Tuesday, October 26

Attitude conditioning?

I was looking through my email quickly and saw something from Groupon. "Attitude conditioning? That can't be right," I thought. And it wasn't. The ad was for altitude conditioning, which makes so much more sense. But there was still something intriguing to me about the notion of conditioning one's attitude.

I have a colleague who likes to say that the only thing we can control is our attitudes. I believe there are a few more things, but many of the other things are related to one's attitude. Years and years ago I remember talking with someone about choosing to be happy. She scoffed at the idea, preferring to burrow a little deeper into her discontent. Okay, so "happy" was a bit of a stretch, so we talked about choosing to be something other than spiteful, vengeful, discontent, disgruntled, etc.

We've all heard that bromide: "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Those of not inclined towards perkiness nor towards optimism have a few other ideas of what one might do with those lemons, but that is, of course, a matter of choice.

The phrase "attitude adjustment" has been around for decades and we all know that's basically an adult time-out, a period of time to step away from the madness or chaos or whatever it is, do a primal yell or adopt a yoga pose or take a deep breath and find one's mello or center or whatever. The idea is to step away, however, and adjust one's attitude, or choose a different way to respond to whatever the situation may be.

But that's still different from conditioning one's attitude and I really like that idea. So with altitude condition, an individual goes through a series of planned stages to prepare for a change in altitude. Someone from a low altitude environment who wants to compete in a high altitude, for example, has to acclimatize. That means a slow ascent to the target altitude, appropriate hydration, gradually increasing activity once at the target altitude. It's like any kind of conditioning: it cannot happen overnight, it has to be done in stages, and it has to be well-planned. If I were to go through a physical conditioning program, I'd have to work my way up to a target number of reps or a target amount of weight to lift, etc. I can't go from being a couch potato to running a marathon without appropriate training and conditioning.

While I might choose to go through that kind of conditioning, I'd do so because I had a particular goal in mind. And I'd know ahead of time that my conditioning plan might represent a lot of time and hard work. Is that the same with attitude conditioning? I don't know. I suppose it depends on where one is and where one needs or wants to go.

I'm blessed to be in a work situation and one that I really like, but I've been in a work situation that required a pep talk every morning so I could get out of bed. That was a sort of attitude conditioning, I think. There are always people with whom we have difficulty working. Prepping (or bracing) ourselves to work with that individual is a form of attitude conditioning, I think, and conditioning that gets easier each time we choose to work well with an individual who otherwise seems difficult.

So I think that conditioning one's attitude is a matter of choice and each day we choose to exercise our attitudes in a particular way, the easier it should get. Just like any kind of conditioning.

No comments: