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From Attitude to Action: Dinner with the Haves and the Have-Nots

There are two basic concepts that affect our attitude about things: what we have (the way things are) and what we want (the way we would like things to be). If we are unhappy it is generally because what we have and what we want are not the same. We can change what we want, change what we have, or choose to do nothing.

Changing what we have requires action.

I have a book that I no longer have use for. If I want to change that, I have several options. I could give that book away, donate it to charity, I could sell it or even toss it out with the trash. Each one of those actions will change what I have, so I am left to only make a decision about which course of action is the best one to take in my situation. My neighbor wanted to read that book and giving it to her would help us both. On the other hand, I could really use another tax deduction and donating it to charity would get me a tax receipt. Selling it could give me some extra cash that I could use for another book… you get the idea.

Changing what we want requires a shift in attitude.

Before we can change what we want, we need to understand our wants a little better by asking ourselves a few questions.

  • Why do I want ______?

    This is possibly the most important question of all because it goes straight to the root of our desire.

  • Does wanting ______ improve my life in any way?

    Does your desire make you happy, keep you motivated, or make you feel like a failure?

  • Would I be better off if I didn’t want ______?

    An extension of  the previous question.

  • Is there any valid reason for me to want ______?

    If the answer is no, the solution should be obvious.

Once you understand your wants you are in a better position to evaluate their priority in your life and whether they should change or not. Further, by understanding those wants you can more easily begin to shift your attitude about them as needed to make them healthier, more productive and more in line with your goals.

As for the final option, doing nothing requires absolutely nothing and will return exactly what you’ve invested. Instead of doing nothing, are you willing to take action and shift your attitude?

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