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What’s a Winning “Attitude” in Business?

What’s a Winning “Attitude” in Business?

The word “attitude” is defined in the dictionary as “a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.” In other words, it is a prevailing view that a person holds towards people and perhaps life in general and can be either positive or negative (and both in specific or general terms). To have a “winning” attitude then is to see people and business life in a very optimistic way and to stay focused on what author John Assaraf calls “our most positive thoughts” in order to start the process of bringing about change in the real word. What Assaraf means here is that each and every one of us are where we are in our lives at any particular point in time, as a result  of our internal thoughts or as a consequence of the narrative we have about our future potential. And these thoughts boil down to specific words that describe what we see to be happening around us all the time. For some people, these words will be broadly negative and pessimistic (and he argues life will be broadly disappointing with dreams largely unfulfilled), at one end of the spectrum, and positive and optimistic at the other (and, he argues, life will conversely be broadly fulfilling with dreams more often achieved and even exceeded rather than not). Hence to have a “winning attitude” is to have as much of this former mentally optimistic viewpoint as possible.

Naturally, the realist in many people (and some might say cynic) will say this is not just positive thinking, but more like “blind optimism” with all its attendant risks of frustration when obstacles which life will “throw up” inevitably getting in the way. However, Assaraf is not saying that optimists experience fewer setbacks and obstacles – only that their winning attitude allows them to more quickly jump over them and thereby create a future that more than satisfies their expectations of it. Put another way, our positive internal mental attitude and attendant dialogue subliminally influence our subconscious mind to create a range of positive beliefs, which in turns create more positive emotions, which in turn create greater inspiration and motivation to succeed.  Our base or prevailing attitude is consequently the critical start of this journey.

While most people will accept that trying to be positive and optimistic is at least worth trying in our personal lives, trying to do the same in work or business life is much more difficult as we are more prone to be “hostage” to the whims and influence of our bosses, colleagues and even staff, especially if we have a leadership role. To be more successful at work we therefore need to be much wiser in choosing our thoughts. This simply means that when our attitude is unproductive we need to quickly transition from a negative thought pattern to a positive one (and draw upon our “inner voice” or “inner coach” to do so. In this way, we can learn to coach ourselves into a productive state of mind, leading to forward movement. This process can then be “re-initiated” anytime you face a setback.

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About Dr. Jon Warner

Dr. Jon Warner is a prolific author, management consultant and executive coach with over 25 years experience. He has an MBA and a PhD in Organizational Psychology. Jon can be reached at

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One Comment

  1. Michael WilsonJuly 6, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    Very well explained the real “Attitude” in professional life. It is always difficult to keep a positive attitude in business as the situation varies as per circumstances. But keeping it always winning is not so difficult, if one takes every situation in optimistic or positive way.

    Great way to win over life not only professional but personal as well. Thanks for sharing and encouraging.

About the Editor and Primary Author

Jon Warner

Jon Warner is an executive coach and management consultant and in the past has been a CEO in three very different companies. Read more

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