Friday, November 18, 2011

Attitude is like a Virus

Written by Ms. Berman

Attitude is like a virus.  Just as a virus cannot exist without hijacking a host cell and taking over its machinery, attitude cannot exist without entering a person’s mind and becoming a part of his or her thought processes.  Some viruses are innocuous and don’t have a significant impact on our immune system, just as some thoughts have little effect on our way of thinking.  In other cases, the effect can be more unhealthful and destructive. 
All of us hear negative messages spoken on a daily basis.  The decision we have to make is how to respond to such messages.  Useful questions to ask are “What are the odds that there is validity to this information?” and “How does this information benefit me and/or the people I care about?”  It is critical to take the emotion out of the intellectual processing of such situations in order to properly assess the value of the many incoming messages that are flung upon us each day.  We, as humans with the ability to reason, get to choose which statements we are willing to process and integrate as a part of our stream of consciousness (or subconscious mind).  In addition, we choose which messages we will reinforce by either repeating such messages to our peers or ignoring them.   The relatively recent emergence of the internet and smartphones has made it easier for “attitude networking” to occur.  Thus, a simple statement, initially based upon opinion, can quickly start to appear as a fact as it is transmitted through a network of people in a short period of time.  As humans, it is easy to forgo control over our cognitive processing center, and react on an emotional level to such statements as they typically elicit such a response. 
The old clichés “thick-skinned” and “let that roll off your back” are applicable to the concept of attitudinal responses.  Those who tend to be less reactive to the attitude networking that typically occurs in any group environment, will usually end up with fewer negative messages cluttering their brain.  This requires filtering fact from fiction, but enhances autonomy and self-empowerment when it comes to decision-making down the road.  There are enough things in life that are beyond our control.  Attitude, however, is within our control and drives everything that we do in life.  In fact, self-esteem and attitude have been proven to be more essential than raw intelligence when evaluating whether an individual will achieve success, happiness, and contentment in life.  At the very least, if we listen with discretion and take control over what we are willing to internalize, then we can aim to develop more positive thought processes.  Over time, the mind will be freed up of the influx of negative messages, just as the aim for a healthy body is to be virus-free.


  1. Ms Berman, I really enjoyed this entry. I have recently been thinking about how much smoother things run when having a positive attitude. If you look at the brighter side of things and keep a positive attitude your overall outcome will be far greater than it would be if you were negative. I’ve mainly been thinking about this, because lately I’ve been having to put a lot of work into things and study really hard, and keeping a positive attitude through these things has really helped me. It helps when you look at how greatly the pros outweigh the cons, and thinking that way also encourages you to keep going. I have seen so many rumors turn in to facts over networking websites, and it is really sad to see. You can’t control what people around you say and do, but you CAN control what kind of people you surround yourself with. People’s attitudes always rub off on you, so it is really important to make sure you associate yourself with the right kind of people. Over time I’ve realized more and more how much the people around me effect the way I act.

  2. This entry reminds me of how I sometimes forget that when something doesn't have a good outcome I tend to take it out on people without even knowing I do. An example is when I am very stressed about doing homework and wanting to get things done and do everything perfect my brother will ask for help and I will completely ignore him or tell him to do it himself and pay attention in class next time. I am so fed up with my work and stressed that I don't realize that my brother mught be having trouble and I could help him and it won't take much of my time. I really do try to have a good attitude, but it is sometimes difficult.Negative comments are something that I have been surrounded by through out my life. I just try to use that as motivation to prove people wrong and make myself proud. Even though the comments do affect me, I like to surround myself with people like my parents and friends who always encourage me to be myself and not worry about what others say because if they say things like that, it only means they don't know me at all. People can't control what others say, but like you stated we CAN control our reaction to what they do say.

  3. This entry reminds me of something that happened today in chem. Bruno was trying to bring back positive energy and asked me the question, "Why are you in such a mood today?" And of course, being in a horrible mood I snapped back, "I can't explain why I am in such a mood. Why don't you ask my body?!" Then you came in and said, "Bruno that is one question you never want to ask a woman!" Even though Bruno has done nothing wrong to me today, I was already full of negative energy and his positive reinforcement was not helping the matter. If I was given just a few minutes to myself, I would have been able to become "virus-free".