Festinger sums it up as follows: “According to cognitive dissonance theory, there is a tendency for individuals to seek consistency among their cognitions (i.e., beliefs, opinions). When there is an inconsistency between attitudes or behaviors (dissonance), something must change to eliminate the dissonance. In the case of a discrepancy between attitudes and behavior, it is most likely that the attitude will change to accommodate the behavior.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eustress
Did you get that? When attitudes and behaviours collide, the winner is almost always…. BEHAVIOUR. Not attitude! Not even a positive mental attitude.
The importance of this observation cannot be under-estimated. If there is any discordance between your attitude (positive) and your behaviour (negative) then your ATTITUDE will change to match. This means your attitude changes to match your behaviour.
When the kids were younger and they still laughed at my antics, I used to play a little game with them. We would take turns to force ourselves to laugh. We’d push out a groan from the pit of our bellies, through our throats and just force ourselves to go through the motions to laugh – which invariably resulted in hysterics; real laughter because of the silliness of the pretend laughter. (Try it some time.) It is a good illustration of how behaviour ‘leads’ emotion.
But even if you are doing the stuff that supports your PMA, there are MORE obstacles that stand in your way before you could possibly claim success.
1. You must know what to do. (Take the right action)
2. And then actually do it.
3. And keep doing it.
4. And hope like hell there aren’t any uncontrollable events that will prevent your from achieving what you set out to achieve.
Let’s tackle these one by one. (I know it looks obvious, but there is actually more to it.)