Thursday December 5, 2019
SNc Channels:



Jan-21-2009 09:50printcomments

Workplace Attitudes - A Lesson from a Chinese Tattoo Artist

The Management Moments series by Doug Dickerson is a weekly column designed to bring inspiration to those in the workplace and beyond.

Born to Lose
"Born to Lose"

(CHARLESTON, S.C.) - Dr. Norman Vincent Peale relates this story from his book, Power of the Plus Factor: ”Once walking through the twisted little streets of Kowloon in Hong Kong, I came upon a tattoo studio. In the window were displayed samples of the tattoos available."

"On the chest or arms you could have tattooed an anchor or flag or mermaid or whatever. But what struck me with force were three words that could be tattooed on one’s flesh, 'Born to Lose'."

“I entered the shop in astonishment and, pointing to those words, asked the Chinese tattoo artist, “Does anyone really have that terrible phrase, Born to Lose, tattooed on his body?”

He replied, “Yes, sometimes.”

“But,” I said, “I just can’t believe that anyone in his right mind would do that.”

“The Chinese man simply tapped his forehead and in broken English said, ‘Before tattoo on body, tattoo on mind.’”

Why are workplace attitudes important? One of the main reasons is that the climate in your organization will be set by the attitudes in it. It will be difficult to rise above the influence of negative attitudes.

Consider what I refer to as the Three P’s of a workplace attitude and give them a try. But first let me caution, a positive workplace attitude begins with you. Yes, I know that boss gets on your last nerve sometimes, but before his attitude changes, yours must change first.

The first workplace attitude is positive – are my thoughts of myself, my work, and my fellow office workers positive ones? You may be saying to yourself, “Doug, you don’t know what jerks I work with.” No, I don’t, but I do know that the first secret to creating a positive workplace attitude begins internally.

Sydney Harris summed it up nicely when he mused, “The underdog who condemns the behavior of the overdog rarely stops to consider whether his attitude would be any different if destiny had consigned him to the role of the overdog.”


Power Point: Lord, deliver me from the man who never makes a mistake, and also from the man who makes the same mistake twice. -Dr. William Mayo

Power Thought: We are all prone to making mistakes, aren’t we? I’ve made my share of them and I’m sure you have too. While there are many factors that cause us to make mistakes, I’d say a negative attitude has to rank right up there when it comes to ways to prevent making the same mistake twice. Our attitude determines our altitude. Which way are you headed?
-Doug Dickerson

Power Surge: A chip on the shoulder indicates that there is wood higher up.
-Jack Herbert

A positive workplace begins one person at a time. Let it begin with you.

The second workplace attitude is productive – is my attitude productive to the success of the organization? The importance of a positive attitude cannot be overstated. The productivity of the organization is dependant on the success of the people in it.

That success is derived from a productive workplace attitude. Golf legend Arnold Palmer has a plaque on his office wall that reads, “If you think you are beaten, you are. If you think you dare not, you don’t. If you’d like to win but think you can’t, it’s almost certain that you won’t. Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man, but sooner or later, the man who wins is the man who thinks he can.”

Productivity in your organization is the blessing of those who have a productive workplace attitude.

Finally, the third workplace attitude is profitable- has my attitude contributed in a substantial way to the organization? The answer to that rhetorical question is simple if your attitude has been positive and productive. When people lay aside their petty differences that prevent progress and join together in solidarity of mind and purpose, great things can happen.

President Eisenhower’s rule for his staff says, “I want everyone smiling around here. Always take your job seriously, but never yourself. Don’t forget to pray.”

Workplace attitudes are built one attitude at a time. What does your attitude say about the direction you are going and that of your organization? Your attitude determines your altitude, keep it up!

Doug Dickerson is the former editor of the Berkeley Independent newspaper in South Carolina and is currently the director of university relations at Charleston Southern University. Doug’s writing has been recognized by the South Carolina Press Association, having won awards for enterprise reporting, series of articles, and for humor column writing. Doug’s passion for communicating leadership principles and personal development is crystallized through his Management Moment column and leadership columns he writes. Read more of Doug’s columns on his blog at

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.

[Return to Top]
©2019 All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of

Articles for January 20, 2009 | Articles for January 21, 2009 | Articles for January 22, 2009
Tribute to Palestine and to the incredible courage, determination and struggle of the Palestinian People. ~Dom Martin

Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

Special Section: Truth telling news about marijuana related issues and events.