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.

Life Is About Making Choices

Life Is About Learning to Dance in the Rain © by FindYourSearch

It is easy to make a choice. What stops people from making a choice, is that they are afraid of the outcome of that specific choice. It is the fear of uncertainty that stops people from making a choice. But you cannot escape the fact that you have to make choices to live your life; if you avoid making decisions your life will become very difficult.

If you are unhappy, then choose to be happy; if you want to be rich, then choose to be rich; if you want a partner, then choose to get one; if you want to loose weight then, choose to loose weight. It sounds so easy to do, does it not? Let me reveal a secret for you that have been kept secret for you until today: It is that easy! Once you realise how easy it is you will wonder why you have not done this before.

If you want something to happen in your life then you have to do something to make it happen. Action involves decisions; you need to decide what to do to take action and make things happen. Your future depends on the choices you make and if you do not make any choices then you do not have a future.

You get exactly what you ask for; and if all you ask for is fear of choosing then all you will get is stagnation and fear. But I have I solution to your problem of fear: – choose not to be afraid. Choose to trust that your choice is a good one. The choices you make are based on what you feel is good for you and what you want in the future. If you let anyone else decide what is good for you, then you will never get what you want from life. Then you would be living someone else’s life and not your own life.

When you have made a choice making something happen you will know deep down inside yourself that you will succeed. When you have made a specific choice you will be focused and you will do what it takes to carry out that decision. When you have done it you will feel a rush because you have overcome fear and you experienced the intoxicating feeling doing it.

Now go face your fears and make those choices to create your future!

How to Be Successful: Take Action

Worried bride © by spaceodissey

Do you think that successful people are perfect people that sit around analysing? Well, they are not! Successful people make more mistakes than anyone else because the take action. For some strange reason they seem to be everywhere. The most successful people seem to be able to manage huge amounts of projects at the same time and physically be at several places while doing it. It sounds stressing but the secret behind great success is to keep a sense of perspective and a cool head.

Successful people take action at any given opportunity they find intriguing. They use a combination of skills, experience, sense of adventure and a strong belief that everything will turn out well. If they fail it does not matter; they still have a good story to tell.

If you want success then do not analyse everything in-depth. There is no way you can predict the precise outcome anyway. Just act on you intuition and enthusiasm about your new idea; try it out and see what happens. But do not be reckless about it; maintain your common sense.

Some people tend to worry too much or to over analyse things. Typical thoughts are: What if it goes wrong? What if I break something? What would people think about me? Etc. Successful do not think like this; they do not care. Their focus is to experience and learn something new using their common sense. The typical question successful people would ask is: What is the worst thing that could happen? If they can live with the possible consequences then they leap into action.

E.g. one week ago I decided to bake some dark bread that would take 5 days to prepare. The existent recipes did not intrigue me; I wanted to do it in a new way. I tried to figure out how to do it but ended up with the choice of trial and error. I had great success although I had to toss the result in the bin. What I learned was that my oven is very old and not heating right. Tomorrow I will give it another go and adjust the temperature.

3 good tips to take action and feel success:

  1. Keep your common sense and do not over analyse.
  2. Ask yourself: “What is the worst thing that could happen?”
  3. Believe in yourself and expect to learn something new.

How To Be Successful: See Opportunities

Opportunity Center © by {Guerrilla Futures | Jason Tester}

Do you know the feeling of getting stuck in a traffic jam? You know this will take hours and you are annoyed that you did not take the exit a few miles back. You just followed the others focusing on the car in front of you.

If you go the same ways as expected and choose to follow all the others then you are not going to be successful. To be successful you need to break routines and take the lead of your own life. Do not follow other people because they expect you to do so. Along the highway there are tons of exits, you just do not see them. Every exit represents an opportunity in your life.

You always have a choice in life and opportunities will always present themselves when you need them. When they do, you just have to spot them and choose them. Often we miss opportunities because they seem out of context and do not look like we expected them to look. You never know where an opportunity will bring you.

To spot opportunities you need to have a positive focus and an open mind. Furthermore you need to know exactly what you want or need in life. When you know what you want then follow the opportunities that point in that direction. Let us say that you want an acting career and every day you wake up you look on the website of the Ambassador Theatre for openings. Everyday you take the subway directly to the theatre to see if you can get a meeting for audition. You do not talk to anyone on your way, you are 100 % focused on getting at job at this theatre. But your approach will never give you the career you want.

You need to tell everybody what you want and what you are doing to get there. By doing this people around you will start showing you new opportunities you did not see before. Maybe your neighbour knows a director at the local theatre where they have an opening. Maybe this is one of the theatres where Broadway directors go to find new talents and maybe you find your acting career at one of the other Broadway Theatres?

3 Steps To Use Intuition

(Too much) Thinking © by the Italian voice

We use our intuition to make choices and often it is very hard choices we have to make. When we make choices that are based on intuition they turn out to be the best choices we could make. It is impossible to know which choice is the best choice, but we can try to optimise a choice by using intuition. When we use intuition we do not use rational thinking but we involve feelings.

Step 1: Stop analysing! Shut down your brain for a while and stop thinking, stop worrying about possible consequences.

Step 2: Listen! Start to listen to your body, what does it say? How do you feel about each option you have. Look at your options one at a time and define your feelings to each option. You know when to make a choice and you will know if it is the right choice.

Step 3: Trust! You have to trust yourself and your intuition. Do not try to analyse why your choice feels right, because there is no way you can explain intuition. If you do you will be in doubt and make the wrong choice.

Now that you have made a good choice then be happy about it, enjoy it and move on because you cannot remake that choice. It belongs to the past.

Just for fun: Next time you check your mailbox then look at it and listen to your intuition – is there any mail in the mailbox today? Statistically you would be right half the times you do this, but you will be surprised that you will be right much more than that.