“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than giftedness of skill. It will make or break a company...a church...a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.”
-Charles R. Swindoll
I remember as a 7th grader reciting this pledge in front of my parents and peers as I was inducted into my school’s honor society. In the years after, I would read the pledge to new inductees as the President of Honor Society. At the time I remember these words falling over me as a serious commitment to improving my attitude towards life. Now, looking back on this pledge, I realize that I have long forgotten the pledge I took almost a decade ago.
As I reflect on this pledge now, I realize that what Chuck Swindoll is asking of people is very challenging. He is asking everyone to mindfully choose to have a good attitude going into each day. The problem is, very few of us have a high level of attitude awareness. Furthermore many people experience habitual bad attitudes caused by stress, low self-esteem, fear, anger, or many other causes. Regardless of these challenges, we know that attitude is incredibly important. Countless studies detail how attitude is a vital part of success. So how do we consciously decide to have a good attitude when all of these factors affect our ability to make this decision?
One way to start choosing to have a better attitude is to rid your life of negativity. All of the factors that influence habitual bad attitude are influenced by negativity. Reducing or eliminating these factors in your life can make room for positivity. Another way to create a positive attitude is to start your day right. I don’t know about you, but my day typically starts with a whirlwind. I’m rushing to get ready, the dog is freaking out because I’m leaving, the train runs with delays and, no matter how early I leave, I always feel like I’m running behind. This is how I start my day, and it sets the mood for for the rest of the day. Days that start with a warm drink and a calm dog are much better and typically those days stay positive. Starting out your day with something that makes you happy can help your mood throughout the whole day. Lastly, practice self care to improve your attitude. Self care can reduce stress and improve your attitude. These practices might include exercise, napping, going to the spa, or anything else that makes you happy and improves your mental/physical well being.
An article published in the Huffington Post in August talks about the importance of attitude for success. One of the points that is made in the article is that attitude is infectious. If you are able to maintain a positive attitude, those around will be positively affected. It also says that people with good attitudes can maximize their performance at work leading to an experience of a higher level of success. Overall, there is proof that a good attitude will positively affect a person’s productivity and success. To achieve this success, we must be mindful of our attitudes and be strategic about maintaining a positive attitude. Going back to the quote that began this post, Chuck Swindoll says we are in charge of our attitudes. This does not necessarily mean that we can choose to have a good attitude, but we can choose to make changes to our lives that will give us a better attitude.