Thursday, July 31, 2008

See You At the Top - Attitude - Azara Feroz Sayed

Attitude is the fourth step on the Stairway to the Top

Ziglar introduces this step by saying our attitude is more important than aptitude for being successful. We can alter our lives by altering our attitudes. The difference between accomplishment and failure is having the right mental attitude.

Unfortunately, only 10% of our education is directed at our "feelings" or attitudes while 90% of our education is directed at acquiring facts and figures. The 10% too is directed at athletic events such as band, pep, squad, cheerleader etc. A Harvard study revealed that 85% of the reason for success, accomplishments, promotions etc. were because of our attitudes and only 15% because of our technical expertise i.e. we are spending 90% of our educational time and dollars on developing that part of us which accounts for 15% of our success. We spend 10% of our time and resources in developing 85% of our success.

Feroz's college in India was the only college that I had heard of offering soft skills trainings starting from graduate levels. I had heard about the founder of the college, Mr Doreswamy, being a visionary and these programmes as part of student development activities just put a stamp on it.

View Ziglar's video on attitude

To illustrate how attitude affects in our life, Ziglar says, If we study for grades, we will get them. If we study for knowledge, we will get even better grades and considerably better knowledge. If we strive to make a sale, we will probably make it. Strive to make a sale in such a way that we build a career, we will sell more and will build our career in the process. If we work for salary, we will get one. If we work for the betterment of the company we represent, we will not only get a bigger salary but will also get personal satisfaction as well as respect from our colleagues.

Attitude is contagious like flu. If we want to catch the right mental attitude, we have to go where the right attitude exists. Starting with right people. If people are not available then use a book, exciting seminar, recording of a dynamic speaker. Our mind is like a garden. Between planting and harvesting there is a tremendous increase in the number of beans. Whatever is planted - it is multiplied. Every action we take and every thought we put into our mind is going to have its effect. Ensure we make positive deposits in our mind. Whatever we put into our mind is going to come out of it. A positive attitude will have positive results. Or history teaches us how people fell victim to the idealogy that was forced on to their mind by one man!

Ziglar refers "Hardening of the attitudes" as the most deadliest disease (attitude issue) that sends more people to an early grave, creates more drug addicts, alcholics, breaks up marriages, causes more unemployement and causes more crime than all other attitudes put together. There is a vaccine available which is free, painless and provides additional benefits (such as raise from the boss for protecting himself and his fellow workers from this highly contagious disease, improvement in mental and physical health, zest for living, improves relationships with all even with strangers, improvement in job performance etc). With so many benefits to reap, it is difficult to understand why anyone would not take the vaccination against "Hardening of the attitude" i.e. to work on developing the right mental attitude. Failures think successful people are positive because they earn $250,000 a year. The reverse is true, Successful people earn $250,000 a year because they have the right mential attitude.

#1 - Developing Enthusiasm for all that life has to offer is step towards developing right mental attitude. Psychologists have long known that we will be enthusiastic if we act enthusiastic. If we assume a trait of characteristic - then eventually it will grab us - we will possses it. e.g. Singing (in the shower - bath right) - we do not sing because we are happy but we are happy because we sing. We can't be negative at the top of our voice. On the same lines, we do not stop working and playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop working and playing. Develop alternative signs, symbols for negative things like "go light" for "stop", "red", "traffic" light - when we use them - we will smile at ourselves and our attitude will change while we are waiting at the light. Refer "having cold" with reference to "having warm on other days", Refer "weekends" as "strong end" - a few tips to help us change our attitude. A day is a miniature lifetime, and with lot of good days, we have a good life. The difference between a good teacher and great teacher, good mother and great mother, good speaker and great speaker is enthusiasm. Real enthusiasm is not a "put on" or "take off" to fit the occasion. It is a way of life. It is an outward expression of an inner feeling. Loudness is not necessarily an indication of, enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is "on call" 24hrs a day for us, we will have to use it! An attitude of enthusiasm, provides an effective frontal assault on one of man's greatest stumbling blocks in the climb to the top of the stairway, namely, procastination!

#2 - Always keep in mind, Success is not about comparing with other's success. Success is, measured by comparing, what we could have done with the ability God has given us

#3 - Learn to laugh at self as the person who can't laugh at self can't tolerate someone else laughing at him. It is a sign of emotional maturity and stability to be able to laugh at self.

#4 - Set your sail for Success, be prepared to make minor adjustments in the course, if there are any - Our direction determines our destiny. On our way to success, there are going to be numerours diversions and occurences over which we have no control. We can't predict for certainity what things stand between us and our destination. When something throws us slightly off course, it isn't necessary to go all the way back to the original departure point, make a slight adjustment and proceed towards the destination.

