A long time ago a friend relayed something that has stuck with me through the years: if you meet one person and think “what an asshole,” okay. If you meet another person and think “another asshole” okay. But if you meet ten people in your day and you think of each “what an asshole,” maybe in reality it is you who is the asshole. Attitude counts.
Friends, my children and former colleagues know that I created a word to describe a negative attitude that can result in the situation described above: a shattitude. It was my way of combining the words shitty and attitude. I use the term when talking about my experiences with people- “Everyone at that meeting was really annoying me and then I realized that I had gone into the meeting with a shattitude.” I have also used it when challenging a complaining child or a colleague who was complaining vociferously about everything and everyone: “Do you think you might have had a shattitude that colored your experiences?”
It is often only after the grumbling about all the difficult people we encounter that we pause to think about whether our own attitude shaped the type of interactions we ended up having. Motivational speakers will talk about setting your daily intentions and all that jazz but it is hard to take time to set your intention when you often don’t set your alarm clock with enough time to get out the door. You need a strategy that will work for you.
I certainly have a long way to go myself but particularly when I know I may face a difficult conversation or meeting, I make a conscious effort to choose a Grattitude. A grattitude is having a grateful attitude for being able to experience everything in my day, for what the other folks I am in relationship with that day bring to this world and our encounter and for as many of the things I am able to pause in my day to appreciate. This doesn’t magically dissolve conflict and evaporate annoyance but it does give perspective which helps immensely.
Today, while racing past our kitchen stools to get to my wallet, I made a mental note of how grateful I am for my husband who just fixed one of those stools which had literally been coming apart. If I didn’t have his love and skills I would have had to buy a new stool (or perhaps I would be grateful to steal a page from his “there is no household problem that a Youtube how-to video can’t fix” approach). I focused on that instead of the Home Depot box that still rests in the dining room despite the promises he made that it would be recycled right away when I first asked about it three days ago.
Trying to be conscious of the attitude you bring is one thing you can do to effect your experience. When you are most rushed, stressed and sleep deprived is when you most need to choose your ‘tude. Try putting a sign like the one below in your closet right next to your shoes so you can pause to remember you can choose which attitude to wear.
You can also add the image as a calendar attachment for a difficult meeting. Wear it well and let me know how it goes!
Originally published at medium.com