Attitude

The importance & effect of Attitude on a person's life, can never be emphasized enough. Attitudes are often-times called as mirrors of the mind. Accomplishment, as Prof. Erwin Schell put it, is not solely determined by competence & facilities, but instead requires the vital catalyst ... i.e. Attitude.


Well, why am I talking about Attitude ? This is a topic about which several tomes have been written about, umpteen lectures made and papers published ... yet one thing that's missing is ... the realization of its importance has not permeated to every section of our society.


A case-in-point was a recent conversation I had with an auto-rickshaw driver on the streets of Bangalore city.


This is how the journey (er.. conversation) went ... few days ago, whilst waiting for a ride - i flagged down an empty auto-rickshaw which was making its presence felt all over town, the reason being, the driver was "playing" some movie songs at full volume on speakers that i must say croaked at full blast rather than played the music ... I could hardly discern the lyrics of the song and all i could hear was pure unadulterated noise at decibel levels i felt were sufficient to drown out the sounds from a dozen airplanes taking off simultaneously! ...


Anyways, I hopped onto the auto (short for auto-rickshaw) and screamed my destination to the driver .. who simply nodded in agreement ... and off we went snaking through the trraffic- the start of a memorable ride ! oh btw, i did get quite a few stares a.k.a. dirty looks from other folks on the road ... who seemed not too impressed with the assault on their ear-drums already under considerable duress owing to the incessant honking of & noises from a zillion other automobiles on the choked streets of the city ... 


Impervious to the stares from others outside the auto, i decided to try some small talk with the driver in the hope that i could get him to turn off the "music" which at the time seemed like something that unrepentant criminals would be subject to, to make them spill the beans. All my efforts at getting the driver to talk seemed futile ... i guess i've had more success during my 1:1 conversations with my team members at office.


As we waded through the traffic, i was giving some serious thought to buying a pair of noise-cancellation headphones, which until then seemed pretty pointless to me. Well, i did not have to worry about having to endure the "musical" torture for long ... our auto was overtaken by an SUV (really neat looking BMW X3) at which point, the music ceased abruptly (wow ! miracles do happen !) and little did i realize that i was about to listen to some choice expletives that would shame the pants off of most people ... i saw this as an opportunity to start talking and boy was the driver eager to talk!... he gave me an earful (actually several earfuls would be more appropriate) on how folks "become rich" and "acquire" their "ill-gotten gains" by "swindling the government", the "poor hard-working workers", etc, etc.


The flow of words continued unabated for a while, providing me a fair insight into the driver's "thought processes" and "attitudinal make-up" .... realizing that he did not want any advice, all i did was give him a patient hearing (yes, not exactly the best thoughts to fill the mind! ) and murmur a few words that seemed appropriate for the situation ... after a while the verbal diarrhoea stopped for a few moments (guess he was trying to catch his breath) which afforded me a fairly good chance to sneak in a few words (sentences) side-ways and try to see if there was any "scope for change" during the short period of our journey together ...


All hopes were dashed, when he continued his tirade and bolstered his arguments based on information he had supposedly gathered from a television series! that focussed on tax-evasion and other such illegal activities by a handful of "rich" people ... this juicy information coupled with his present circumstances, provided adequate fodder & fuel for his cannons to go blazing at the slightest "provocation". At the end of the journey, i must admit i did have some interesting perspectives as well as a little re-affirmation of the role of Attitude.


Without adopting an holier than thou stance, all i can say is repeat the oft-repeated cliche .. Attitude does help determine Altitude ! and as David J. Schwartz says in his book The Magic of Thinking BIG, "How you think determines how you act. How you act in turn determines: How others react to you". Generous doses of (Positive) - Thinking + Attitude can take us a long way ... up !


I must say, i'm truly motivated to pen a few more thoughts on this subject ... will reserve those for upcoming posts !


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Comments:

I have never heard of you, I was directed here via reddit.

That you work fun Sun suggests to me that you live reasonably comfortably on an above average wage in a prosperous developed country.

Reading your reaction to having to put up with excessively loud music for a short journey, and your attitude towards a man who is /pulling you in a cart/ to make his living has surprised me.

Having a positive attitude is a pathetic suggestion for helping poverty in india, and you should be ashamed of your ignorance and your complacency .

Posted by lofi on September 15, 2007 at 10:54 AM IST #

Hi "lofi",

Firstly, thank you very much for taking the time to read through my post and providing your valuable feedback ... Very much appreciated.

Frankly, i had'nt realized how this post could be "interpreted" in ways little different from how it was intended and the reactions it could elicit!

I'll just make two points ...

one, the auto-rickshaw is not a hand-pulled cart. Its an automobile that is "driven" by a driver and can accommodate anywhere between 1 - "n" number of passengers (i say "n" because at times they manage to cram more people into a vehicle than sardines in a can);

two, i fully agree that just a positive attitude will not help eradicate poverty nor solve any or all of the world's ills ... however, i truly believe that Attitude has a key role to play in any transformation .. as the proverb goes ... "To everyone is given the key to heaven; the same key opens the gates of hell".

Winston Churchill once said, "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference"; William James captured the point aptly by saying "The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes".

Ultimately, "There are no menial jobs, only menial attitudes".

I'll sign-off this comment with a quote from Oscar Wilde, "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." Changing our attitudes & thought processes are catalysts that will aid in any transformation.

Posted by John Morrison on September 15, 2007 at 02:47 PM IST #

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