There is an especially American idea about attitude. The thought is if you have the right attitude, everything will work out. If you don’t, well then… Sorry, Pal. This idea infiltrates our entire culture. We can see this assumption in the movies from the 30s and 40s, the lead characters have to have spunk, grit, and that American CAN DO! outlook. And on and on the notion of attitude goes on.
This is the same idea that is at the foundation of positive thinking, the “secret,” thought is creative, and all of the mental power schemes that tell us to get our heads straight.
Here is an observation: some people with the “right” attitude don’t always succeed, and some people with the “wrong” attitude succeed.
There is only one factor that matters. Your underlying structure. The principle is this: the underlying structure determines your behavior. The right structure with the “wrong” attitude has a higher probability of success than does the “right” attitude within the wrong structure.
The right structure is structural tension, the tension formed between the desired state in relationship to its current state. What you want, and what you have. Notice that within this structure, there is no room for attitude, self-opinion, beliefs, past experiences, intention, and most of the rest of the anthems of self-help.
Tension seeks resolution. Setting up the right tension leads to motivation to take actions you need to accomplish the outcomes you want to create. One type of action that is often built into the process is learning. There is often a lot to learn about how to move from where you are to where you want to be.
Within the creative process, you may have various attitudes from affirmative to doubtful, to frustrated to optimistic, from steadfast to uncertain. To try to generate a synthetic positive attitude may reduce your awareness, sensitivity, and intellectual honesty, often the very factors you need to be clear about your current reality.
How you happen to feel any particular day is irrelevant in the creative process. You don’t need to give yourself a pep talk to get yourself going. You just need to position your strategic choices in relationship to each other. The primary choice will be the outcome you want to create. Your secondary choices will be those choices you need to make on behalf of your primary choice. Trying to maintain any particular attitude will distract you from the creative process.