Wisdom Workout: Does Your Attitude Need an Upgrade?

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By Susan Velasquez

Four ways we habitually approach our lives determine whether we operate as an energy drain or a vibrant participant in our day-to-day reality. 

The essence of self-management is our ability to choose our attitudes and behaviors. You may define yourself as a ‘make it happen’ person. You face challenges daily and won’t give up until you have succeeded, no matter the cost. 

Perhaps your natural way of approaching your daily challenges may be more cautious. Though you have many future dreams, you sometimes can’t seem to find the motivation to ‘grab the brass ring’ that appears to be the breakfast of champions who you have heard about all your life. You are sometimes left wondering why you can’t muster up the enthusiasm to fulfill your personal expectations. 

Massive amounts of energy are expended daily as we each do our best to be responsible adults. The roller-coaster of good days, bad days, and memorable and mundane experiences continue as our norm.

It would be reasonable to assume that changing this dynamic would be complicated. I am going to share four ways of managing our emotional responses. Once you identify which ones have become silent partners with more influence than you’ve realized, you will be in a perfect position to reset your energetic response to work in your best interests.

Four attitudes that influence our experience are resentment, guilt, regret and enthusiasm. Here is how they each impact our ability to accomplish what we set out to do. 

When we don’t want to do something but suck it up and do it anyway because we have to, the companion emotion is resentment. Resentment is a power player and demands a lot of attention. The result is our energy level gets heavy. We do it, but our attitude lets everyone know how much we hate it. When we don’t want to do something but believe we should, we invite guilt to the party. Guilt is a passive player and manipulates us into believing that guilt is the price we must pay to continue to tell ourselves we are still good people.  

When we want to do something but always have an excuse to push it into the future, we pile up massive regrets. “I should have, could have, would have, if only…but now it is too late. Life has passed me by, and I had so many dreams and plans. Poor me.” Regret brings its backpack and securely ties it to us to ensure we never get too happy. 

The last attitude is enthusiasm. Enthusiasm in this context means that we invest the same energy to do what we want to do so that the endeavor flows easily. We choose to participate, and we fully embrace the decision. Choose is the operative word. We use our right to choose whatever we take on. We don’t half-heartedly participate. We use our ability to fully commit our full intention and attention to what we have decided to do. The definition of enthusiasm is: Something causing a feeling of excitement and active interest.

The secret to harnessing enthusiasm is that the ‘something causing a feeling of excitement and active interest’ is your wholehearted willingness to take ownership of your most powerful possession, your sacred privilege to make each of your life decisions with a firm commitment to bring the highest and best contribution you can generate. 

Susan is a longtime local. She has written for many incarnations of our hometown paper, from The Coastline in the 90s to The Laguna Beach Independent. She is so appreciative to be a part of our village network. susanvelasquez.com.

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