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Attitude V Aptitude: Who Wins?

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Dear TopNaijarians,

Did you know that a major source of stress in your life is the “fear of rejection” or “fear of criticism?” This fear of rejection manifests itself in an over-concern for the approval or disapproval of your boss or other people. The fear of rejection is often learned in early childhood as the result of a parent giving the child what psychologists call “conditional love.”

Rise Above the Need For Approval

Many parents made the mistake of giving love and approval to their children only when their children did something that they wanted them to do. A child who has grown up with this kind of conditional love tends to seek unconditional approval from others all his or her life. When the child becomes an adult, this need for approval from the parent is transferred to the workplace and onto the boss. The adult employee can then become preoccupied with the opinion of the boss. This preoccupation can lead to an obsession to perform to some undetermined high standard.

Avoid Type A Behavior

Doctors Rosenman and Friedman, two San Francisco heart specialists, have defined this obsession for performance as “Type A behavior.” Experts have concluded that approximately 60% of men and as many as 30% of women are people with Type A behavior.

Don’t Burn Yourself Out

This Type A behavior can vary from mild forms to extreme cases. People who are what they call “true Type A’s” usually put so much pressure on themselves to perform in order to please their bosses that they burn themselves out. They often die of heart attacks before the age of 55. This Type A behavior, triggered by conditional love in childhood, is a very serious stress-related phenomenon in the American workplace.

Action Exercises

Here are two things you can do immediately to deal with the fear of rejection, criticism, and disapproval. First, realize and accept that the opinions of others are not important enough for you to feel stressed, unhappy or overly concerned about them. Even if they dislike you entirely, it has nothing to do with your own personal worth and value as a person. Second, refuse to be overly concerned about what you think people are thinking about you. The fact is that most people are not thinking about you at all. Relax and get on with your life.

To overcoming fear,

Brian Tracy

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