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Attitudes & Beliefs

February 23, 2015

Ever have one of those days when no matter how good you felt when you woke up, it seemed like the world just wouldn’t let you keep that smile? Many people find it difficult enough to inspire and maintain their own positive attitudes; they find if even more difficult when their work environment and/or colleagues actively promote negativity. Even on a good day, a co-worker who has nothing good to say can make the people around him/her feel miserable.

Developing a positive attitude and maintaining it can be simple. The steps involved in creating positive thoughts and identifying the sources of negativity in your life can be as simple as ABC!

Attitudes & Beliefs:

Changing our thoughts and beliefs about an event can change how we feel about the event and ourselves. Dr. Albert Ellis designed a simple way to think about this process using ABC to represent the ideas:

A – the Antecedent or event

B – our Beliefs about the event

C – the Consequences of the event

If we have rational beliefs about ourselves and the world, we can have a positive attitude, a winning attitude based on rational and reasonable beliefs about ourselves and world.

Here are a couple examples of how it works:

Positive Attitude-

A – Antecedent (what happened) “My supervisor counseled me about an error I made at work”

B – Beliefs about myself and my work: If my beliefs are rational and positive “I am a good person”. It is okay for me to make mistakes. I can learn from my errors. I usually do a great job at work.” – then it will be easier for me to acknowledge the error and accept my supervisors corrections.

C – Consequences of the event: I might feel disappointed or embarrassed that I made an error. I might feel glad that it was brought to my attention, so I can learn from it and improve. I would continue to feel that I am good at my job and maintain a sense of pride in my accomplishments.


Negative Attitude-

A – Antecedent (what happened) “My supervisor counseled me about an error I made at work”

B – Beliefs about myself and my work: “I am terrible at work, I always make stupid mistakes and I am incompetent” OR “It wasn’t my fault or they are just being picky.”

C – Consequences of the event: I might feel depressed and unworthy, or angry and wanting to “get even” with those at work. In either case, I would not end up feeling good about myself, my job and those around me.

Making the change

First, listen to your thoughts. What are you saying to yourself about the situation?

Second, ask yourself if what you are saying is accurate. Is it based upon facts or old irrational ideas about yourself and life?

If the messages are true, then proceed to correctly handle the situation.

If the messages are untrue, then get a pencil and paper and write down what you are telling yourself. Why write it down? Oftentimes we really don’t listen to what we are saying to ourselves, yet we act on those messages as if they were true. Writing them down helps us evaluate and see which are accurate and which are not.

Confront the inaccurate statements and rewrite them to be accurate.

Replay the ABC’s using the new accurate statements and note the difference in your feelings about yourself and the situation.

Practice, practice, practice! Listen to others statements and see what you hear in their statements. Are they making accurate statements? What could they say or do differently to handle the situation in a more objective and positive manner.

Let me know, what strategies do you find helpful in minting a positive attitude in the face of negativity?

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