Does Attitude Shape Behavior?

Michael Laitman
3 min readFeb 13, 2024

There is an allegory of a sage who sat at the city gates as a man passed by. The man turned to the sage and asked: “Tell me, what kinds of people live in this city, good or bad?”

The sage replied: “Tell me about the city you’re from, what kind of people live there?”

“They are evil, cruel, and selfish,” the man replied.

“The same people live here,” the old man answered, and the man left.

Later, another man approached the gate. He asked the same question. The sage replied in the same way: “What kind of people live in your city?”

The man answered: “I have a lot of friends left in the city, and the people there are good and kind.”

The old man said, “You will find the same people here.”

In general, the kinds of people and their behaviors in our vicinity depends on us. That is, the first man stated he saw bad people, and he was told that the same awaits him in the new city. And if he had seen people as good, then he would find similar good people in the new city.

How we relate to society is how we feel. Even if people hate us, then why do they hate us? Hatred does not just appear out of nowhere. It is rather a result of our behavior. Therefore, if we see people who hate us, we should introspect as to why that is the case. Without such introspection, we then simply justify ourselves.

How does this mechanism work? It is based on our attitude toward society. How we relate to society is how we feel. Even if people hate us, then why do they hate us? Hatred does not just appear out of nowhere. It is rather a result of our behavior. Therefore, if we see people who hate us, we should introspect as to why that is the case. Without such introspection, we then simply justify ourselves.

We should, however, aspire to find positive feelings in ourselves and the same ones in others. Therefore, if we find out why others hate us, within ourselves, and try to change something about ourselves, then we will find how the haters themselves will change. Another way of putting it is that if we seek to help, support and encourage everyone around us, then we will see positive changes in them too.

We all play host to egoistic natures, where we each prioritize self-benefit over benefiting others, but we can seek how to show examples of an attitude that is above egoism, where we try to flip our priorities to primarily benefit others.

However, what happens if we might become infuriated at a certain act of hatred toward us and want to respond accordingly? The advice is not to do so — to rather let that rage extinguish within. It might sound forced, because despite the fact that we want to respond with our rage, we do not. In the end, though, not responding in such a situation will have a better outcome.

We all play host to egoistic natures, where we each prioritize self-benefit over benefiting others, but we can seek how to show examples of an attitude that is above egoism, where we try to flip our priorities to primarily benefit others.

There are sayings that if we repress these feelings of anger and not respond in such situations then all that rage springs back much harder in other ways later. But that is when we do not apply effort to process the situation by understanding how nature is operating through it. If we apply ourselves to such exercises consistently, then we will prevail to see more harmonious and peaceful outcomes in human behaviors thanks to an upgrade to more mature human attitudes.

We should thus develop habits of self-examination and introspection in order to develop a mature attitude to people, where we learn to forgive them, and then we will see how life will work out much more positively.

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Michael Laitman

PhD in Philosophy and Kabbalah. MSc in Medical Bio-Cybernetics. Founder and president of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute.