“It’s your attitude and not your aptitude that determines your altitude.” This quote by Zig Ziglar has been playing prominently in my thoughts these past few weeks.

Funnily enough, a participant at a recent training session proved how important attitude is.

More Knowledge, More Possibilities

She knew some of the stuff I was covering, but not all of it. Assuming that what she already had was enough to get by in the world, her attention meandered.

She started to distract those around her by fiddling with her hand phone and insisting on talking to those nearest to her.

What a vast difference from other candidates who had similar knowledge as she did.

The others usually listened carefully. By doing so, they added more depth to their knowledge. “This will help me explain some things to my team,” they explained. There was awareness of how they could utilize the knowledge. A couple understood that the information would be handy when they held supervisory roles.

What You Cannot See

In a couple of training sessions for fresh graduates, I organized short debates. Initially, some were reluctant to take part in them. “That’s something we no longer have to do. After all we’re now working adults.” Though they didn’t verbalize it, their body language said it all.

The changed their stand when I explained that in some instances, people seeking promotions are put through debate-like discussions. And no, this is not something I made up. It’s what I was told by a senior officer. They are also elements of debating that comes in useful in various areas of life.

What if I hadn’t explained it to them? They would have lost out.

Watching them, I realized that attitude matters in all that we do. Even we can’t see the benefits, we should just give it our all.

It’s A Habit

How do you change your attitude? At the top of my list is to watch each and every one of our moves. By this I mean:

  • Observe Your Thoughts

For instance, does your mind tell you that details are not important? That it’s okay to put off doing something tough for another day? If yes, then you may want to get tough with yourself first!

  • Watch Your Emotions

It could be very nuanced. E.g. that niggling feeling of impatience when

you have to listen to familiar information. Or perhaps you feel you’re an expert on the subject discussed. So you get irritated when someone tries to help you on it.

  • Note Your Actions

Ahh… this is, of course, refers to groggily turning off alarms in the mornings. Always saying no to challenging projects for fear of failure is another.

I’ve realized I often I start things with great enthusiasm. Over time I lose interest. And bid them sayonara for eternity. Which is why I’m now trying to finish all those half-read books. Time to keep the fire burning bright constantly!

  • Check Your Energy Barometer

Some only put in a bit of energy into everything they do. Resulting in half-baked results. You would have observed this yourself. The more heart and energy you put in, the more successful the outcome.

Look At Everything Afresh

I’ve got to admit that I’m not the most patient person around.

Like the participant I spoke of earlier, I used to get extremely impatient when forced to listen to something I already know until I observed some senior practitioners.

They were familiar with basic facts and know-how for their respective areas. Yet, they continued to attend basic courses. The mystery of why they did so was cleared up one day.

At each session, they studied nuances of the subject. They explored new areas, delving deep into seemingly easy topics. Dig, dig, and dig deeper.

Their depth of knowledge now is quite amazing. And all from patiently and silently re-examining old knowledge from new angles.

Attitude can make or break us. I may not be able to change my attitude 180 degrees overnight. What I can do and am doing is to take small steps for change in various areas of life.

Sheela Prabhakaran is a writer and trainer who has a keen interest in people and nature. Her career started out in publishing followed by many years in Corporate Communication. Over time she has reached out to people of all walks of life through copywriting, writing books and articles. Her training experience includes Business English and Communication. She has embarked on an exciting new spiritual journey which sees her exploring more ways to share ideas on leading a healthier and happier life. She can be reached at