Adjusting Your Attitude to Build Your Aptitude

Ask most managers and they will tell you the same thing: if it is an option between attitude and aptitude, attitude will win the day. Every time. That is because, whatever your innate ability or talents, a positive attitude can take you much further than aptitude alone. If you are motivated and willing to make the effort, there are very few skills that cannot be mastered quickly – thus allowing your attitude to build your aptitudes.

With the right attitude, you will have the flexibility to learn, the willingness to overcome challenges and difficult times, and the determination, tenacity, and resilience to convert adversity into opportunity. And if your outlook is positive, you are also going to find it easier to fit in to an organization or a team – and to have a significant impact on team performance.

People are attracted to those who feel “good” and who make them feel good. To people who generate a positive atmosphere and environment where others feel incentivized and appreciated. Simply put, attitude is key to success.

How do you adopt and maintain a positive attitude? You must learn to focus on the positive despite all the negative – so not that you have to ignore the negative, you accept it, but do not dwell on that part of the situation. Your focus and response to situations drives this mindset.


Shift Your Mindset

There are plenty of psychological tactics and habits that you can easily adopt to dynamize the way that you see the world, and yourself within it. Below we suggest five to start with:

  1. Remind yourself: You are in control. Realize first and foremost that your attitude is within your power to control. We all have a strong inner voice telling us how to react to and think about things. But remember that you are in control of this voice too. Attitude is a choice. You can decide to be better or bitter. It is truly up to you.
  2. Find your inner coach. Once you have understood that you are in control of how you think and feel, connect with that part of yourself that can coach you into a positive frame of mind. Recalibrate negative, defeatist, or anxious thoughts into powerful, determined, and confident ideas. Focus your mind on your objectives and how you are going to meet them.
  3. Define your objectives. Spend some time setting your goals and determining the benchmarks that will help you to work towards them. Track your progress positively and constructively. Work hard to maintain enthusiasm and a sense of moving forward as you strive to attain your objectives. Keep your eyes on the prize and do not be sidetracked by self-doubt or anxiety.
  4. Get tough with anxiety. Most of us will feel some level of anxiousness from time to time. But it is important to remember that anxiety is a sense of fear of what is to come, and most of the things we feel anxious about never come to pass. Take charge of your thinking and steer well clear of “what if” kinds of scenarios that are not contributing to finding solutions. Help yourself, by fighting your anxiety by focusing on what is happening right now. Focus on solutions and not on problems.
  5. Get active. Be busy, active, and purposeful. Fill your time as gainfully as you can. Apply yourself fully at work, and bust any stress or anxiety with physical activity. Whether it is an outdoor sport, dancing, or simply walking around the neighborhood, get active and let those endorphins do their work to help you.


Your Actions Speak Loudly About Your Character

Similarly, there are plenty of concrete things you can physically do in the workplace to generate positive vibes. Exhibiting a can-do attitude will influence those around you. A few of the many actions you can start taking or practice doing more of:

  • Be friendly towards others; can be as simple as smiling when you interact. Even when you are not face-to-face, smiling when you speak will influence your tone of voice.
  • Avoid complaining and putting up roadblocks when you work with others.
  • Be courteous to everyone, always. It is important to be empathetic and not only sympathetic towards your colleagues.
  • Be on time, on point, on target. Strive to always do your part without fail.
  • Be helpful. If you see an opportunity to help a colleague, make an offer if it is within your means.


Next time you are in a meeting, in lab, or in the office, try to do one or more of the suggestions above. Each week take a pause and reflect on the responses you receive, you might be surprised by the results. Kindness and thoughtfulness can go a long way in building a positive reputation.