a lot of friends and a good job. Why is it that such bad character seems to carry success? Well, it is an open question that you can puzzle over.

Be less sensitive

We need to understand that we cannot please everybody; all people cannot love us; sometimes we hurt other people and sometimes we disagree; but that does not mean that we are bad people; it merely underlines the fact that we are human and that we are unique individuals. We should praise that people are different; if all people liked everybody and everything then nobody would ever do anything for development and progression. Life would be incredible boring!

What we have to do is learn how to deal with our self-esteem and find balance. When it comes down to it then I really do not want to be an inconsiderate bastard but I do want to be less sensitive to what other people think; and that is my focus in my next articles.