Chain Reaction Foundation Ltd

Looking at Attitudes: Yours, Mine and Ours

by Margaret Bell | October 23, 2017

Attitude is perhaps the strongest motivator known to man. With the right attitude, we can do anything - within reason - and may discover physical and mental attributes we never even knew we possessed.

Austrian psychologist Viktor Frankl both pioneered this theory and demonstrated its practical veracity. Frankl - who said "in between stimulus and response, there is a space, [and] in that space lies our power to choose our response" - was a neurologist and psychiatrist of the famous Viennese school. He was also a Holocaust survivor and was able to utilise his theories on stimulus and response to not only live through the trauma but to rebuild his life afterwards.

Viktor Frankl's example is an extreme one but it does illustrate a profound point. We tend to view our reactions, and our attitude to some extent, as being automatic; we cannot choose or even meaningfully influence these responses to stimuli. But Frankl posits that we can. In fact, he shows us that this possible.

Understanding and Changing

It is this concept that we hope to explore at this week's Learning Ground session. Entitled 'Looking at Attitudes: Yours, Mine and Ours', this session is designed to do precisely what it says; to give us an opportunity to understand our attitudes and to develop more positive and effective ones going forward.

To do this, we first must be conscious of our own attitudes. This involves exploring different sensory stimuli and assessing and gauging our reactions to each. Conducting this task in a group is always interesting as there may be unexpected discrepancies between different people's attitudes to different stimuli.

Once our individual set of responses has been identified, we can start to examine how they fit into our everyday lives. Are these attitudes having an effect on the way we live our lives? Undoubtedly, yes they are. This is unavoidable but is this effect a positive or a negative one? For example, experiencing a degree of fear and trepidation can be positive as it may be an effective means to keep ourselves out of danger.

However, if this fear is crippling or irrational, or somehow prevents us from doing something we truly want to or know we can do, then this is a negative response.

The Effect of Attitude on Our Lives

The quality of life enjoyed by Australians is diminishing. Studies have shown that, between 2001 and 2010, general levels of life satisfaction declined in the country. There are a wide variety of factors which can cause this. These range from socio-economic factors which result in job loss or in families struggling to make ends meet, to internalised mental health issues which make it difficult for individuals to live fulfilled and contented lives.

While realigning our response and attitude towards such negative stimuli does not represent a 'cure', it does offer us a way to get a handle on the less satisfying aspects of life and to work on turning those aspects around.

This is not always an easy process. The sessions at Learning Ground are designed to provide a basis for identifying positive attitudes and transforming negative ones into more positive mindsets; not for providing a simple fix.

It is not a quick process. Our lives are long, continuous paths of attitude development, reappraisal and adjustment. We just aim to provide members with the tools required to achieve positive attitudes and mindsets which provide solutions in the long run. By looking to Viktor Frankl's example, we know that anything is possible.

Get in touch with our team for more information about the session.

Margaret Bell, AM - Founder and CEO of Chain Reaction Foundation.

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