The Happiness Principles: Attitude is Everything

Any training program worth a lick is tough. Creating new habits or eliminating a bad habit is tough. And, although life is is full of ups and downs, good times and bad times, the consensus for most people is that life is pretty tough. So if everything is so difficult, how can we ever be successful?  I’m going let everyone in on a little secret: you have a choice.  That’s right – everyday, every action, every moment, good or bad, you have a choice. You can choose to work with yourself or you can work against yourself.  I can be a part of “Team Wes” or I can be “Team Wes’ Arch Nemesis.”

A good attitude is like your best friend and teammate. It can help you no matter what, pick you up when you get knocked down, support your efforts regardless of the results, celebrate your accomplishments, and is there to have a beer and laugh with you when you fail. Meanwhile bad attitudes are quite deceptive – and cunning!  They are only there to point out your faults, they laugh at you when you fall down, they think effort is only worthwhile if results are guaranteed, they convince you that you’re accomplishments aren’t good enough,  and  spit in your face and call you a bad name when you fail.

Now, everyone probably has experienced both of these scenarios via inner dialogue at some point or another.  So, how do we ensure that we’re working with ourselves, and not against? Here are some things that help me stay on “Team Wes” and avoid being “Wes’ Butthole Bully Arch-rival.”

Like we’ve said time and time again: realizing and acknowledging when we are going down the bad attitude path is key. Just writing the above paragraph is cathartic for me in the sense that it makes some of the effects of both good and bad attitudes tangible. Creating a frame work for what an attitude does and how it affects you helps you to embrace the good and combat the bad.

Focusing on what you can control and what matters
Like I talked about in the challenge seminar, so much of what manifests as a bad attitude lies in the uncontrollable past: a place that no matter how hard you try, cannot be changed.  Effort  and energy are also often wasted on things that ultimately don’t matter. I won’t delve into these people, actions, and things, but leave it to the reader to reflect and contemplate the things in life that cause them angst and stress but ultimately do not matter. Lets collectively focus on the actions wthinin our control, and the people/things that matter: ourselves, our family, and our friends.

To steal a concept from a great article Walker has written for Monday, you must practice having a good attitude when normally you wouldn’t.  Be happy about having to work late or deal with a difficult person at work. Celebrate a workout that is composed of all the things you suck at. Rejoice in social situations where you can’t partake in delicious treats and imbibements! Practice your good attitude daily.

In closing, I would like to give a quick testimonial to our Tuesday 5:30 and 6:30 am classes.  As most of you know, I now live in San Antonio with my lovely future wife and commute to the gym. Teaching on Tuesdays requires me to wake up around 4:00 AM and get on the road by about 4:10 or 4:15 am (hence my stylish hair). Starbucks does not open until 6 AM so I trade in my delicious Americano for Chevron gas station coffee.  Despite all of this, I consider Tuesday morning a treat in my week, mainly because everyone always seem to have a smile on their face and a joke in their pocket that early in the morning.  This is what makes coaching at CrossFit Austin so enjoyable – working with people that brighten your day.  I won’t pretend that we don’t deal with folks on the other end of the attitude spectrum, but our hope is that the attitudes of the coaches and athletes will rub off on those around us that struggle with the negative demons.  So look inside yourself and commit to being your best teammate and get rid of that bad-attitude nemesis in your brain holding you back.

Picture via found @ The Happiness Project