How Changing your Attitude Changes Your Reality


Let’s talk about the internal aspect of making positive changes to your current reality. I believe that the foundation of a successful life has a lot more to do with attitude than it does with aptitude, but I’m not the only one.

Surveys, studies and research consistently indicate that 85% of success in almost any endeavor will depend on attitude and only about 15% on aptitude. Yet, in most educational settings the emphasis is exactly the opposite. In fact, attitude is rarely discussed.

Adding attitude to your knowledge and skill

Regardless of what you do for a career, technical knowledge and skills usually play an important role. But is knowledge and skill all it takes to succeed? In this highly competitive world there are lots of people with knowledge and skill. Obviously, success requires that you know what you are doing and that you can deliver what you promise.

In addition to knowledge and skill, what else is required for success? We have already established that attitude plays a huge role, but what does that really mean in practical terms? More specifically, how does changing our attitude translate into success?

Mastering your dominant mental disposition

Admittedly, this concept that changing your attitude changes your reality can seem a bit abstract. At least until we understand that our dominant mental disposition  is the element that brings together “who you are” with “what you do.”  So, even though attitude may seem less tangible than other aspects of building a successful life or career, it’s still one of the most powerful.

For clarity, let’s start by breaking attitude down into its four major components:

1. Expectations
2. Adaptability
3. Confidence
4. Appreciation

Whether you recognize it or not, these four components of attitude form the foundation for your personal and professional success. Trying to make positive changes in your reality without giving attention to these areas will only serve to provide you with a lot of frustration and very limited results. So, let’s take a closer look!


Do you expect to succeed or to fail? Do you expect to find love and happiness or something less? Your expectations have a lot to do with what you think you do or do not deserve because they are a reflection of your feelings of self worth. As such, expectations influence how you interact with the people around you as well as their perception of you. In response, your world will find a way to provide evidence that your assessment of your own worth is accurate.

If you think that you are unworthy of love it will lower you expectations. In response, you will attract, and be attracted to, partners who are incapable of showing you love. If you feel like you are not deserving of success you will expect only mediocre results. Because of your low expectations you will make choices that limit your ability to succeed.

Of course, if you have a high sense of self worth, your expectations and your results will likely be much higher. In both of these cases, your results will serve to reinforce your expectations and your beliefs about what you think you deserve.


The ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining a positive, optimistic outlook is a huge part of the formula. Fact: sooner or later everything in life changes! If we struggle with or constantly resist change, we will always be behind the curve trying to regain something that doesn’t exist anymore.

Perspective has a lot to do with our ability to adapt. If your perception is that you like your life just the way it is and you don’t want anything to change, then change represents pain and you will try to avoid it. On the other hand, if you view your life as an exciting, ever-changing adventure, you’ll not only expect change, you will actually look forward to it.


A reasonable degree of self-confidence gives you a distinct edge in every area of life. If you lack confidence in yourself, it becomes difficult for others to put confidence in you. This applies equally to business and personal relationships. Confidence, or the lack of it, is something that others can easily sense because it will manifest in everything you do and say.

Your outlook is heavily influenced by your degree of self-confidence and mastering the inner game of attitude is impossible unless this essential quality is developed. As long as it is tempered by reasonableness, a “can do” attitude is what opens the doors of opportunity and gives you the courage to walk through them.


Like confidence, appreciation is a magnetic quality. In fact, no other quality touches people in the same way because everyone wants to feel appreciated. If your attitude communicates appreciation and gratitude you will be able to build rapport with almost anyone.

It’s important that your appreciation be sincere if you want it to permeate your disposition in a meaningful way. Appreciation is not about flattery, it is a reflection of where you are coming from. Cultivating an appreciative point of view is a vital step in using attitude to make positive changes in your reality. Never underestimate the power of appreciation!

Attitude is everything

For most of us, taking in new knowledge and learning new skills is an ongoing part of life. Now we see that a truly successful life requires that we pay special attention to the areas that can have the greatest positive impact on our quality of life and degree of overall success.

Attitude is one of the most important elements for bringing together “who you are” with “what you do.” It may not be everything, but it’s important enough that nothing else compares to it. Once you see firsthand how changing your attitude changes your reality, your life will be forever transformed.

