“Kay-Cee-Five-Six-Niner-Niner, you are clear for takeoff.” And with that, the engine throttles up, the brakes are released, and the little plane starts rolling down the runway, picking up speed with every second that passes. At the right speed, the pilot pulls the steering yoke gently back and the nose lifts. Shortly after, the other landing gear is clear of the runway… and the plane is airborne.
The pilot keeps that nose lifted… gently… so the plane will continue to gain altitude. It rises gradually… or more radically, depending on the attitude of the nose. (The angle of the the climb is based on the how sharply the plane is tilted – the attitude of it… and the descent is also determined by the attitude of the plane.)
If the pilot tries to climb too steeply (more than the engine or the wings were designed for), he “stalls out”… and is shortly after plummeting towards earth. Sometimes highly capable, experienced pilots can recover… and sometimes they can’t. (I had a good friend who was killed in a plane he was piloting due to this very thing.)
No pilot does this intentionally, he is just trying to keep that nose (that attitude) up.
If you keep within the limits of the aircraft, the more positive the attitude, the higher the altitude you will reach. If you are in a capable-enough plane, you will fly so high you’ll need an oxygen mask… and maybe a pressure suit.
Within limits (much like staying within the limits of an aircraft), the same goes for us and our lives. Our altitude is affected by our attitude. We can soar higher and higher with a positive attitude than we can without. But you knew that, already, didn’t you?
Why is is this so? There are more factors that contribute to it than I can get into here (it is more complex than appears a first glance), but one of the primary factors is that you set up a “self-fulfilling prophecy”.
When you have a positive attitude, you start looking for the “silver lining”, for the way that the situation will be redeemed, for the positive outcome. And when you start looking for it, the brain has a way of finding it… or making it happen.
Just like with the aircraft, there is a limit to how much can be done with attitude alone… you have to have an engine that can support the attitude and your efforts. But, if you have that, then the sky is the limit. (Pun intended.)
The engine we are talking about here can be your business, your job, your personality, your charisma, your… many things. The result may be business success, career success, personal success… or all the above.
Take someone who has a positive attitude about business — even in a slow economy. If he stays within the parameters of realistic thought… while still expecting great things… he will grow his business. If he ignores the parameters (just like the pilot who ignores the parameters of the flight characteristics of the airplane)… he will “stall out” and — maybe — crash.
The thing we are finding is that a positive attitude is not about faith (in the religious sense), and it is not ignoring reality, and it is not stupidity. What it is, is the way to optimize our brains for the most beneficial functioning.
If you believe that the business is out there to be found… and that you can have a piece of it… then your brain starts looking for it. It starts finding ways to get that business. It starts making things happen. And if you don’t believe it is out there for you… well, there’s no sense in looking for something that’s not there, is there?
In another post, I want to explore the twin dangers related to a positive attitude… over-positive and negative attitude.
In the meantime, what’s your altitude?