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Mile High and Taking It Higher!

Attitude Determines Altitude!

Attitude Determines Altitude!

Attitude Determines Altitude! It’s a phrase that has been used many times to highlight the impact attitude can have on individual behavior, learning, and success. Have you ever been amazed by how quickly your attitude improves after achieving a small success? Or how a complete stranger with a poor attitude can drag you down in a matter of minutes? As much as we try not to admit it, the truth is that our attitude is constantly shifting and can be dramatically affected by external forces.

But why is ATTITUDE so important? Because the more positive our attitude towards gaining new skills, stretching our creativity, and enhancing our perspective, the better we learn as adults. The better we learn, the more we retain. The more we retain, the more effectively we apply. Effective application leads to increased competence. Increased competence enhances our self-confidence. Enhanced self-confidence leads to personal success. Personal success leads to increased motivation to succeed again, which positively influences our attitude towards learning. Simply put, our attitude plays a key role throughout the cycle of adult learning, motivation, and success!

ALTITUDE: How high can your motivation to learn and succeed take you? Denver sits at approximately 5280 feet above sea level and is appropriately labeled the “Mile-High” city. While leading high-performance teams in the past, I consistently reinforced the importance of each team member’s attitude towards learning and how motivation can help everyone succeed. Attitude really does determine altitude, which is why our slogan was “Mile High and Taking It Higher!”


  1. Cameron
    October 5, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    This is awesome. I am studying cognitive dissonance right now and its all about attitude. It seems like attitude can have huge impacts on motivation from what I’ve been reading and I really like your analogy. Seems like you are good at the analogizing aspect of teaching, which I bet plays out nicely. One thing that I think is interesting is how you presented this information in writing and Marriane used a picture. I wonder how you both like to perceive information and how this might influence your approach to inclusivity? I also have yet to use pictures, but that’s because i’m a bit lazy (reframe=efficient), so that might be case with you as well, because I’d have to go look up how to do all that cool stuff and I already know how to write.

    • Allison Friederichs
      October 11, 2010 at 11:12 am

      Cameron, I love your “reframing.” lol. But this is a great suggestion and good insight. Thanks for your support of your classmates!

  2. October 4, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    Tom- As I’m writing this, I’m trying to adjust the bad attitude I just adopted with my husband, after dealing with a child who was not going to sleep and giving me a bad attitude (while I’m trying to do homework, and my husband is watching TV)! Luckily, reading your blog post (and our peers) is helping me come out if it – as I enjoy and relate to what you have to say!

    I really like your point about the cycle of learning, motivation, and success. It’s definitely a good cycle to focus on getting into – both as an adult learner and instructor of adult learners.


  3. October 4, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Tom, I feel like you nicely summarized chapter 4 in your post…especially in your second paragraph. It is amazing how much an attitude can influence our learning experiences, all the way to our own personal success. Good post!

  4. Allison Friederichs
    October 4, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    I’m intrigued by the intersection of attitude and altitude. You definitely lucked out being in Denver so you can use that great slogan! But the truth is that the play on words would work anywhere. As you suggest, your attitude can take you “higher.” As Wlodlowski suggests — and my own experiences have illustrated to me — attitudes can elevate us. They elevate our connection with one another, our learning experiences, and even our own self-confidence (that’s why the approach of “fake it ’til you make it” actually works!).

    So now the question becomes: How do we get there? How do you both create and sustain the elevating attitude in your learners? Your teams? Your clients?

    Another question to ponder (since I know you like to do so): We talk a lot about “attitude” as if there is only one kind. Is the assumption that it is always a positive — cheerful, even — attitude that is what elevates a person? Or are there times when there is a less optimistic but still effective type of attitude to embrace?

    Thanks for your insightful application of the concepts to your thoughts. Good post this week!

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