Attitudes are Contagious

Attitudes are Contagious
Are Yours Worth Catching?

by Dennis & Wendy Mannering
Options Unlimited 1986
ISBN: 0945890001

This book is much more than a book on Attitudes. It would be truer to say that it addresses all those areas that affect ‘attitudes’ in a big way. My favourite part of this book was its section on Goal-Setting. The chapters on problem-solving and on developing enthusiasm are also very good.

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Please note: I have included the Table of Contents for this book below, as it was not available on Amazon.

On Attitude

“In the1970s, the Andrew Carnegie Foundation funded the largest research study ever done to determine what makes a successful individual. They surveyed more than three hundred thousand people in the four employment sectors… It was found that 7% of your success is determined by the knowledge you have, 12% by the skills you possess and 81% of your success is determined by your attitude.”

Regarding Mr and Mrs Average American

“These people have created a life of misery for themselves. They look forward to the weekend and dread the work week. In truth, they are two-sevenths people, loving only two days out of the week with any pleasure or positive experiences.”

Negative attitudes

“We know for sure that attitudes are contagious and if we aren’t careful of what we look for, whom we associate with and what we feed our minds, it is very easy to focus on the negative aspects of life, to see life as a bad deal.

Even the weatherman contributes to the negative view of life. He reports the weather in the negative. He’ll say “There’s a 20% chance of rain”. Why can’t he say it positively. “There’s an 80% chance it will be a beautiful, sunny day”. You see, it’s the little difference that makes the bid difference.”

On self-esteem

“Why is it so difficult for us to take a compliment? Simple. Because we don’t get many of them. In fact, a person who does give a compliment will probably be suspect. The person on the receiving end may very well think, “Oh, oh, what does he want now?”

On positive reinforcement

“If you feel you would like to start receiving more positive reinforcements and compliments, you must start giving them first. This is a simple concept at first glance, but most people don’t want to follow it. They want to reverse the process. Those people who want the principle to operate in the reverse say things like, “If my boss would pay me more, I’d work harder,”. The boss on the other hand is saying, “If you would work harder, I’d pay you more.”

On goal-setting

“A study was done at Harvard University to determine what happens to those you do set goals. A survey was done of 100 students, and it was found that only 5 of the 100 set goals on a regular basis, in a systematic manner… Ten years later, a follow-up study was done on these same 100 people. It was found that the 5% who set goals systematically had 93% of the total net worth of the group. The other 95 had 7% of the net worth…

In the survey, they also found that the 5% who set goals were more satisfied with their family life, were in better physical shape, had received more promotions in their careers and were spiritually more at peace…

Since we have proof that goal-setting can mean the difference in the quality and success of a person’s life, why is it that only 3% of the general population sets goals? Why is it that when we run those goal-setting workshops I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, we have a typically low turnout and even those who do come have difficulty following through with the whole process? “

Make a start!

“Most people run their lives like a track race. They line up on the starting line ready to run, seeing that far-way destination. Then it’s time to start, and it’s “one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, four to get ready… five to get ready… six to get ready…” They’re always getting ready but they never go! Don’t be one of them! Set that goal for this day and this moment and go!”

Improving your work life

“Think of the ways you would personally benefit by understanding your job more. Less stress, more enthusiasm, the day goes faster, more interest – less boredom, higher productivity, get along better with others, boss’s appreciation, promotion and pay raises, happier home life, etc…

Research tells us we will work hard for money. We will work harder for a leader we believe in, but we will work hardest for a cause we believe in. Find a way to make your work your cause.”

On Attitude

“An attitude is defined as the way we think, feel, and act. We can change our attitude more by changing our actions that we can by changing our thinking. In fact, changing our actions over a long period of time (at least 21 days) will often result in a change of attitude.”

Smile more

“The first step in developing enthusiasm is to learn to smile more. Smile for people, not at them… Millions of words have been written extolling the virtues of a cheerful smile, yet if you sit at a busy airport, go shopping in a mall, eat in a restaurant, or observe employees in the office, you’ll notice that very few people are smiling. That’s why we need to be reminded. We don’t do enough of it.”

One line quotes worth noting:

“All people are already motivated – The catch is, it’s not necessarily positive motivation.”

“A positive, motivated person has a particular thought process that manifests itself in the way he feels, which manifests itself in the way he acts.”

“The green/red traffic light was originally patented under the name of Go light!”

“Make a commitment to spend as much on learning each year as you spend on your body to look and smell good.”

“If you are convinced it’s important for children to feel good about themselves and feel comfortable and happy with who they are, then it follows that you must believe that for yourself.”

“You won’t solve all the problems you encounter in life, but in attempting to solve them you grow stronger.”

“A good habit is as easy to develop as a poor one.”

“If something is going to enrich your life or improve your relationships with people, isn’t it important enough to start doing it NOW?”

“Enthusiasm is contagious – Start an epidemic today!”


  • Defining the Problem
  • Motivation vs. Movement
  • Four Statements on Motivation
  • The Unquenchable Thirst
  • What is Motivation?
  • Attitudes vs Facts
  • It's the Little Thinkgs that Make the Big Difference
  • Look for the Positive
  • Act - Feel - Think!
  • Defining Self-esteem
  • The Cause of Low Self-Esteem
  • The Solution
  • You are Worth Millions!
  • Caring for our "Millions"
  • Goals vs Pipe Dreams
  • Research on the Value of Goal Setting
  • Why Don't We?
  • The How-To's of Goal Setting
  • Think Big
  • Mapping Your life's Journey
  • Do it Now!
  • The Three V's of Goal Setting
  • Getting a Perspective
  • Problems vs. Opportunities
  • The Measure of Our Worth
  • People Problems
  • A Problem-Solving System
  • The Key to Motivation
  • Components of Belief
  • Belief Leads to Achievement
  • Believe More in Your Work
  • Avoid "Dream Killers"
  • A Critical Attitude for Motivation
  • The Benefits of Enthusiasm
  • Begin with a Smile
  • The Value of a Smile


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