Attitude shapes our perception

I have been thinking a lot in the last few weeks about the importance of gratitude. In my personal life I have found that practicing gratitude shapes my perception of my wellbeing. It hard to feel dissatisfied or feel the need to keep with up with Jones’s when your attitude is one of profound gratitude.

But as I look beyond to personal life to my professional life I find myself challenged. There are times when my attitude in my professional life is not quite what it might be. The dynamics in professional life are a bit different to personal life, but I know that there are times when I show up less than fully committed. To me this is professional equivalent of dissatisfaction.

This is not to say that I think I need to sell my soul to prove my commitment. No, rather there are times when I know that for some reason I have not performed as well as I might have. I have a sneeky suspicion that that doesn’t come down to passion or ability, but rather the way in which I am choosing to show up.

Maybe it is just me, but we seem to get a strong message from society that full commitment requires a massive time commitment. To put this another way – the number of hours we work appears to be directly proportional to our level of commitment. To work the allotted 40 hours indicates minimum commitment. But I think this is horribly warped.

40 hours of focused, committed presence, is much more valuable than 60 hours of physical presence but mental half-heartedness.

I’m still trying to figure out what the equivalent of gratitude is in a work context. Gratitude isn’t quite the right word for me. I know the flavour of the attitude but I haven’t quite put my finger on it yet. It encapsulates whole-heartedness and conscious presence, and gives the freedom to relax at the end of the day.

Whilst I cannot yet name it – I am praying for the grace to have this attitude. I suspect too, that as with gratitude, the practice fosters the attitude and over time may shape my perception of my reality.

4 thoughts on “Attitude shapes our perception

  1. Mags, a very resonant theme this is, for me, too, and I have been mulling it over and attending more carefully over the past week thanks to your reflection. I call the feeling you are seeking to name ‘Sufficiency’ and find it quite a counter-cultural practice in much of the (work?) world these days. It is not just you: I agree that there are ‘horribly warped’ expectations regarding commitment and the presence of the body in the workplace/at work. I also appreciate your well-made point that if the lights are on but nobody’s home, in truth, what good is that? The demands, however, are annoying in varying intensities and yet they often have a seductive edge to them, –do you find this, too? — along the lines of ‘if only I could get this done, all would be well’. It is right and proper to practice a certain degree of (institutional) resistance (or, at least, boundary keeping) and to remain vigilant and attentive to self-care and to what is Life-giving. Thanks for your blog. I’ve been lurking for a while and very much enjoying it. Well done and keep up the good stuff!

    • Hi Kate,
      Thanks for the comment. I like your word ‘sufficiency’. I guess in all of this I am trying to find a way of being which is present and engaged wherever I am. I suspect I’ll spend the rest of my life trying and missing the target. But hopefully improving my accuracy!

  2. Hi again, Mags, I replied on an earlier post and accidentally hit the ‘enter’ button before I said ‘thank you.’ Just an additional note to say that I’m so looking forward to going back and reading all your earlier posts and ‘catching up’ with you and your readers….
    as well, a thought about your attitude of gratitude at work. I have been wonderfully blessed by being able to do my work (economic research and communications) from home, so my level of distraction is not so challenged as yours I imagine. Nonetheless, a practice I have been found to be very comforting in recent months has been to imagine God sitting next to me or reading my work over my shoulder or riding along with me in the car. Whether the messages my mind receives are from Him or from my conscience (which Ignatius reminds us is God-given), my attitude morphs somehow to one less of ‘doing’ to one of ‘being’ with Him and being tremendously consoled by His guidance…or what I hope is His guidance. Also, ‘Practicing the Presence’ by Brother Lawrence is a little book you’re probably already aware of. But in addition to the spiritual examen of Ignatius, which I’ve attempted so far on a DIY basis, it has been instrumental in much of my current walk. Thank you (formally) for your contribution here. I look forward to reading more and learning from you. Mary Adrienne

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