A-B-C Method Of Managing Attitudes
by Steve Goodier
As an airport skycap checked through a customer at curbside, he
accidentally knocked over the man's luggage. He quickly collected
the fallen bags and apologized for the mishap. Unappeased, the
traveler burst into an angry tirade, raging and swearing at the
skycap for his clumsiness. Throughout the traveler's rant, the
baggage handler simply apologized and smiled. The angry man
continued to berate the skycap, until he finally headed off to
catch his plane. Even then the baggage handler remained calm and
The next customer in line witnessed the incident and marveled at
the skycap's professionalism and control. "I have never seen such
restraint and humility," he said. "How do you keep your cool when
somebody is attacking you so viciously?"
"It's easy," the skycap answered. "He's going to Denver, but his
bags are going to Detroit."
That is certainly ONE way of managing attitudes, but here is a
more constructive approach.
Have you heard of the A-B-C method of managing your attitude?
It's simple and effective.
"A" stands for the "Activating Event." Let's say you get stuck in
traffic. The traffic jam is the activating event.
"B" stands for your "Belief System." You believe that traffic is
only getting worse and you'll have more and more days like this
"C" stands for the "Consequence of the Event." You become angry.
You want to honk your horn. Your stomach is tied in knots and you
bang the dashboard with your fist.
The problem is...most people jump directly from "A" to "C." They
get stuck in traffic and become angry. They think the traffic jam
made them upset. They don't realize that they didn't HAVE to get
angry. They skipped an important step!
Let's try it again:
"A" - you get stuck in traffic.
"B" - you believe that you were given some unexpected and extra
time to spend in solitude, to listen to a great tape or to plan
"C" - the consequence is that you feel gratitude for the gift of
I have a friend who is fond of saying, "A traffic jam has no
power to make us angry. It just stops our car." He is aware that
between the activating event and the consequence is something
that we control: our beliefs about what is happening.
The next time you have a problem -- at home or at work, big or
small -- decide to manage your attitude toward it. Practice the
A-B-C method. You probably can't change "A," the activating
event. But try changing "B," your beliefs about the problem. When
you change your beliefs, you also change "C," the consequences of
It's as simple as A-B-C. Manage your beliefs, and you'll manage
to be a lot happier!
Steve Goodier's books & newsletter: http://LifeSupportSystem.com.