Attitude of Gratitude & Reaction Redaction

Lead yourself before leading others.

Corey Butler
Jan 12, 2014 · 3 min read

As a tech entrepreneur, it’s easy to get caught up in “the code”. It’s important to remember that tech entrepreneurship isn’t all about being a top notch programmer. Success in a startup requires leadership, which begins with self-leadership & discipline.

Attitude of Gratitude & Reaction Redaction is an approach designed to maintain focus on the big picture. The approach is simple. Each evening, I perform these simple steps:

  1. State two reactions I may have been able to better control.
  2. State five things I’m grateful happened today.

Practice Makes Perfect

Practicing out loud with a partner keeps you honest, but this can also be done alone. There are subtle nuances worth enforcing as this is practiced. For example, we always call it Attitude of Gratitude and Reaction Redaction, but share in the opposite order (i.e. reaction redaction first). It’s a simple mind trick that helps enforce a positive attitude by name alone, but also concludes on a positive note. This is especially useful when getting over a bad day.

Regularly sharing with a partner encourages your brain to keep a mental list throughout the day. Consistency in concept helps retain a focus on the big picture. This can significantly change your attitude.

Why Bother?

Leadership & productivity are often a balancing act with the leader being the fulcrum. If the fulcrum itself is wobbly, it’s hard to ever find balance.

The Challenge

It sounds simple, but some days can be pretty challenging. Bad days are prone to “gratitude blocks” while good days may seem like all of your reactions were great. Forcing yourself to find something good on a bad day reveals silver linings. Forcing yourself to find something you wish could change (not necessarily something bad) helps keep oneself grounded & focused.

For example, I had a particularly long day riddled with problems. It was topped off with the dog doing his business in the middle of a busy road as I walked him home. I was frustrated, but saw the silver lining in the fact he did not do it indoors. After dropping him off, a bird did it’s business on my shoulder — all within about 5 minutes. Even though I felt like the animal kingdom had something against me, I was happy the business was not done on my freshly washed car or my fiance walking by my side. On a larger scale, it ultimately helped bring us closer together. We have something to look back on and say “remember when that happened?!”

By practicing a positive attitude and focusing reactions on the bigger picture, it’s possible to regain/maintain composure and move on. Life has setbacks, and the measure of good leaders and champions is how quickly they get back up and keep moving. Don’t ever let a poor mood be the biggest roadblock in your life or your startup.

Transitioning to Leadership

The viral effect of this practice helps in many ways. It trickles into work, into life, and into our personality. If you’re not already a positive person, this might help. If you are, it might help maintain or even grow your positive vibe.

When you’re in a position of leadership, the attitude defines the culture of the day. It’s important to keep things consistent, and a positive approach typically results in positive results.

Leadership & Strategy

Personal & Professional

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