Why Attitude, Not Aptitude, Determines Your Altitude Aptitude is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it. ” Attitude Manner, disposition, feeling, position, etc. with regard to a person or thing: tendency or orientation, esp. of the mind; a cheerful attitude. Attitude is a way of looking at things. Attitude is something over which all of us have total control. It may be the ONLY THING over which all of us have total control. Aptitude 1. Innate ability; talent: an aptitude for mathematics or readiness or quickness in learning; intelligence.
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Aptitude shall mean natural talent or ability possessed from birth (which can be acquired as learned skills). Aptitude (as defined above) is something over which none of us have any control whatsoever (except when we acquire learned skills). For every behavior and for every way of communicating or relating with people, there are skills and also attitudes that make it possible. The skills are the automatic ways of doing things, which create results. They develop by practicing those things, in those ways. The attitudes are the beliefs we have, which generate the way we interpret things in a certain context and the way we react emotionally.
You can teach a person all the best ways to do things. You can teach a person how to communicate assertively, how to speak in public with impact, but if their attitudes in those contexts don’t back them up, they will not be able to consistently practice the behaviors necessary to develop those skills. Your attitudes determine to a great degree what you are able to do and what you are not, what you are able to practice and what you are not. This is why for example, a lot of people go to trainings and learn all sort of cool ways of relating with other people, but they never develop cool people skills.
There are three fundamental things you can acquire in a learning process: knowledge, skills and attitudes. Each one of these has its value, but as you progressively move from one to the next, you’ll find the value grows significantly. Having knowledge means having the data. This is important, but in itself doesn’t do much for you. Aptitude (or skill) means having automatic, internalized ways of doing something that create results: from tying your shows to delivering a speech. Your skills dictate to a large extent how well you do something and thus, your performance.
However, it is your attitude that fully makes skills come into play and has the most impact on your performance. Your attitude refers to the way you perceive things and how you react emotionally to them. It is a reflection of your thinking and your beliefs, at an emotional level. Here’s why your attitude matters the most. First of all, you can have the skills to do something, but without the proper attitude, you won’t actually do it. You may be good at public speaking, but if you see yourself as a bad speaker and you’re afraid, you won’t speak in public anyway.
Even before having a certain skill, attitude plays a vital role, because it’s what gives you the courage and persistence to try something, to fail, to learn, to keep going and eventually, acquire a certain skill. But if you lack the right attitude, you’ll never develop your skills. Last but not least, attitude creates the emotional context for skills to run freely. You may be a good conversationalist but if the person you’re talking with intimidates you, that skill won’t surface and you may appear like a socially un-calibrated person. It is your attitude that allows skills to develop and to come into action full throttle.