Publicity May 2016

Attitude control

The leadership Japan series

We can control our attitude, but often we don’t. There are few things we can manage completely, but our attitude has to rank at the top of the list of things we can. So, you would think we would all be brilliant in this area, but we aren’t. Why do we have problems?

Part of the issue can be allowing past failures to sap our mental fortitude. In our mind, we mentally re-run the film of things we regret or events we don’t want to remember, but do anyway. No amount of self-discipline seems able to shield us from the past. We seem drawn to flashbacks, re-living past episodes where we fell short or failed.

We are really creative, too; we don’t just allow the past to wipe out our positive attitude, we inject the future. We project and start imagining all sorts of failures and issues we might suffer, before they ever occur.

The combination of past realities and future possibilities can be a powerful mix to drag us into a downward spiral, where the world seems bleak and dark—and we are hopeless. No matter how many self-affirmations we do or how positive we try to make ourselves, these fears weigh us down.

Think in the present
What can we do about it? Try to “live in day-tight compartments”. This means we focus 100% of our energy and attention on what is facing us today and don’t allow the past and future to impinge on our attitude.

Here is the crucial mental shift we have to make. Don’t try to block out what happened in the past—it’s not possible. Instead, recall it but don’t worry about it. That is the crucial difference: acknowledge the past happened, but don’t worry about it. We can’t go back and change it. Keep the focus totally on today—on what we can control—and concentrate our energy and efforts there.

The same applies to the future. Of course we should consider what might happen in the future—it is to be hoped we will be spending quite a bit of time there. Again, consider, and prepare for, the future, but don’t worry about it. The difference between the two approaches is huge.

Flick the switch and look at what is right in front of you now. Work on that. Random thoughts about the future will wander into our consciousness, so write them down and capture the issues. Call them out and work on ameliorating them, but don’t worry about them.

Be positive
When we think about controlling today, what we read and to whom we speak will have an impact on our attitude. Find positive information, including in newspapers, magazines, books, articles, and on Facebook and LinkedIn posts.

Be aware of the grubby details on everything ugly and negative, but skip them. That actually means skipping most of the news on television, because you can’t control what is coming up next. At least with written text—online and offline—you can control your intake.

Let’s be very picky about what we feed our minds.

Mix only with good people
People are the other key consideration. As much as possible reduce the contact with, and influence of, negative people, avoiding complainers and those with a negative mindset. You may be forced into close proximity with negative people due to your workplace, but keep that exposure to a minimum. See them as radioactive and avoid all unnecessary contact.

Find people who are positive and upbeat—and spend time with them. There are fewer of this variety, but they are around; soak up, and contribute to, their positive vibe. Look for organisations where the positive congregate and join them.

Be focused
The past, the future and the negative erode our positive attitude so, as a priority, let’s organise our life to deal with these issues. When we do that, life gets easier, better and happier. “It is all in the mind” is ancient wisdom, but still true.

You’re the boss
It is quite interesting that our clients come from just about every industry you can imagine, but we have noticed some common requests for improving team performance.

The four most popular areas are leadership, communications, sales and presentations. Although we started in New York in 1912, in Japan we deliver 90% of our training in Japanese. Also, having launched in Tokyo 53 years ago, we have been able to master how to bring global best practices, together with the required degree of localisation.

You’re the boss. Are you fully satisfied with your current results? If not, and you would like to see higher skill and performance levels in your organisation (through training delivered in Japanese or English), drop us a brief note at