Sunday, October 28, 2007

Attitude Is Everything

Step 1

Understand the power of "attitude."

The first thing you need to do to turn your attitude into action is to tap into the power of your attitude. This key step is the foundation on which the other nine steps in this book are built. Attitude is everything.

As far back as I can remember, I've heard about the importance of a positive attitude. I heard it from my parents, teachers, coaches, and supervisors over the years. Not only did I hear it, I saw the powerful impact a positive attitude could have. I've seen it countless times in the lives of highly successful people. Some of these success stories make front-page headlines. Those that aren't making the news are certainly making headlines in the lives of those around them. A positive attitude is the foundation of a successful life.

With such compelling evidence to support the theory that a positive attitude pays off, I have made it my lifework to personally embrace a super-fantastic attitude and help others understand that attitude is everything.

Some have questioned my assertion, telling me that attitude isn't everything. That much more is involved in achieving success. Of course, it takes planning and hard work to reach your goals. I believe it is absolutely critical that whatever you do, you should do with all your might. Go for it! Work to the best of your ability.

But your ability may be much higher than you realize. It all comes back to attitude. Attitude is everything because it is involved in everything. It impacts our performance at work and our relationships. Attitude is the cornerstone upon which we build our lives.

If attitude is so important, we'd best understand its meaning. The American Heritage Dictionary defines attitude as a state of mind or feeling with regard to some matter. For me, attitude can be defined in one word: life. The attitude that you carry around makes an incredible difference in your life. It can be a powerful tool for positive action. Or it can be a poison that cripples your ability to fulfill your potential. Your attitude dictates whether you are living life or life is living you. Attitude determines whether you are on the way or in the way.

To develop an attitude that helps you live life to its fullest, as you were designed to do, you must first understand that the heart is the control center for your attitude. Your attitude is nothing but an outward reflection of what resides on the inside. To change your attitude, you must change your heart.

Ear-Gate, Eye-Gate, and Mouth-Gate

The most powerful computer in the world is the human computer. Our programming, then, comes through what we hear, see, and say. We can be programmed for success or failure based on how well we monitor what I call the ear-gate, eye-gate, and mouth-gate. What we see through our eye-gate goes directly into our hearts, frequently having a profound effect on our state of mind, sense of well-being, and, you guessed it -- our attitude. Likewise, what we hear through our ear-gate has the power to lift us up or drag us down. Finally, the mouth-gate speaks to the heart-mouth connection. As the proverb says, "Out of the issues of your heart, your mouth speaks." Our words have a tremendous impact on our attitude and the attitudes of those around us.

These concepts will be more fully developed throughout the book. You will see that regardless of what you have taken to heart throughout your life, it is possible to reprogram your attitude. It's a powerful transformation that can bring you both personal and professional success.

Keith Harrell's Reprogramming

Stories of my own reprogramming began early in life.

I spent most of my young adulthood chasing a dream to become a professional basketball player. In high school, I was an All-American and the Most Valuable Player of our state championship team. I accepted a scholarship to Seattle University, where I was the team captain for three of my four years. I averaged more than sixteen points per game in my senior year. In June of 1979, I expected to be drafted by a National Basketball Association team. It was a dream that I had shared with everyone I knew. My family, friends, teammates, and others who had followed my career had come to expect that it would happen, based on my success as a player in high school and college.

On the day of the NBA draft, I waited and waited and waited ... but the phone did not ring. I was devastated. I had devoted myself to the sport and to my future as an NBA player. It was tough to give up on that dream. I felt cheated when it didn't happen.

In the days and weeks that followed, the bitterness was revived every time someone commented on my failure to be drafted. It didn't help when strangers would note my sixfoot- six-inch height and say, "You must play pro basketball." For a long time I fought the bitterness. Finally I decided to let go of the negative feelings. I found a way to embrace this major change and focus on being positive instead. I realized that to grow inwardly I had to move on with my life.

I developed a new attitude and a new response to questions about my height. Not long ago, a woman seated next to me at a luncheon asked if I played with the NBA.

"Yes, I do," I replied. "I'm a first-round draft choice. I'm the most valuable player. I'm owner of the team, and we win the championship every year!"

"So you do play with the NBA?" she asked.

"Yes, I do. I play with my Natural-Born Abilities, and I'm slam-dunking every day!"

I did recover my positive attitude, but it took a focused effort to reframe my perspective, which is one of the key things I'm going to teach you in this book ...

Attitude is Everything Rev Ed
10 Life-Changing Steps to Turning Attitude into Action. Copyright © by Keith Harrell. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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