HomeNewsArticle Display

Viewpoint: Attitude drives behavior

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- As an individual mobilization augmentee chaplain and a senior pastor of the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Mobile, Ala., I have seen attitude drive behavior. A person's body language is a result of their mental attitude. By choosing your attitude you get in that mood and send out a message that everyone understands, consciously or unconsciously.

I'm reminded of one of my backfill assignments where I saw the attitude of a fellow chaplain totally metamorphosis the attitude of our entire chapel staff team in a positive way (especially me). It was when a new wing commander came in and changed a ceremony that we had been working on for months in a matter of days. When Chaplain Barkley shared the information with us, we all hit the roof. He allowed us to vent for about ten minutes, never saying a word. Finally, he says "there's a reason why the ceremony we attended a few days ago is called a change of command." We thought about that for a few moments and that the biggest load of the work was going to be on Chaplain Barkley's shoulders; and, if he still had a good attitude, then so should we.

Almost always, you have a choice as to what attitude to adopt. There is nothing in any normal work situation that dictates you must react one way or another. If you feel angry about something that happens, for instance, that's how you choose to feel. Nothing in the event itself makes it absolutely necessary for you to feel that way. It is your choice. And since you do have a choice, most of the time you'll be better off if you choose to react in a positive rather than a negative way.

There is power in a positive attitude. It is not what happens to you that counts; it is how you react to what happens to you, especially when the unexpected happens. We must learn and master powerful strategies that we can use to keep ourselves thinking and acting positively and creatively.

A positive attitude even means longer life. Researchers from two American universities followed and studied 1,500 people for seven years. All 1,500 were in good health when the study started. Researchers followed how they aged by measuring such things as weight loss, walking speed, exhaustion and the strength of their grip.

What exactly did they discover? They found that people who maintained a positive attitude were significantly less likely to show signs of aging; they were less likely to become frail and were more likely to be stronger and healthier than those that had a negative attitude. If you have a doom and gloom attitude you're actually killing yourself and at the very least, your negative attitude is just making you weaker. If you want to live a longer healthier life, then you need to develop and maintain a positive attitude - it's now a fact thanks to the study.

Researchers found that positive thinking and attitude improved a person's health because it made it likely that they would succeed in life. So, not only will a positive attitude help you be healthy and live longer - but it also increases the likelihood that you will succeed.

Lead researcher Dr. Glenn Ostir explained it this way: "I believe that there is a connection between mind and body - and that our thoughts and attitudes and emotions affect physical functioning, and overall health, whether through direct mechanisms, such as immune function, or indirect mechanism, such as social support networks."

Attitudes are also infectious. Your attitude is the first thing people pick up on in face-to-face communication. Just as laughing, yawning, and crying are infectious. Before you say a word, your attitudes can be infected by another person's attitude, and vice versa. When you are operating from inside a really useful attitude, such as enthusiasm, curiosity and humility, your body language tends to take care of itself and send out unmistakable signals of openness.
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.