AttitudeThis is the first in a series of life skill blogs. These will tie in the aspects I teach in my taekwondo classes. Sometimes there will be a connection to writing, sometimes not. I think it will be up to the individual to relate these to his/her  specific situation, whether writing or other activity. I hope you will enjoy these and, as always, I invite comments.

What can be said about attitude? What hasn’t been said or written about attitude?

When I started gathering the material for the life skills blogs, I tried to make it easy on myself by going through my folder which contains a lot of the mini-posters depicting life skills for usage in my taekwondo classes. You pin the poster to a board or tack it to the wall and it’s the responsibility of the instructor to incorporate that theme or life skill into the classroom curriculum. To make sure the students have a proper example of that particular aspect or concept. That the parents understand what you’re trying to teach so they can reinforce it at home or make sure that it’s exhibited at school. Of course, you’re hoping that YOU are the one reinforcing the concept in class, but sometimes…

My folder is arranged alphabetically so the listing of the skills was fairly easy and I thought the appropriate one to be first was Attitude. You can have make all the goals and have the courtesy and determination and perseverance, but I think attitude is layered throughout everything. From the time you get up in the morning and how you face the day to the moment you drift off to sleep you are constantly checking and rechecking and testing and changing your attitude each moment.

I try to instill the concept of Postive Attitude into my classes, but I also let the student know they have to have an ‘attitude.’ This ‘attitude’ borrows a little from Determination and Confidence. It has a little in-your-face, but not enough to annoy people. Still positive, but with an intensity behind it.

I want the students to show a little of this ‘attitude’ when executing their taekwondo form. To stand up and show the world what they’re made of, that this is important to them, and to tell everyone to “back off and let me perform.”

I see that attitude in class from some of my students when they line up and stand at attention, even from one adult student when he’s in ‘relaxed’ mode. His hands are still ready, his body is ready, his head and eyes are set and he’s just waiting for the word go.

As a martial artist, that type of attitude can be part of not only your classroom presence, but at school and out on the street. It might serve as a form of self defense. Head up, eyes alert, conscious of your surroundings.

In my self defense courses I often mention an old Starsky and Hutch episode. For those of you young’ens who don’t know what I’m talking about, S&H was an old television cop show that, as I remember, was one of the first shows that became a little controversial in the amount of violence shown on the airwaves. (Tame by today’s ghastly standards.)

Anyway, part of the only episode I remember is two men in a pickup watching people pass by on the sidewalk. They were looking for a woman to kidnap, torment, and sexually assault. I thought this episode was the perfect example of how to avoid ‘looking like a victim’ because they observed various women and their attitudes. Some women walked with purpose, with a destination, with a no-nonsense attitude. The two guys rejected them. Instead, they chose the ‘mousey’ woman, small, weak looking, a bit wary of her environment. Why? Because they knew she’d be less likely to fight back.

So I try to teach my students to have a bit of a Bea Arthur “Maude” attitude. (Again, for the youngsters, go to and look it up.) Not necessarily aggressive, but to show that you have a little bite. Many times, that will cause the bully or the bad guy to think twice. Not always, but it’s a start.

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I may not relate all of these life skills to writing, but I think authors have a bit of an ‘attitude’. I think it’s necessary because nobody is going to write the book for you (excluding ghost writers and even then you still have to be a part of the project). If you don’t have an attitude that you’re going to finish a manuscript, it won’t it won’t be finished. One of the best sayings I’ve heard is: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t…you’re right.”

I’ve seen too many people fall by the wayside on their path to being an author. Excuse after excuse, problem after problem but the biggest problem is the proper attitude didn’t exist or wasn’t reinforced daily.

I also enjoy the fact these life skills are personal. It’s YOU who must possess and exhibit them and you can’t let anybody change your mind when a decision is made. They can bash you and berate you and insult you and knock you down, but it’s your decision whether you stay down.

‘Nuff said for this week.



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