Outlook and Attitude
Everyone has their own way of seeing the world. For better or worse. Two things that help determine these individual perspectives are outlook and attitude. These are very similar things, but there is a key difference. Outlook is our long-term view, while attitude is how we look at things on a day-to-day basis. With a proper understanding of outlook and attitude the complex world becomes a little simpler. Ignorance of outlook and attitude can make things more difficult.
Fill a glass half way with water, put if in front of someone, and ask them if the glass is half-empty or hall-full. Their answer will give you a glimpse into their outlook. Of course there are other answers to the question. The subject could insist they ordered something else, or they could claim they are blind and can’t even see the glass at all.
Yes, there are questions that can muddle the outlook test, but not enough to ruin it. There are really only two basic outlooks. Good and Bad. Everything else is an over complication.
You might call a person with a good outlook an optimist, but this is not exactly accurate. A person with a good outlook knows, in the long run, that things will be ok. Even if things are not perfect in the present moment. People with good outlooks are not necessarily singing in the street, though. In fact, they can be difficult to notice.
People with bad outlooks, on the other hand, are easier to spot. They have that defeated look about them. Perpetually angry and disappointed. People with bad outlooks do not believe anything will work out. Such a suggestion would actually make them mad. They are lethargic and unmotivated. What’s the point if everything sucks?
Still, outlook is a difficult thing to determine in someone else. No one can know the secret thoughts in another person’s head. We can only judge a person’s outlook based on how they behave or what they say. But this isn’t really fair, because we are not really seeing their outlook. We are seeing their attitude.
The word attitude is synonymous with “mood.” It is our day-to-day behavior. A person with a good attitude is calm and easy to work with. When a person has to do something they don’t like, but smiles about it anyway, that is a good attitude. It can be a lot of work to maintain a good mood. After all, the History of the Earth has proven to be a series of events designed to keep the human spirit down. From paper cuts to genocidal wars, life makes it difficult to stay happy.
While maintaining a good attitude is difficult, it can make things easier for the people around us. Therefore, if everyone were able to stay in a good mood, then everything would be easy.
But it is even easier to just be grumpy. A bad mood makes things difficult for everyone, yet it requires absolutely no maintenance. If maintaining a good mood is work, then a bad mood is like a vacation. Don’t worry if your attitude causes problems and makes messes. Someone else can clean it up.
Everyone deserves to be grumpy now and then. As a society/workplace we can all pick up the slack. But if you use up all your bad-mood time and persist in calling in sick, your fellow humans will lose patience. You might even be fired.
It is ok to have a bad attitude sometimes, as long as you work to have a good attitude most of the time.
There are several outlook/attitude combinations. The best is to have a good outlook and a good attitude. But we can’t all be Jesus or Mr. Rodgers. It is remarkable to have a bad outlook, but be in a good mood about it. This takes some mental gymnastics for sure.
Most of us have a good outlook, but fail to have a good attitude. This is acceptable, but is a precarious and unsustainable position.
Climate and weather are similar but different things. Climate is long term, while weather occurs on a daily basis. Weather, however, does have an effect on climate. One hot day in February won’t make much difference. Several hot days in February won’t really matter either. Hot days in February, every day for years, will have a dramatic long-term effect.
Outlooks and attitude are the same way. One or two days of a bad attitude won’t change your long-term perceptions. Several years of bad attitudes will not only make everyone hate you, but will also strip away any hope and optimism have for the future. This is the worst combination: Bad outlook, and bad attitude. And you will wonder why nothing good ever happens.