I love to hear about people overcoming monstrous obstacles to do amazing things. Nothing inspires me more than watching others pound their own person tragedies into the ground. Those David facing Goliath, against insurmountable odds, stories with victorious endings for the underdog. For a long time now, I have meditated about what makes these specific people rise above while others wither and are crushed. The circumstances don't necessarily even have to be those of tragedy or struggle. Life for some seems to be all they can handle. Faith in God is an overwhelmingly common thread to these stories and second to faith is attitude which is where we will be focusing today.
There are two components to your attitude: The first is how you handle obstacles. If I find a mountain before me, I am going to put my head down and I am going to get over that mountain. Ain't no thang going to stop me. Others may find themselves at the foot of that same mountain crying and weeping because there is no way they'll be able to get over it. It's too big. They're too tired. Their such-and-such hurts. Their grandpa died climbing a mountain so they can't. It's just too busy here at the foot of the mountain and to try to take on climbing the mountain, well, just forget about that. The great innovator Henry Ford once said that, " Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right." How true are those words? Where are you on the attitude spectrum? I'll tell you, I am an eternal optimist....which....is quite amazing that I have remained so when you look at a timeline of events over my lifetime.
The second part of your attitude is your general outlook regarding your day-to-day life. Do you know someone who is negative all the time? Seventy year old Mrs. Smith at church has ovarian cancer, yet every Sunday she's sitting there in her spot singing away, greeting everyone with a smile and faithfully brings her famous coffee cake for Sunday School. She never complains about her condition, despite the horrible pain she's in and how sick the treatments make her. Then there's Mrs. Jones. If Mrs. Jones won the lottery, she would complain about the taxes she would owe on it. She let's everyone know that her children are giving her a difficult time. She responds to your 'How are you?" greeting with an eye roll and an exasperated, "Busy!" or, if it's a really bad day, you may only receive a moan as a response. She doesn't clean her house because it'll just get messy again so why bother. In fact, she doesn't do much of anything.
Your attitude is not something you're born with. You may have a tendency to lean one way or the other and, while you don't have any control over what happens, you are in complete control over how you respond to it. What you allow to happen in your thoughts come to life in your attitude. Proverbs 4:23 NCV says to, "Be careful about what you think. Your thoughts run your life." This verse is so powerfully true and not only just for your individual experience, your attitude affects how others see you. If you are a small business owner, the success and future of your business rests firmly and squarely on your attitude. Stephen Hawking, the famous physicist who is bound to his wheelchair due to a slow onset form of ALS, said, "People won't have time for you if you're always angry or complaining." I know from personal experience that negative attitudes have end friendships and have hindered the success of businesses. I've seen it and it's a sad thing because it is so unnecessary.
Where are you at? Are you in need of an attitude check? Walk through the following questions for a little self-check:
1. How do I speak about my husband/boyfriend, children, job, life in general?
2. Do I look for the good in situations, or do I tend to focus on the negatives?
3. Am I hopeful about the future or do I fear it/see certain failure?
4. Do I see myself as in charge of my life or does life happen to me?
5. Am I consistently seeking commiseration or do I focus on encouraging others?
6. Do I consider myself to be a pleasant person, a joy to be around?