IN A STUDY BY David Day, PhD, and Elona
Crain, undergraduate student leaders were asked to choose, based
on a mental ability test and a questionnaire that measured attitude,
who they would work with on a project.
More often than not, they picked the good
attitude over superior ability. That's true for most of us. Attitude
counts. It counts a lot. And it's something you can't really
fake very well for long. You have to actually have a good
attitude, not pretend like you do, because there are many subtle
ways attitude is communicated through facial expressions, body
language, and the way you approach things.
"We found that supervisors were able
to pick up on negative traits such as anger, hostility, or irritability
early in the relationship," said Day. "These traits
can destroy a good working relationship almost before it begins."
How can you have a truly better attitude?
Here is one simple method that works remarkably well: When you
find yourself needlessly indulging in a negative feeling, like
anxiety or feeling insulted, sternly and with great derision,
say to yourself, "Get over it!" Try this on someone
else, and it is extremely rude. But say it to yourself, and this
one's a killer. It will kill unnecessary, namby-pamby coddling
It is important to get in touch with your
feelings, but it's also important to be done with some things
and get on with your life. At some point getting in touch with
your feelings becomes nursing hurt feelings or trying to make
another person feel guilty for inflicting so much pain on you.
That doesn't do you any good.
Instead, come from this attitude: Get
over it! Say it like you want to say sometimes to people
(if it wasn't so rude): "Yes, he certainly was a bad husband.
But that was two years ago! Get over it and get on with your
life! Quit your whining."
I have red hair and freckles, and so of
course I don't tan very well. I've always admired a good tan,
and when I was growing up, I always wished I could have darker
skin. I am embarrassed to admit this feeling was with me until
One day I was looking at my hand and seeing
the pale skin with the spots on it, and the same old thoughts
and feelings passed by in the background about how I hate my
skin, when I noticed what I was thinking. "Oh, get over
it!" I commanded myself curtly.
And without too much more than that, I
was over it. We've all got some of those leftover thoughts and
their accompanying feelings, and when you notice them, put them
in a whole new light with this simple command. We get so hypnotized
by thoughts and feelings, especially if they were repeated several
times when we were young (either by someone else or by ourselves).
Snap yourself out of it. With a sneering disgust at the stupidity
of the useless thoughts going through your head with disgust
for the thoughts, not yourself say, Oh, get
over it! and you will sometimes be over it, just that quick.
But if the thought comes back, say it again,
with an equal amount of contempt. And again with scorn, ridicule,
despising rejection. Snap yourself out of the trance of that
thought, and the spell will be broken sooner or later, and probably
Last night, I was working with several
people, and it was a stressful situation. One of them snapped
at me, and I found myself mulling over what he said and how I
might respond to put him in his place. I am ashamed to say I
was plotting revenge. I was nurturing hard feelings. I was cultivating
Then I snapped out of it. "Get over
it," I said to myself with disgust. Am I that sensitive
that I can't let something that petty go by? Of course
I can let it go by! What am I doing mulling it over like it's
important? What was it? A threat to my ego? Like a drill sergeant
in my head, I yelled to myself: "Get over it!"
And I did. Just like that. All it took
was the recognition that it was stupid to even be concerned with
something so petty. That's all I needed to pull myself out of
the little hypnotic trance I was inducing in myself.
This method helps you have a good attitude.
Get over hanging onto negative feelings. Learn to let it go if
it really isn't important, and it almost never is. Things will
go better for you.
When you're indulging in negative
say to yourself, "Get over it!"