By Richard B. Secord
Your attitude will dramatically affect your altitude in career advancement. We have heard it all before that a positive attitude will enhance your achievement level, as well as favorably affect your personal life and health. Of course, this mindset is not easily achievable for the majority of the population. The individuals who start and end each day with a positive outlook sometimes are questioned by their associates, who may find this difficult to achieve or believe. So is it a genetic behavioral pattern we inherit or is this state of mind achievable by daily conscious reinforcement? There are several points of view on the topic.
An article Tori DeAngelis wrote in 2004 notes, “Psychologists who study attitudes agree that environmental factors—in particular, the ‘nonshared environment,’ or a person’s individual experiences outside the family, are consistently stronger in predicting attitudes than genetic ones, at least among adults. In addition, it’s highly doubtful there are any specific genes for any given attitudes: Instead, attitude proclivity probably funnels through other mechanisms, such as personality, that spring from genes that influence a person’s neurochemistry in areas such as impulse control.”
Many studies support the theory that a positive attitude leads to a healthier lifestyle and, therefore, longevity. In 2012 Dr. Gary Small, director of the UCLA Center on Aging said, “There’s an interaction between personality and physiology. It makes sense that being more positive causes less stress and seems to get people on the right track to live better.”
If individuals have the misconception that they have no control over their own behavioral outlook, then their inner drive to strengthen a positive attitude is diminished. The studies surmise that your attitude, then, is a result of your upbringing, your environment, and how you personally reinforce this personally trait. Therefore, it is up to you to choose your attitude that will enhance your chances of gaining altitude along your career path.
Surrounded by Positive Thinkers
Another strong belief is to surround yourself with positive thinkers. This creates the environment that you will succeed and surpass the goals, both personally and professionally, that you strive to achieve. When you are developing a team of associates, keep in mind that one negative thinker with a strong personality will continue to undermine the entire team and attempt to sway this negative perception to one or more associates to reinforce their projected outcome.
My recommendation is to hire for skills, experience, and attitude. Often, this last aspect is judged to be not as important as the first two qualifications. Some managers still believe that an attitude can be augmented in short order once the associate is hired. As I have experienced, an individual’s positive attitude is a process that starts developing in the early stages of life and is continuous throughout his or her lifetime, if he or she has the strength to reinforce this personality trait. However, dramatic experiences may occur that will test the ability to remain focused on the life goal of a positive outlook.
Depression has been proven to be attributed to illness in every stage of life. That said, in order for an individual diagnosed with minor depression to be elevated from this state, it would make sense to surround him or her with positive-minded associates to enhance the recovery period. I realize this is a broad statement, but here is what Kleinman wrote in the International Journal of Psychological Studies in 2004: “The pattern of human depression reflects complex interrelations and interactions among the individual, culture, and the social systems where people live. There is growing evidence supporting the position that culture has an effect on the degree to which we express depressive feelings.”
Continue to Research
I have touched on just a few examples of this broad subject, and I encourage you to gain a more in-depth understanding of this topic to enable you to hire, lead, and train associates to produce the best results. Through continued research on this topic, you will gain access to current studies worldwide in several different cultures, enabling you to enhance your own career altitude. In short, it is important to cultivate our younger generations and train our associates on the basic concepts of a positive attitude and enhance this knowledge with studies that show attitude’s affect on career altitude.
Richard B. Secord is a sales consultant and trainer and a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran.