Don't Let a Bad Attitude Creep into Your Head

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), January 9, 2006 | Go to article overview

Don't Let a Bad Attitude Creep into Your Head


Byline: Jim Pawlak

"Don't Let Others Rent Space in Your Head" by Gary Coxe, John Wiley & Sons, $24.95.

The sheer number of hours spent at work exposes us to numerous ways to let others rent space in our heads; these include interactions about deadlines, rumors, change, shifting priorities, negotiations, projects and meetings.

If the head-rental messages are perceived as negative, the usual reactions include defensiveness, fear, lack of trust, self-doubt, pointing blame, etc.

Such reactions promote "glass half empty" thinking and action - don't take risk; keep a low profile. Once immersed in the "glass half empty" phase, you doggedly look for the downside in every situation. Your misery loves company so you engage others with woe- is-me tales.

The result: Your performance suffers and your career comes to a dead end, which just reinforces your negative attitude.

Coxe introduces readers to a number of filters that heighten awareness of negative self-thinking, and remind them of the damage it does. The first is: "You can't change what you don't acknowledge."

If your actions are inconsistent with personal goals, you'll never reach them. If you don't acknowledge the inconsistency (i.e. you choose to put the blame for underachievement of your goals on others), you'll never reach them.

Next is: beware of "irrational optimism." People who decide to change often do a 180 and plunge headlong into goal-achievement deadlines. Most personal workplace-oriented goals can't involve finite deadlines because you can't control job assignments, changes in management, changes in the company, etc.

What you can control is your accountability for making progress toward your goals by doing the best job you can and looking for learning opportunities. …

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