Do our attitude cause our actions or do our actions cause our attitude? Action and attitude, which comes first? Intuitively, we would think that beliefs come first because it just seems logical that our attitude creates the groundwork for the motivation that we choose; resulting in our decision upon a certain action. Fair enough, but you’d be surprised to find that the reverse is equally true as well.
“We know the contents of our own minds less well than we think, so we’re often in the same position as an outside observer, who must infer what we think or feel.” (Gilovich and Ross, 2015)
Does that makes sense? When I first read about this, I didn’t quite believe it until I intro-retrospect more consciously. After taking certain actions, I often think back on why I did it. Through this intro-retrospection, I either realized things that I didn’t know about myself or I’ve made sense of things by deducing what my attitudes are – as illustrate by the image below:
So what’s the use in knowing this? The use is that we can fake it till we make it. If our actions define our attitude, then all we gotta do is to Just Do It (sorry Nike). If you want to bring about change, just change your habits and your behavior. Sooner or later, you would cheat yourself into changing your attitude the way you want it. #mindfckingyourself
Gilovich, T. and Ross, L. (2015) The wisest One in the room: How you can benefit from social psychology’s Five most powerful insights. Philadelphia, PA, United States: Free Press.