perceptions and perspectives of what is

Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.
— Khalil Gibran

Attitude is the way we see things, our outlook; it is how we choose to respond to life’s challenges and opportunities. In addition, from an esoteric perspective, our attitude is our “brand”, it is how people see us and respond to us.

We often hear people say, “that person has a great attitude”, or “they really have a bad attitude”. These comments reflect the perception of the observer. When we are around a person we like or agree with, we will often conclude that the person has a positive attitude. On the other hand, if there is perceived anger, fear, doubt, criticism or conflict, the person will most likely be viewed as having a negative attitude.

On occasion, we may find ourselves thinking negatively and realize that it is time for an “attitude adjustment”. Self-awareness of our thoughts and feelings can provide us with the opportunity to restore balance in our attitude.

Attitude can be viewed from 2 primary perspectives. First, there is the inner point of view. This consists of what you are aware of and often what you are not aware of – both of which are manifested in your actions and words. The inner outlook is analogous to a photo lens in your “mind’s eye”. It requires being present to know when the lens needs cleaning, when more light is necessary and when to capture the moment. Ultimately, it creates a clear and accurate picture of the moment. However, should the mind’s eye become distracted from the present, the photo will likely be less clear and therefore the reality a bit distorted.

The second perspective is the outside view. This is how your attitude is perceived by others. Observing individuals will either consciously or unconsciously pick up on positive and negative energy and will be able to identify the authenticity of another’s attitude. A sincere and soft, yet strong kindness will generate a sense of trust and optimism. A message of anger, fear, false optimism, a forced smile or false modesty are often perceived by others as negativity.

There are numerous elements which compose both your inner attitude and the attitude you convey to others. This exercise will focus on 6 key components, your:

Character: This includes the features and traits which form the very essence of who you are. The consistency in your actions, is a strong measure of your level of authenticity and balance.

Mental state: Your ability to be present and see things as they are. By being present, you will achieve greater clarity and be less reactive in your thoughts and actions.

Moods: Your emotional state changes are a reflection of your ability to be present to your feelings. A balanced attitude is the ability to be at ease with and accept the feelings your are experiencing.

Temperament: This is the way you respond or react to an event, situation or person. To the observer, the way you speak often reveals more than what you say.

Are you responding calmly with an even voice or reacting with anxious inflection in your voice? Authenticity and true self are perceived through the discerning ear.

Posture: Your inner being manifests through your body. Body language may reveal the attitude or state of mind of a person.

Perspectives: Your belief and value system form the core from which you bring meaning to what you see and experience. What matters is not the situation, but how you perceive it. This becomes your truth– the most outer part of the lens through which you filter what you see. You are not responsible for what you feel, or think - you are however 100% responsible for your actions.



“The exercise regarding Attitude gave me the opportunity to look back and reflect on why my personality and attitude are the way they are. I’ve rarely stopped to look back at my life and reflect upon the people and events that have influenced me.

The more I’ve developed the habit of reflection, the more I’ve come to realize that people, events and situations play a significant part in the very perspectives we see and the way we experience life. By not being aware of key people and events that have influenced us, we can become trapped in the persona of ourselves that we’ve unknowingly created.

It’s never true that who we are today is all we’ll ever be. It requires reflection on the past to help us understand the “us” as we are today. With that understanding, we can challenge beliefs that are holding us back and encourage the growth of skills and traits we like.

After living through some tough personal and business times, I began to gain perspective on my challenges and realized that by accepting ‘what is’, I was able to see the part I played in my problems. Furthermore, I’ve developed the habit of gratitude for the many blessings in my life, no matter what else is going on.

Feeling grateful helped me create a little ledge on which to stand in the midst of what seemed to be a wall of despair. And I think it comes back to attitude. I realized I could almost always take at least one step forward. And with each step I moved a little further away from the disappointment I had experienced. Attitude helps you keep going and distance (time or miles) helps it become smaller, less important.

The final lesson I would like to share is in the area of problem solving. It became apparent that big problems can be overcome by breaking them down into smaller “challenges” and by taking one step at a time towards solving each one.

The outcome may not be perfect, but it’s far better than doing nothing or trying to hide.”
Dave C. Entrepreneur, Business Innovator

When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude.
— Elie Wiesel


Questions for Self-Exploration

The content, structure and flow of this exercise are designed to guide you in:

  • exploring the roots of your present attitude

  • evaluating your attitude and how you support it

  • examining what you are communicating to others

  • applying your increased awareness to build positive and productive connections with others