#5 - Satisfy Mental Hunger - From our neck below, very few people would make more than a few hundred dollars a week. From the neck up, there is no limit to how much an individial is worth. We feed the part below the neck everyday. We need to feed our minds, the part that has no limit to its value, earning and happiness potential. Instead of feeding to happen accidentally, occasionally due to the excuse of "lack of time", we need to take time-off to feed the part which has no ceiling to its potential as we take time-off to feed the rest of our body. We need to spend time and money of dressing the "inside" of our head.
Giving the analogy of greens to bring out the importance of attitude of learning, Ziglar says, as long as the vegetables are green, they are growing, but when they get ripe, they start to rot. As Peter Drucker expressed, "Knowledge has to be improved, challenged and increased constantly or it vanishes". Our production capacity will go down if we don't sharpen our axe.
In every field of endeavour - those who are headed for the top are the ones who regularly show up fo seminars at their own expense. They read books. They deliberately seek information to grow. They transform "dead" time that is spent in fighting traffic to "live" time by listening to educational audio information that will give the mental and emotional advantage in today's competitive world. Ziglar refers to this learning as learning in "Automobile University". The learning that happens on the drive from home to work will help you start your day with energy as your brain's neurtransmitters are in action already. When you are moving - listen. When you are seated - read. Our mind like the body must be constantly nourished. Nourishment must be physical, mental, spiritual
Ziglar brings about an interesting idea, the Indian didn't have the word "stutter" and so there was no Indian who "stuttered" as there was no way an Indian could picture "stuttering". Research has proved that bigger a person's vocabulary, the bigger the income. Try to improve your vocabulary conscioulsy. Refer earlier post "Donate Rice to Improve your vocabulary". Remove the word "hate" and replace with "love". Don't think about "prejudice". We need to change our mental diet and eliminate negative input.
#6 - Use the power of subconcious to strengthen our attitudes - We know that whatever we learn, we learn consciously. But when we do it subconsciously, we do it well - like learning to drive a car consciously - to driving a car subconciously. Learning to Type conciously and Typing unconciously. Every musician, went through the process of painfully learning consciously (people avoided listening to them) when the musician plays instinctively, subconciously - then everyone wants to listen to him. Once we learn to do something consciously, we can move it to the subconcious and do it well. The subconcious has unlimited potential and storage capability for all the information that we feed it. Since the subconscious mind never sleeps, we have extra learning and motivation time while our conscious mind sleeps. "Don't take your problems to bed", is wrong, as we go to sleep, we should thank God for all the blessing and turn the question to him. Let the unconscious mind work on it. Instead of doodling - start writing "I Can, I Can, I Can..." and then spell out specifically what we can achieve or write "I will, I will, I will..." and then spell out the goals - these will be etched on the subconscious - making sure we are sailing in the right direction. Once our right mental attitudes are in auto mode, we will instinctively and automatically react positively to the negative situations (diversions on our course to Success) we encounter in life.
The changes we bring in ourselves could have one of the following motivations
- "fear" - fear of losing something - e.g. losing a job". This motivation will work only in specific situations where there is fear of losing something.
- "carrot" - reward for accomplishment - e.g. a bonus. This motivation won't work once the participant moves into "comfort zone"
- "internal" - Motivation by changing the way we think about ourselves and our circumstances.
The "internal" motivation for developing the right mental attitude and embedding the right mental attitude in our subconcious will help us react positively all the time!

Most of the men who were moving to the top were not "paying a price". They worked hard becuase they truly enjoyed their careers and the work involved. The top people in any field get involved in what they are doing, become engrossed, dig in, and their success comes because they love what they are doing. They choose to spend those hours at their work. They have a job but most importantly their job has them. In short, they have a tremendous attitude, which often changes a job from drudgery to pure joy.

For our employer to pay us more, we need to make ourselves more valuable to him - by extra effort - extra loyalty - extra enthusiasm - extra hours and by assuming extra responsibilities. These steps gaurantee job in hard times and raises and promotions during bad times

