I once spent the better portion of a day in the internet (and yes, I meant ‘in’ and not ‘on’)investigating what I thought was a simple enough word: attitude.
As I discovered while clicking link after link, the word comes layered in nuance, analysis and multiple, unrelated applications. Who knew?
Here are some of the uses of the word, attitude:
- it’s a pose in ballet.
- It’s an angle of approach when landing or flying an aircraft.
- It’s a spacecraft’s positioning relative to an object (a star or moon).
- Attitude can be found in body language.
- It’s evident and important in vocal inflections and effective communication.
- Attitude is used as a category in job evaluations and can greatly influence a salary increase or promotion within an organization.
- The very concept of attitude has been the sole lifetime focus of some learned people in the field of psychology who have attempted to describe, define and diagnose the origins and impact of attitude on personal behavior.
- Attitudes can be like the poles of a bar magnet with a positive side and a negative side. Unlike a magnet, however, the positive attitude attracts positive attitudes and the negative attracts more negatives. Positive attitudes repel negative attitudes and vice versa.
- Attitude has both mental and emotional components and can profoundly influence the results of any given action. This is not a placebo effect.
Now please understand, I had started this whole internet searchy thing based solely on a comment my teenage daughter had made at breakfast. She was talking about one of her classes and casually remarked that she didn’t like one particular teacher because that teacher had a ‘bad attitude’ (her voice inflected on these two words to communicate her point) towards the class.
I had wanted to ask her straight away what she meant by that phrase because it struck me as curious, her being 17 years old and all that (no offense 17 year olds), but I decided to do a quick brush up on the word first.
…and there went my morning…link after link…mesmerized by the Pandora’s box I had opened.
I never did ask my daughter what she’d meant that morning.
After everything I’d read, I thought it might seem like a trick question.
I did, however, cop an attitude towards the internet for a while.