• Shagun Agarwal

Attitude Determines Altitude in Life

Updated: Oct 6, 2019


On December 10, 1914, a massive fire explosion erupted in a town in New Jersey state and completely damaged ten buildings of Thomas’s Edison's plant. A lot of effort was taken to put down the fire but the chemicals inside the buildings only aggravated the condition. Later, at the accident site, Thomas Edison said to the New York Times, "Although I am over 67 years old, I'll start all over again tomorrow. It is an opportunity to re-build." The legendary inventor stood by his words and started the process of rebuilding the site from the next morning itself; this he did without firing any of his employees. Edison could have cried in sorrow or in anger or would have become depressed. But even an overnight loss of about $23 million was not enough to shake his determination and willpower. He is a perfect example of someone who developed an attitude of converting pain into strength, struggle into opportunity and fear into prudence. He not only practiced total control over their emotions but also as a great leader inculcated the same attitude in his employees whereby his manager after the event said, “There's only one thing to do, and that is to jump right in and rebuild."

For Thomas Edison, not only was his aptitude a determining factor in his success but was his attitude. Here, the attitude didn’t change the problem, but it made it a lot easier to handle the crisis. There is a very famous quote which says, “no problem is as big as your attitude towards it”. A lot of things happen in our lives which just seem out of the control. However, we do have complete control over our attitude towards the problem. The situation becomes manageable if you understand that your response in your hands.

If life gives you one reason to stumble and fall, reply back with ten reasons to get up and start walking again. There is an opportunity in the face of adversity, only one needs to have an eye for that. I personally believe that failure is a failure only when you consider it as a failure. Successful people are known for an attitude of giving themselves the permission to fail so they can expand their limits and learn new things.

We all have heard the legendary story of David and Goliath. Goliath was a giant who was the menace to the villagers. David once told his brother, ‘why don’t you destroy the goliath with a weapon to which his brothers replied ‘well don’t you see that the goliath is too big. He is just too big to hit’. David replied, ‘maybe he is too big to hit but for me, he is too big to miss’. With this strength of mind and a change in attitude, he killed goliath with a sling. A quote by Mahatma Gandhi fits in very well here “Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even If I didn't have it in the beginning”. A change in attitude from too big to hit to too big to miss grants the ability to accomplish and win over anything.

Imagine one day at your workplace 2 of your team members felt sick, didn’t come to the office and the complete deliverables fall upon you. This indeed is a difficult day and how much ever you try, some things in life are not in your control but how you convert this day as an opportunity to showcase your skills, your ability to handle multiple projects and at the same time challenge your own limits makes all the difference. You can do extra work, manage stuff, stay calm and show your seniors how well poised you are up for challenging situations. How do you approach that situation determines your attitude, success and in the long term gives you a competitive edge.

Psychologist Carol Dweck has spent her entire career studying attitude and performance, and her latest study shows that your attitude is a better predictor of your success than your IQ. According to Dweck, ‘This didn’t work, and I’m a problem solver, so I’ll try something else.’”

It is said that attitude is the most important word in the English language. Your attitude is your powerful business card that you carry with you all the time and that no one can steal from you. William James of Harvard University said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind”.

A study attributed to Harvard University found that when a person gets a job, 85% of the time it is because of their attitude, and only 15% of the time because of how smart they are and how many facts and figures they know. Surprisingly, almost 100% of education dollars go to teach facts and figures which account for only 15% of success at work!

Energy and attitude is contagious. A positive, never-give-up and an innovative attitude at workplace raise the level of productivity of everyone at a workplace, fosters team building, communication, and boost employee morale. All these have a significant impact on the company’s bottom line.

Whether you are an executive or a worker, you attitude rubs on your staff, customers, suppliers, and investors. You can either consider a glass half empty, half full or re-fillable.


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© 2019 by Shagun Agarwal

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