We can't tailor-make the situations of life but can tailor-make the attitude to fit the situations in life in face of "hopeless" situations. The only people who do not have problems are those in cemeteries. If we have problems, it simply means we are alive and the more problems we have we are more alive!
Step 1: Most of us let our conditions control our attitudes instead of using attitude to control conditions. If "things" are good, our attitude is good. If "things" are bad, our attitude is bad. If we have a strong attitude foundation - our attitude will be good inspite of how good or bad "things" are. How we handle negative situations like "Kicking the Cat" (refer earlier post on "Managing Relatioships") will largely determine our success and happiness in life. We should be like the leaky tire. A defeat should take something out of us and deflate us a bit. If we don't deflate, it is a strong signal that we didn't mind losing but also that we weren't emotionally involved in wanting to win. Remembering that - if we learn from defeat we haven't really lost - will ensure we move closer to being the winner - as each attempt of defeat teaches us - "what will not work".
Step 2: There are seldom, if ever, any "hopeless" situations, we lose hope in face of some situations.
Step 3: We have to remember that the "hopeless" situations are temporary
Step 4: Set the time-limit on how long we plan to stay down. The reason in when we are down, we are likely to reject many valuable ideas. When we are down in dumps we are more likely to concentrate more on the problem than on the solution.
Step 5: Get up! We are once again emotionally up and riding high. Our imagination will be in high gear and we are considerably more responsive to positive suggestions of our capability. We are solution conscious instead of problem conscious. We will be specialist who isn't overwhelmed with the problem and is interested in finding solutions. We are responsive to good ideas and more likely to act on those ideas. And our performance will soar!

Some interesting points
* Smile is one little curve that sets lot of things straight
* Good things happen to people who expect good things
* We ourselves can use our potential - what a responsibility!
* It is not the situation, but the way we react to it that's important. It is the attitude shown in unpromising or negative situations in life. It is shown in the attitude of two men who had polio. One became a beggar and the other Franklin D Roosevelt. What happens to us is not the most important thing - with discipline, dedication, determination and desire, we can respond positively and enhance our chances of victory.
* Failure road is cluttered with people - trying to explain to anyone willing to listen - why something cannot be done
* Successful people capitalize on "What they are" rather than "What they are not" and the positive qualities of patience, humility, dependability, confidence, understanding and belief
* Our major problem is not lack of resources but lack of resourcefullness.
* Happiness is not pleasure it is victory!
* Desire is the ingredient that enables a person with average ability to successfully compete with those who have far more. Desire is the "extra" that makes the little difference and the little differences make the big difference in life. Desire is the difference between the average performer and champion
* Success is determined by taking the hand you are dealt with and utilizing it to the very best of our ability
* Less than our best efforts has us saying "If Only"
* Doing our best is more important than being being the best
* Rewards in life are due more to our behaviour than our birth
* When we sow an action, we reap a habit; when we sow a habit, we reap a character; when we we sow a character, we reap destiny
* Ability can take you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there
* Success and happiness are not destinations. They are exciting, never-ending journeys.
* If we build our people, our people will build the business
* Give employees the reason for doing things - they will feel they are part of the project and not just employees following orders. Results would be better.
* We acquire the characteristics of the people we associate with on a steady basis but we also become immune and desensitized to the noise and odors or our environment
* All bad habits, trends etc start slowly, quietly and apparently harmlessly. Before we know we have the habit, the habit has us. A slight concession in habits leads to bigger concessions until eventually the bad habits become a way of life
* When a 200 pound craves for cigarrete (1/10th ounce) - wish we were creatures of logic instead of emotion
* The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken
* We build our character from the bricks of habit we pile up day by day
* When we acquire "tough" habits, they become "fun" habits, especially when we remember that doing the tough things today will prepare us to do the big things tomorrow
* Get any good habit and you get an automatic bonus in form of additional good habbit due to the discipline and confidence that you have gained in the process of building one. After some time we will not be working for the habits but the habits will work for us.
* Good habits are hard to acquire but easy to live with. Bad habits are easy to acquire but hard to live with
* Parents feed children - love, obedience, faith, integrity etc
* Teacher feed children - honesty, patriotism, persistency, attitude etc
* Professor feeds - goal setting, character, co-operation etc
* Employer feeds - loyalty, total effort, dedication etc
* "Carrot motivation" - In the picture of the donkey pulling the cart. In this picture, the carrot is dangling in front of the donkey. When the donkey walks towards the carrot, he pulls the cart. There are several factors that must be present for this motivation to work. The cart has to be light enough, the stick holding the carrot must be short enough, and the carrot enticing enough to get the donkey to do the job. Experience teaches us that we must permit the donkey to take an occasional bite of the carrot in order to keep him from being discouraged.. Otherwise, he's going to feel he is involved in an excercise in futility and will quit trying for the carrot. When the donkey gets the bite of the carrot, he satifies his appetite. When he's no longer hungry, some adjustments must be made. For example, the stick must be shortened, the carrot sweetened, and the load lightened if the donkey is to be motivated into action. Eventually, the process reaches a stage where it becomes impractical. The rewards or incentives are so high that the profit is removed from the picture and the program grinds to a halt or in the occassion the participant reaches a "comfort zone" and doesn't need - or want - more comfort or carrots. The internal motivation is a lasting motivation - Work on getting that ignited for self and others!


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