How important do think attitude really is?
Do you agree that it has a strong relationship with your reality?
The lines are open!

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  1. David Stevens January 23, 2012 Reply

    I love my positive attitude. It’s a resource that I can draw on when things get a little low. Sometimes I let go of ‘expectations’ and just give it my best shot. If you have an attitude of doing your best, regardless…you will hit a lot of targets. Thankyou Jonathan for breaking this down to manageable components.
    be good to yourself

    • Jonathan January 25, 2012 Reply

      Hey David, I like that you referred to your positive attitude as a resource. That is exactly what it is and what a great resource! Extremely well said.

  2. Nea January 23, 2012 Reply

    Absolutely! I think a lot of people struggle so long and hard because they try to change all the surface “stuff” without any shift in attitude. It is possible to experience some success with an attitude that sucks; but it is so much more painful, time consuming, lonely and draining. And to top things off… you don’t get nearly as far.

    • Jonathan January 26, 2012 Reply

      What a great comment Nea! I just love it when get profound. Now that we have that nice comparison it’s hard to imaging anyone choosing to ignore it.

  3. Alexander January 23, 2012 Reply

    Thanks for the inspiration! I think attitude is really everything in life and is something easily manageable with the right tools. Unfortunately, people don’t always have the right tools. Keep up the great work!

    • Jonathan January 26, 2012 Reply

      Hi Alexander, isn’t it great that so many with those tools are willing to share!

  4. Catrien Ross January 24, 2012 Reply

    Jonathan, yes. Attitude makes all the difference, as does your response to life’s situations and events. There’s a Japanese proverb that translates as “fall down seven times, get up eight.” A positive attitude can give you the courage to try again and to keep learning new skills as challenges arise – as they inevitably will. It feels so good to be commenting here on your blog again after my long silence in Japan. Catrien.

    • Jonathan January 26, 2012 Reply

      Hi Catrien and a warm welcome back. I know you’ve been through a lot and it is gratifying to see your resilience. I just left the snow and find myself enjoying a two week break on the beautiful garden island of Kauai. There are some impressive private bonsai collections here. It’s a passion of mine from your adopted homeland.

  5. Anne January 24, 2012 Reply

    I couldn’t agree more. Attitudes makes the world of a difference in how you approach every single thing you do in your life. I have always been a bit negative, but ever since I started just simply thinking positive, my whole outlook on life and the possibilities in this world has changed.

    • Jonathan January 26, 2012 Reply

      Good for you Anne, the more you focus on the positive the more you will discover to feel positive about. Life is all about perception!

  6. Christopher Foster January 25, 2012 Reply

    Fine words Jonathan. Thanks. The thing about attitude I really love is that I can change it in an instant. Like, say, and no offence whatsover here, when the popup came up just now just as I was starting in on my profound comment.

    Be delighted to get to know you better Jonathan. I must come here again. Blessings and be well.

    • Jonathan January 26, 2012 Reply

      Greetings Christopher, that ability to adjust our attitude certainly does make for a more enjoyable life. The good news is, you won’t see that annoying (but effective) little popup for another 45 days. I actually don’t care for them either and I would get rid of it in an instant except for one unavoidable truth – it works really well.

  7. Bridie Jenner January 25, 2012 Reply

    I absolutely agree Jonathan.

    I think it’s also important to not let things get you down. If your business is quiet then put the time to good use – produce some new content, tidy up your office, or just spend time catching up with people in your network. If you sit there moping about it and feeling sorry for yourself it shows and can end up a vicious circle.

    Positivity is the key to great success!

    • Jonathan January 26, 2012 Reply

      Good suggestion Bridie, there is always some productive way to use our time and that’s where being adaptable really pays off.

  8. Chris January 26, 2012 Reply

    Hi Jonathan, I really like this post, especially when you explain the difference between the perspectives of people who hate change (see it as painful) and love change (see it as exciting). It’s a nice feel-good post.

    Our attitude is everything. Unfortunately, some people’s attitude makes them dramatize over everything instead of seeing the opportunity. Most problems are not really that bad, unless you decide to make them that way.

    You’re right! It’s almost all within the attitude.

    • Jonathan January 29, 2012 Reply

      Hi Chris, indeed, some people love the drama. If you look a little deeper you will notice that those who “dramatize over everything” often do it to call attention to themselves. Wanting to be the center of attention they make a big deal out of minor things.

