How Important is Your Attitude?

How Important is Your Attitude?

Learn what attitudes are and why they are important.

Everyone has opinions about what they prefer and what they dislike. These opinions, or attitudes, are a core component that determines how you interact with people and approach the world around you. Some people have a naturally positive attitude while others might be more negative or neutral. Your attitude about different things, and life in general, can greatly affect how you move through the world.

What Is an Attitude?

“An attitude is an evaluation of a psychological object, represented in dimensions such as good versus bad, pleasant versus unpleasant, or likable versus dislikeable” (Svenningsson et al., 2021). While it is possible to feel ambivalent (neither good nor bad) about something, most people hold strong attitudes about the things and people that mean the most to them.

Attitudes are important because they can determine how we interact with the world around us. Attitude can also be an important predictor of various areas of well-being. Having a more positive affect, or attitude, toward life in general, has been associated with a number of benefits.

Benefits of Positive Attitude:

● Higher income

● Greater job satisfaction

● Better social relationships

● Lower probability of drug use

● Better physical well-being

● Better problem-solving

● More creativity

● Positive perceptions of self and others (Lyubomirsky et al., 2005)

As you can see, your attitude can affect almost every aspect of your life including physical health, social relationships, and your career. Do you feel like you have a positive attitude or does negativity get in your way? Keep reading to learn more about how attitudes are formed and what you can do to change them if you want to.

“Happiness depends on your mindset and attitude.”
― Roy T. Bennett

Where Do Attitudes Come From?

Attitudes have been studied in psychology for quite some time as scientists have tried to figure out how people can hold such vastly different beliefs. A few basic theoretical frameworks have been developed. According to scientists, attitude development can be described in different contexts which will be discussed in more detail below.

This framework was developed in the 1970s and is commonly referred to as the “ABCs of Attitude”. Each of the three components of this model put together is thought to make up your attitude. Let’s explore the three components below (Hill et al., 1977).

A – Affective: The feelings (or affect) you have about something can show your attitude.

B – Behavioral: Your actions, or behavior, towards a situation or person reveals your attitude.

C – Cognitive: Your thoughts or beliefs about something influence your attitude.

This framework states that your feelings, actions, and thoughts about someone or something determine your attitude. To test this theory out, try and think about something which you have a positive attitude toward such as a friend, pet, or favorite hobby. You likely have positive feelings, behaviors, and thoughts toward this thing. To explore this theory further, check out the video below.

Are Attitudes Contagious?

Another psychological framework for attitude development leans toward a social explanation. Any number of the things in your environment can influence your attitude including but not limited to family, friends, media, culture, and conditioning. Many children share the same attitudes as their parents simply because that is what they have been exposed to and are familiar with. The attitude of those around can be contagious if you are not mindful. Paying close attention to people’s words and behaviors can help you figure out what attitudes are helpful for you to adopt and what attitudes are detrimental to self-growth and personal development.

Values and Beliefs

Values are strongly held beliefs that are key to shaping your overall attitude. For example, many people are organ donors because they believe in the value of preserving human life. Others do not participate in organ donation themselves due to religious values. Neither attitude is necessarily wrong nor right– this example simply illustrates how differing beliefs and values can shape attitude.

In general, values and beliefs are more fixed than attitudes. One reason for this is that knowledge is an integral part of forming an attitude (Hill et al., 1977). When you acquire new or different knowledge, this may help shift or change your attitude, even if only slightly. This is exciting because it means you have the ability to modify your attitude if it is hurting rather than helping you.

In Sum

Your attitude plays a large role in most aspects of your life and will help determine how you interact with the world around you. Your attitude consists of your feelings, behaviors, and thoughts toward a person or thing. A positive attitude has been shown to have a number of benefits including better physical well-being and a more positive perception of yourself and others (Lyubomirsky et al., 2005). If you have a negative attitude, trying to develop an attitude of mindfulness or success might help your physical and emotional well-being.

References

● Hill, R. J., Fishbein, M., & Ajzen, I. (1977). Belief, Attitude, Intention, and Behavior: An Introduction to Theory and Research. Contemporary Sociology, 6(2), 244. https://doi.org/10.2307/2065853

● Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., & Diener, E. (2005). The benefits of frequent positive affect: Does happiness lead to success? Psychological Bulletin, 131(6), 803–855.

● Svenningsson, J., Höst, G., Hultén, M., & Hallström, J. (2021). Students’ attitudes toward technology: Exploring the relationship among affective, cognitive and behavioral components of the attitude construct. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 32(3), 15311551