How Important Is Mental Attitude?
by Napoleon Hill
Let us analyze the part mental attitude plays in our lives and we shall learn how important it is.
Your mental attitude is the major factor which attracts people to you in a spirit of friendliness, or repels them according to whether your attitude is positive or negative; and you are the only person who can determine which it shall be.
Mental attitude is an important factor in the maintenance of sound physical health. All doctors know, and most of them will admit, that the patient’s mental attitude is more important in curing physical ailments than any other single factor.
Mental attitude is a determining factor—perhaps the most important factor—as to what results one gets from prayer. It has long been known that when one goes to prayer in a mental attitude swayed by fear, doubt, and anxiety, only negative results are experienced. Only the prayers which are backed by a mental attitude of profound FAITH can be expected to bring positive results.
Your mental attitude while driving an automobile on the public highway determines very largely whether you are a safe driver or a traffic hazard endangering your own life and the lives of others. Most automobile accidents are said to happen because of drunken driving, or anger, or some form of over anxiety or worry on the part of the drivers.
Your mental attitude determines, to a large extent, whether you find peace of mind or go through life in a state of frustration and misery.
Mental attitude is the warp and the woof of all salesman-ship, regardless of what one is selling—merchandise, personal services, or any commodity. A person with a negative mental attitude can sell nothing. He may take an order from someone who buys something from him, but no selling was done. The transaction was entirely one of buying. Perhaps you have seen this truth demonstrated in many retail stores where the minds of the salespeople clearly are not directed toward pleasing the customers.
Mental attitude controls, very largely, the space one occupies in life, the success one achieves the friends one makes, and the contributions one makes to posterity. It would be no great overstatement of the truth if we said that mental attitude is EVERYTHING.
Mental attitude is the means by which one may condition the mind to go through surgery or dentistry without fear of physical pain. The means by which this can be accomplished are clearly described in subsequent chapters.
There are some who believe that one’s mental attitude, while occupying the physical body during life, influences what happens to one after death. There is no positive proof of this theory except that it is obviously logical.
Lastly, the most convincing evidence of the importance of mental attitude is the fact that it is the one and only thing over which anyone has been given the complete, unchallengeable privilege of personal control. We cannot control the thoughts or the actions of other people. We cannot control either our coming into or going out of life, but we do have the inexorable privilege of controlling every thought we release from our minds, from the time we begin to think to the time that life is ended.
Here then is the most profound, the most significant of all facts which influence an individual’s life! It is logical that by giving every person the complete control over his thinking the Creator intended this to be a priceless asset, and it is precisely that, because the mind is the one and only means by which an individual may plan his own life and live it as he chooses.
Henley, the poet, must have understood this great truth when he wrote the lines: “I am the Master of my Fate, I am the Captain of my Soul.” Truly, we may become the captain of our worldly destiny precisely to the extent that we take possession of our minds and direct them to definite ends through control of our mental attitudes.
Mental Attitude Can Be Negative or Positive
Only a positive mental attitude pays off in the affairs of our everyday living, so let us see what it is, and how we may get it and apply it in the struggle for the things and circumstances we desire in life.
A positive mental attitude has many facets and innumerable combinations for its application in connection with every circumstance which affects our lives.
First of all, a positive mental attitude is the fixed purpose to make every experience, whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, yield some form of benefit which will help us to balance our lives with all the things which lead to peace of mind.
It is the habit of searching for “the seed of an equivalent benefit” which comes with every failure, defeat, or adversity we experience, and causing that seed to germinate into something beneficial. Only a positive mental attitude can recognize and benefit by the lessons or the seed of an equivalent benefit which comes with all unpleasant things that one experiences.
A positive mental attitude is the habit of keeping the mind busily engaged in connection with the circumstances and things one desires in life, and off the things one does not desire. The majority of people go all the way through life with their mental attitudes dominated by fears and anxieties and worries over circumstances which somehow have a way of making their appearance sooner or later. And the strange part of this truth is that these people often blame other people for the misfortunes they have thus brought upon themselves by their negative mental attitudes.
