A for Attitude

“The Problem is not the Problem; the Problem is Your Attitude about the Problem”

Captain Jack Sparrow in, “The Pirates of the Caribbean”

If you have ever ventured, to see the movie, “ The Pirates of the Caribbean”, then I’m sure you have come across Johnny Depp’s character Captain Jack Sparrow’s incongruent voice saying this. It was music for my ears, while I lapped up this hugely popular flick. “How true”, I thought.

I’m a Surgeon, by profession, in a very busy Mission Hospital. Since the days of Medical School, it was always my passion to pick the best Medical minds at my disposal, for a formula which will lead to success. I just wasn’t satisfied becoming a Doctor; my sojourn always was to become a successful one. My interactions, with these top notch Doctors, revealed one thing – Attitude. As my Plastic Surgery Professor, would famously say, “Just like a great building stands on strong foundation, so does success. And the foundation of Success is Attitude”. Yes, people, it’s not, ‘A’ for Apple but ‘A’ for Attitude that leads to success.

Attitudes are established ways of responding to people and situations that we have learned, based on the belief, values and assumptions we hold. Attitude become manifest through our behavior. It is attitude that determines how fast you achieve your goal or how well you acquire a set of skills or knowledge. Attitudes also provide a framework to solve the problem. A study done at Harvard University, found that when a person gets a job, 85% of the time it’s because of their attitude, and only 15% of the time because of how smart they are.

Attitude drives behavior, which further determines how you interpret a given event. Any pathway to success will be replete with several obstacles. Your attitude determines what those obstacles mean and therefore how well you deal with them. If you have a lousy attitude, you’ll see obstacles as threats and annoyances. Even if you overcome them, you’ll find the process frustrating, which will make future obstacles harder to cope with. If you’ve got a positive attitude, you’ll see obstacles as interesting or even fun. Even if you fail to overcome them, you’ll find the process invigorating, which will make future obstacles easier to overcome. I ran into a perfect example of this the other day. I was trying to find out a parking space on a two wheeler, when suddenly a car zipped around a blind corner and we would have crashed if we both hadn’t quickly braked. My heart skipped a beat. My immediate thought was that it’s a good thing that we both had quick reflexes for braking but I should have slowed down early. For me it was a bugle before accident and I promised myself to be careful. The car driver, a lady, with four children, looked at me with eyes of contempt while dishing out expletives. Clearly still furious she drove away faster which predisposes her to an imminent accident sometime later. Same event but different outcomes because of different attitudes. Everything in life is exactly like this. Stuff happens. Your attitude determines how you interpret and experience those events, and therefore strategies and tactics you’ll follow in the future. This is not to say that people who suffer from lousy attitudes don’t win sometimes. They do, but it’s always with massive hassle and complaint. When they finally win, they feel exhausted. Similarly, having an upbeat attitude doesn’t bulletproof you against failure. You’ll fail sometimes, but your attitude makes it easy to learn from your mistakes. And when you do win, you feel exhilarated.

For those of you who already feel that they do not possess it, there is good news. Attitude that leads to success can be developed. Nobody is born with it; otherwise men like Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ford, Sachin Tendulkar, and APJ Abdul Kalam wouldn’t be successful. The other day I was watching an old video of Ramakant Archrekar being interviewed about his famous pupil, Sachin Tendulkar. He was candidly telling about 5 characteristics of attitude that Tendulkar had, which eventually led him to be successful. These I found are universally true for everyone in every situation. I call it the, “5 U’s” of Attitude.

Charles Swindoll once said that, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. Sachin always wanted to be a fast bowler and was told by coaches that he cannot become one. He never lost the positivity and made it big with his batting. It is we who decide if we will remain positive or negative. No one else has a role to play in this.

Honesty with oneself is the main cog in the wheel called Success. If we aren’t honest with ourselves then chances are we won’t with everything else.

In all the years that Sachin played, critics never could find fault in his commitment. Every goal setting for success falls flat if there is lack of commitment. Our commitment should be 110% to be able to achieve what we plan.

You can never win if you do not believe that God has a role to play in every success that is achievable. World’s best Footballer, Argentina and Barcelona star, Lionel Messi once said, “When you do what you can’t do, God will do what you can’t”. Sachin himself was a highly religious guy.

Sun Tzu in his book, “The Art of War”, states that, “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”. We definitely try to win at all costs but with the wrong mindset and attitude. To win though we must be thinking positive and should get rid of that, “Stinking Thinking”, I call it.

So remember, always be positive in your actions and honest with yourself and others and remember to give 110% percent in everything you do. Have Faith in God and Believe with all your heart and mind that you are a winner, and you will then develop a winning attitude and you will be successful in life.

If there is one quote that I can suggest for you to live your life by is the one by Winston Churchil…. “ NEVER, NEVER, NEVER , GIVE UP”!!!.

Author’s Bio: Dr. Anupam Dey is a General Surgeon in a Mission Hospital at BISSAMCUTTACK, ODISHA. He is a thinker and a thought provoking writer.