Attitude is not hard-wired

Alan Spector is an author, business consultant, baseball player, traveler, and grandfather.  He has authored five published books, including, with coauthor Keith Lawrence, Your Retirement Quest: 10 Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement (  Alan and Keith conduct workshops across the country helping prospective and current retirees plan the non-financial aspects of their retirement—to make the rest of their lives the best of their lives.  Alan’s latest book, Body Not Recovered, is a work of historical fiction from the Vietnam War/Protest Movement era, and it has deep St. Louis roots.

By Alan Spector

In a recent post, I shared the results of one study that proved that your attitude can make a significant difference in your longevity.  Other research has shown that a positive attitude helps aging retirees deal better with chronic illness, the loss of loved ones, and even pain.  As a result, those with a positive attitude tend to stay more engaged in life versus becoming isolated and despondent.

An issue my coauthor, Keith Lawrence, and I have run into as we have talked to retirees, now numbering in the thousands, is that many believe their attitude or that of those around them is hard-wired.  It is not.  So, what can you do about it?  Here are a few suggestions we noted in our book, Your Retirement Quest.

Begin and end your day by telling yourself, and perhaps even writing down, several things you are grateful for.  What is right with your life?  Some suggest that when you do this, don’t allow yourself to repeat anything on consequetive days.  

Surround yourself with a positive environment.  Eliminate those things that darken your day.  “Unplug” from whatever depletes you.  Keith and his wife, Sue, have stopped watching the evening news—it is all bad and was draining their positive attitude.  Others have told us that as difficult as it is, they unplug themselves from those, both friends and family, who are so negative that they are an energy drain.

Think young.  Ask yourself, as Satchel Paige did, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you was?”  

Be mindful of times when you might be having negative conversations with yourself.  Interupt them and start on a different course.

All easier said than done—but start practicing these and other approaches until you feel them working for you.  The payout may be in longevity and quality of life.  Why not give it a try?

Attitude is not hard-wired.