How High Can You Fly? (Attitude Determines Altitude)

Sometimes even I can get a little depressed. I know admitting that out loud may turn some people off and if it does, I may just have to bear the burden of that. It seems that way too often I have been expected to be just a ray of sunshine and a beam of light to everyone around me and sometimes that’s a big burden for me. It’s even truer when it comes to publishing the written word like I do here. After all, do you really want me to depress you with anything negative I might offer up on my blog?

Zig Ziglar's phrase "attitude determines altitude" means that positivity will take you further in your quest for success. But can you change your attitude?

And that’s a big part of my point here, even though sometimes “Rainy Days and Mondays” may get me down, “Attitude Determines Altitude” and I know that.

Attitude and Altitude

Are you familiar with Zig Ziglar? Years ago, Ziglar (1926-2012) spouted “Your attitude, more than your aptitude,” (the how good we are at something) “will determine your altitude.” When he said that, a lot of people saw it as just a catchy phrase. Wrong. It meant more because after all, Zig was a successful author, motivational speaker, and a hell of a salesman too.

Think about it. So often we all measure things in terms of pluses and minuses and sometimes we think that we may not even have a chance at success or happiness or be able to fly high when we can get all caught up in the moment. We then pile up excuses that weigh us down to the ground.

If you were ever thinking about flying really high, being weighed down isn’t going to help you there, Skippy! Your attitude does affect your altitude. Zig was right.

I am going to make a pretty safe assumption here and that is when it comes to your life, you want to soar pretty high. That includes everything and that means both your financial and personal life, too. Let’s face reality, if you are reading here that’s why, isn’t it? You are looking for some “tips” to help you save more, earn more, and just plain old get more from your money. That’s your attitude right here, right now.

How Does Your Attitude Determine Your Altitude?

Your attitude determines your altitude. That means having a positive attitude will bring you up higher in life versus having a negative attitude, even if it’s just on rainy days and Mondays.

You don’t need an explanation as to what altitude is. In practicality, you talk about altitude as something related to airplanes or helicopters, but in life altitude literally means the same thing. The term altitude here means elevation. It tells you how high you are flying.

You can be in a good situation and have it turn sour based on simply having the bad attitude you bring with you or you can be in a bad situation and turn it right around into a good one by having a positive attitude. That elevates you and I am not just basing that on Ziglar’s words. I know because I have experienced it.

Positivity (Positive Versus Negative Attitude)

Has anyone ever told you, “you have a negative attitude?” If you got up on the wrong side of the bed and started to interact with people at home or at work you may have heard it a few hundred times in your life—maybe even more.

That may have been because you didn’t get enough sleep that night or it may be something else. It could be that you are worried about something and it’s kept you from feeling positive and therefore you aren’t elevating yourself because of it. In fact, those worries are weighing you down like a ton of bricks and now that you are walking around carrying them when you are interacting and affecting (or is that “infecting”?) everyone around you. Having a positive mental attitude is thinking about how something can be done rather than saying it can’t be done.

Some Other Key Words to Add Lift to Your Flight

How about trying to add a bit of enthusiasm and excitement to your day? If you were doing one of Julia Child’s dishes, I’d also say add a bit of inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity to the recipe, too. All of those words are the antidotes to depression and a bad attitude, and yes, I do understand that it’s not easy to look in your mirror when you wake up and tell yourself that you are going to do all that. You don’t think of yourself as a light switch that can simply turn on and off. But you can if you try.

And the Academy Award Goes to…

The best way to lose a job is just not to care. When you do not care, it shows in everything you do. And by the way, that same “don’t care” attiude applies to your personal life, too.

When I had to get up and go to work every day and try to earn a living, I came upon a way that I could “turn it on and off” when I looked in my mirror. I knew that it was pretty important to my future and my success in my job to overcome my bad vibes and bad attitude when I was brushing my teeth and before someone had the opportunity to point that out to me (that included not just my workplace associates but just as importantly my wife and children). That’s because success is not about work and money, but it says who you are inside as a person. The way I dealt with my day was by “acting”.

I Didn’t Need Any Classes

At first blush you may think, “Gary, what an insincere SOB you must be, pretending and acting like you don’t have a care in the world and keeping all that stuff deep inside festering”. I get that, but that isn’t what I was doing.

Look, I was out interacting with not only my co-workers but also vendors and customers every day and believe me when I tell you that there was more than enough negativity around. I didn’t need to add any to it to know it was big and loud!

What I did was not any kind of insincere thing, but rather a change of my attitude, just like changing a light bulb that had burned out. I realized that I can worry and be negative all I want when in my own private space (and to this day I do), but that I have the obligation to myself to not shower that bad vibe and attitude over everyone else. So when I looked in my mirror I told myself to start my “act” and I did. In fact, I called it my “on camera” face and brain as if I really was in some kind of movie or TV show.

Why This Works

While it’s not easy at first to just place everything negative inside a box and then ignore it, a funny truth comes to you when you try. Thinking positive and actually believing that problems can be solved helps you to solve them. It may not solve them all and it may not happen immediately, but it helps to do several things for you and those around you and here they are:

  • You feel better when you do and others around you will, too
  • Good ideas grow faster just as if your attitude was water on a growing flower
  • You become a part of the solution and not the problem
  • It becomes easier to identify team players around you
  • You soar when you feel your attitude being “elevated” both inside and out

I don’t know about you, but I always want to be thought of as a positive influence. I really don’t like being around negative vibes and I can sense them now much more strongly as I have grown older. I have learned that the sooner you can do that, the better off you are.

Your attitude determines your ability to succeed. How you respond to challenges, approach change, and deal with difficulties, even how you think about yourself, are all key factors in your success. That’s true both in life and in business.

Final Thoughts

In your quest for success both financially and personally, attitude determines altitude. Don’t overlook it as a key element of success. You can influence your own positive attitude as well as that of others if you try.

How high are you flying these days? Are you worried to the point of depression more than just on rainy days and Mondays and if so, what are you doing about it? Do you doubt your ability to change bad vibes into good ones? Why not do it today when you are brushing your teeth and see what happens? It may make you start seeing that your glass is half full and not half empty.


  1. I’ve also been a normally happy guy but in my old day job where I was “the boss” to the hundreds of people I worked with I tended to often walk around the office halls with a stern look on my face. I wasn’t worried or upset, just had that RBF thing going. I had to remind myself to smile when I passed anyone because when people thought I was upset or worried it would start all kind of rumors about how the company must be losing money or I was about to be replaced by another person. It pointed out to me that just feeling good wasn’t enough, I needed to show others I was feeling good, I just didn’t have a naturally happy face when I was lost in thought, but I did get better.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences, Steveark. Leadership does require a lofty attitude, but surprisingly, it needs to filter down even to the lower echelon because it’s necessary to foster teamwork. That old expression “one bad apple spoils the whole bunch” is what I was thinking when I wrote this post. It’s good to have a moment when you come to the realization that you may be the one who can inspire that positive attitude. Thanks again.

  2. Soundra

    Excellent!! I will certainly utilize the information in this article to train my staff!! I always use the phrase “Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude”. However, I didn’t elaborate enough on it for people to get the full understanding. This article will help me to do that!!


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