The mind has a definite way of clothing one’s thoughts in appropriate physical equivalents. Think in terms of poverty and you will live in poverty. Think in terms of opulence and you will attract opulence. Through the eternal law of harmonious attraction one’s thoughts always clothe themselves in material things appropriate unto their nature.
A positive mental attitude is the habit of looking upon all unpleasant circumstances with which one meets as merely opportunities for one to test one’s capacity to rise above them by searching for that “seed of an equivalent benefit” and putting it to work.
A positive mental attitude is the habit of evaluating all problems, and distinguishing the difference between those one can master and those one cannot control. The person with a positive mental attitude endeavors to solve the problems he can control, and so relates himself to those he cannot control that they do not influence his mental attitude from positive to negative.
A positive mental attitude helps one to make allowances for the frailties and weaknesses of other people without becoming shocked by their negative-mindedness, or being influenced by their way of thinking.
A positive mental attitude is the habit of acting with definiteness of purpose, with full belief in both the soundness of that purpose and one’s ability to achieve it.
It is the habit of going beyond the letter of one’s responsibility and rendering more and better service than one is obligated to render, and doing it in a friendly, pleasing manner.
It is the habit of choosing a definite goal and marching forward toward its attainment without hesitating because of either commendation or condemnation.
It is the habit of looking for the good qualities in other people and expecting to find them, at the same time being prepared to recognize unfavorable qualities without being shocked into a negative state of mind.
It is the habit of mastering all the emotions by submitting them to examination by the head and the discipline of the power of will.
It is the habit of facing all the facts which affect one’s life, both the pleasant and the unpleasant, and keeping a cool head when unpleasant emergencies arise.
It is recognition of the universal power of Infinite Intelligence, and the knowledge that it can be appropriated and directed to the attainment of definite ends through the medium of FAITH.
A positive mental attitude is the chief medium by which Alcoholics Anonymous has helped countless numbers of men and women to cure themselves of alcoholism. And it is also the basis of cure of the habit of excessive smoking.
It is the medium of all forms of “mind-conditioning” for whatsoever purposes, including the elimination of all types of fear.
All habits, good or bad, voluntary or involuntary, are established by one’s mental attitude. It is the medium by which one may transmute unpleasant habits and circumstances into some form of benefit.
A positive mental attitude is the sole medium by which one may exercise the inherent right to maintain complete control over his own mind, without help or hindrance from anyone. And it is the means by which stumbling blocks may be transmuted into stepping stones of progress in every calling.
Mental attitude reveals itself from one person to another, without spoken words, signs or actions, by the medium of telepathy. Therefore, it is contagious.
A person’s mental attitude while eating aids digestion or retards it, and a negative mental attitude can paralyze the digestive forces altogether.
A mental attitude of a public speaker often determines how his speech is interpreted, even more effectively than the words he uses. Again, the mental attitude of a writer while he is writing is conveyed to the reader, behind the lines of his writing.
By the proper condition and control of the mental attitude, one may condition his mind to meet any sort of unpleasant circumstance without becoming upset by it, including even the emergency of death of loved ones.
Mental attitude is a two-way gate across the pathway of life which can be swung one way into success and the other way into failure. The tragedy is that most people swing the gate in the wrong direction.
The patient’s mental attitude is the doctor’s best aid or his greatest hindrance in the treatment of physical ailments, depending upon whether the attitude is positive or negative.
From these statements of known facts one can easily understand why mental attitude is everything, because it influences every experience with which we meet, and it is under our complete control at all times.
What a profound thought it is to recognize that the one thing which can give us success or bring us failure, bless us with peace of mind, or curse us with misery all the days of our lives, is simply the privilege of taking possession of our own minds and guiding them to whatever ends we choose, through our mental attitude.
Source: You Can Work Your Own Miracles by Napoleon Hill