Hank Williams Jr. wrote the song, “Attitude Adjustment” about methods used in the South to change someone’s perspective on life.
And just about the time he got the words out
An ‘ol boy jumped up and closed his mouth…
It was an attitude adjustment
I guess it was his first time
An attitude adjustment
Now he understands just fine. Hank Williams Jr.
Now, we don’t encourage these tactics in the field of flight instruction (as much as some instructors would like to), but the FAA addresses the issue of attitude nonetheless.
According to the Aviation Instructor’s Handbook, “Attitude is a personal motivational predisposition to respond to persons, situations, or events in a given manner that can, nevertheless, be changed or modified through training as sort of a mental shortcut to decision-making.” This means we have an inner mindset based on life experiences and character that affects our motives and the ultimate responses we have to things that happen to us. This is how we are predisposed to react. It can be a victim mindset, a defensive mindset, a selfish attitude, high esteem or low self esteem.
However, all of this can be changed. “That’s just how I am” is not an excuse. “Attitude Management is the ability to recognize hazardous attitudes in oneself and the willingness to modify them as necessary through the application of an appropriate antidote thought.” Aviation Instructor’s Handbook
What in the world is an “antidote thought?” Our way of thinking about things is “That’s just the way I am,” but there are other thoughts if we are willing to apply them. So, if there is another way to think, and that other thought prevents us from making a bad decision, that thought becomes an antidote to change our response. In aviation this is critical, because a wrong attitude can lead to disaster.
In the Christian life, we have many antidote thoughts to counter bad attitudes. They are found throughout the Bible. One antidote thought is in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,“
Antidotes for Real Life
In real life, as in aviation, bad attitudes compromise safety, hinder success and destroy prosperity. Therefore, if we overcome bad attitudes, we increase our chances for these benefits and many more.
Victim Mindset: “Everybody’s picking on me.” The goal of this attitude is to take the spotlight off your actions, get some sympathy, and maybe get some preferential treatment. The result is bitterness, anger and self-pity. The antidote is to work harder with integrity so there is nothing for others to pick on you for. Colossians 3:23, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”
Defensive Mindset: “I didn’t do it. It’s not my fault.” The goal is two-fold here… deflect the blame and get praise for what you did right. The result is to never improve, because you don’t think you need to. The antidote is to take the rebuke and learn from it, even if no one notices. Romans 2:29 “whose praise is not from men but from God.”
Selfish Mindset: “I’m the best. Me first. Look at me. I want it all.” The goal is to draw attention to yourself and to fulfill your needs first. It produces an inflated self esteem, greed and covetousness. The result is to actually look bad in other people’s eyes, causing damaged relationships and a bad marriage. The antidote is to see yourself as a servant and try to bless others. Jesus told us, “But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.”
Best Antidote Thought for Everything
And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:11-12