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"Attitudinal Isometrics (TM)...
A Workout For Building Strength of Character"
- by Rev. Dr. John Lutwyche-Clements
(c) Rev Dr John Lutwyche-Clements. All Rights Reserved.
From the early nineteen thirties to the mid-sixties, a
significant fraction of magazines in the English-speaking
world ran a series of linked ads. They all showed the
wasp-waisted, wide-shouldered, bulging-biceped, swimtrunk-
wearing Charles Atlas standing in various poses and
claiming: "I can make a new man of you in 7 days!"
Thousands of men responded to the ads. Most ended up
disappointed - not with the exercise system they received,
but with their own failure to persevere beyond the initial
seven-day period! Presumably, they had never read the words
of Dr Samuel Johnson: "Great works are performed, not by
strength, but perseverance".
Got a dream to fulfil? Got a problem to solve? Got a
corporate entity to build up? Then I've got an exercise
system to help you! I call it Attitudinal Isometrics.
Schematically, it looks like this:
CORRECT THINKING + CORRECT ATTITUDE + CORRECT ACTION =
It is not, however, a magic formula. Some who try it will
end up disappointed - not because it doesn't work, but
because they won't work at it!
All exercise systems involve movement. Attitudinal
Isometrics involves mental movement, and can be
analyzed into four basic dynamics:
from --> negativity... to --> positivity
from --> reactivity... to --> proactivity
from --> self-interest... to --> public service
from --> inconsistency... to --> constancy
Practised regularly, Attitudinal Isometrics promotes
strength of character. And without that, we can't really
expect to succeed at anything, can we?
1. WILDE WISDOM
The first exercise in the Attitudinal Isometrics gymnasium
is the movement from negativity to positivity. Oscar Wilde
had a first-rate piece of advice for the negativist: "Get up
and out, young man - the day is bursting with moments!"
A moment is an infinitely short window of time - yet it's
the only window open to us! Positive action can occur only
in the present moment (rather than in the irredeemable past
or unknowable future). Therefore, the time for sowing the
seeds of achievement is now. A microsecond's delay equals a
harvest of opportunities lost!
Of course, a positive attitude doesn't guarantee success;
but it does keep our eyes, ears, mind and body focused on
the goal. Future outcomes won't just happen - we have to get
up and out, and intercept the fruitful moments that the day
is bursting with!
2. PROACTIVITY VERSUS PROZAC
The second Attitudinal Isometrics exercise is the movement
from reactivity to proactivity. Supposing you have an
unpleasant task to complete, and don't quite know how to
start. What's your usual procedure? Do you picture the
finished results and throw yourself into the task? Or do you
picture all the possible problems and throw yourself into a
depression? "Well, the truth is, Dr John," I hear you say,
"some tasks just seem futile - especially when I'm not sure
whether I'll succeed or not." - Oh, really? Let me ask you
this, then: Why should your level of proactivity be
dependent on your skill in predicting the future?
Let's be realistic: we can't predict anything much. Outcomes
of events are cloaked in a veil of complexity; we can't ever
foresee all the possible consequences - much less decide
ahead of time which one will occur. That being the case, the
only sensible option is to get started regardless! It's a
well-known self-motivation technique: acting "as if" the
desired outcome is a foregone conclusion makes you less
likely to engage a psychological reverse-gear halfway
through the task.
3. OTHERS BEFORE SELF
The third Attitudinal Isometrics exercise (and it has to be
a practical exercise rather than a theoretical one) is the
movement from self-interest to public service - that is,
from a mindset focused on the self to one focused on others.
Perhaps you've always imagined that, in some future world
where you've attained your personal goals, you'll then be in
a position to serve others, and thereby make the world a
better place...? Wrong! You'll only get what you want by
giving others what they want. It's an integral part of the
course for success.
Nor do you need any special position to serve others. You
do, however, need a special mindset; and you have to develop
it first - before your personal goals can be attained.
The mental muscle that will empower you to serve others is
already part of your character. You simply need to exercise
it along the appropriate dynamic, using the appropriate
mental apparatus! Help out at a charity headquarters; take a
senior citizen to the shopping mall; work in a soup kitchen;
set up a church group in your community. Start with one hour
a week, and progress to ten. Consider it a form of
existential tithing. You'll be amazed how you can transform
the lives of others - and feel better about yourself in the
4. THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING CONSTANT
The fourth and most important dynamic in the Attitudinal
Isometrics gym is the movement from inconsistency to
constancy. For most of human history, people simply had to
keep going, keep working, keep adapting - just to survive.
In the modern Western world, however, things are somewhat
easier. Result: a widespread tendency to justify inaction
today with the empty promise of action tomorrow.
But tomorrow is the time to test your endurance. This
evening is the time to gather your energies. This hour is
the time to persevere. This minute is the time to galvanise
your resolve. This second is the time to practise your
Attitudinal Isometrics... And this moment... is the moment
Rev Dr John L. Clements is an international
writer, speaker, life coach and author of
"Excellence Becomes You: proven principles
to raise your life from mediocrity to excellence"
About the Author
Rev Dr John L. Clements is an international writer, speaker, life coach and author of "Excellence Becomes You: proven principles to raise your life from mediocrity to excellence"