Monday, 14 November 2011

Attitude Is A Choice

I get e-mails from BobProctor. I wanted to share a tidbit with you, as I feel it’s worth repeating:

‘Victor Frankl once wrote, "Everything can be taken from a person but one thing: the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitudes in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." Frankl was right. Attitude is a choice. You could be faced with a thousand problems, many or most over which you have absolutely no control. However, there is always one thing you are in complete and absolute control of and that is your own attitude.

When you surrender control of your attitude to what appears to be a negative situation, you will react to that situation. More often than not, reacting is inappropriate. On the other hand, if you were to remain objective, you would respond to the situation appropriately, thereby creating a winning situation.’

Bob is right. But, as a writer, how do you apply this idea to a character? I guess that depends on exactly who the character is and what he or she wants. A protagonist will have different goals and will react differently than an antagonist in the same situation. A character’s attitude can change throughout the story, but underneath everything, it’s his or her true nature that will shine through, and allow the reader to connect or disconnect, approve or disapprove with that character.

Attitude is what makes or breaks great characters. To put your character in a seemingly impossible situation, and seeing how they either react or respond is the stuff of wonderful storytelling. There’s always a way to rise above, as long as you have a positive attitude.

Remember: Act as if it were impossible to fail – Dorothea Brand


  1. How do you define "surrendering control of your attitude" and "remaining objective"? It seems to me that they are not clear-cut categories - in other words, we could argue about whether they fit a particular response. It's also not obvious to me that they're opposites.

  2. When we get sucked into someone else's negative world we must learn not to take things personally (it's hard, I know, but it's really not about you, it's about them), and detach by making a clear cut decision to respond, rather than react. This is what Bob Proctor was talking about: Attitude is the composite of your thoughts, feelings and actions. Your conscious mind controls feeling and ultimately dictates whether your feelings will be positive or negative by your choice of thoughts, then your body displays those choices through action and behavior.