  9. Michael David Lawrience January 26, 2012 Reply

    Jonathan; In my experience first we need to use methods to expose our patterns of negative critical thinking. After that we can start to create positive statements based on the negative patterns to gradually overcome the critical thinking. The Mirror Exercise is one method.

    • Jonathan January 29, 2012 Reply

      I agree Michael, in my book and private coaching practice there are several steps that lead to a major attitude adjustment. But that doesn’t mean that most people can’t benefit from working directly on their attitude, especially in the absence of deeply ingrained negative response patterns or limiting beliefs. Subtle shifts in perception can also facilitate impressive positive change.

  10. Hiten January 26, 2012 Reply

    Both expectations and adaptabilty were big ones for me. I used to have very low self esteem so believed I didn’t deserve much. I used to always think of the worst case scenarios so seeing anything else was difficult. By creating new beliefs in these areas and then reinforcing them through life experiences, these days I usually expect good things to happen, and usually look for the best in all situations.

    • Jonathan January 29, 2012 Reply

      Way to go Hiten, most people find such a fundamental shift in perception extremely difficult without a coach to guide the process. I am impressed!

  11. jack foley January 27, 2012 Reply

    They say that attitude is the most important word in the English dictionary..

    What you give out – you will get back..

    Thanks for sharing..

    • Rana Shahbaz January 27, 2012 Reply

      I totally agree with you Jack. Attitude is everything.

      • Jonathan January 29, 2012 Reply

        It’s a biggie all right. Attitude is also something that deserves constant monitoring so it doesn’t wander into the negative zone, especially during trying times.

  12. Denny January 28, 2012 Reply

    I personally find the aspect of viewing your life as an exciting, ever-changing adventure really great in personal development areas. It has been explained well by the Jonathan. If I just think back on how empty my life was without it, it makes me really wanna cry :(
    Thank you for a great post, Denny

    • Jonathan January 29, 2012 Reply

      Hi Denny, that “exciting, ever-changing adventure” perception has served me well for many decades now. Every day is still exciting and full of unexpected surprises and opportunities to grow!

  13. Ken Wert January 29, 2012 Reply

    Wonderful post, Jonathan!

    Attitude is the barometer that tells us so much about a person’s inner weather. Some are caught in emotional storms and character droughts and personality flash floods. We do indeed change reality when we change attitude no less than weather changes when barometric pressures change.

    Thanks for so insightful a post as this one is!

    • Jonathan January 29, 2012 Reply

      What a great metaphor Ken. I am in Kauai at the moment and I can honestly say that my inner weather is perfectly aligned with conditions outside. It’s a great feeling!

      • Hiten Vyas January 30, 2012 Reply

        I agree with you Jonathan. That was one brilliant metaphor by Ken! :-)

  14. Galen Pearl January 30, 2012 Reply

    Your observation about attitude v. aptitude in schools was a light bulb moment for me. I never really thought about that, but as soon as I read it, it was so immediately obvious. And important! I’m going to give this a lot more thought.

    • Jonathan January 30, 2012 Reply

      Hi Galen, the number of important subjects that are ignored by the educational system never ceases to amaze me. Another example it the art of decision making. Aside from attitude, nothing influences our reality as much as our ability to make good decisions, and yet, I’ve never heard of any school offering a class called making wise decisions.

  15. Jassie August 22, 2013 Reply

    Hi Jonathan..I read your articles often but I haven’t responded to any before…Firstly I’m a huge fan of your articles for they provoke me to think about the personal aspects of my life. With this article I’m absolutely sure that you’ve struck the right chord in terms of adapting to change, which is something we struggle with every single day of our lives. I am quite optimistic but sometimes I do feel that I’m not worthy of what I get from life..It’s due to my low self-esteem and I will be really grateful to you if you could offer some articles on raising self-esteem, which is an inevitable factor in living a carefree and positive life.


  16. Chris August 23, 2013 Reply

    First time commenter here, I subscribe to the rss. I just loved this article Jonathan. Changing my attitudes is someting that i’ve been trying to work on over the last few years to varying degrees of success. Appreciation, I have no trouble with. Confidence and Expectations are still a work in progress!
    Keep up the great work

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