Has anyone said to you, I like your attitude? What actually is an attitude? The dictionary defines ‘attitude’ simply as, “Manner, disposition, feeling, position, …toward a person or thing” (Random House College Dictionary).
Our attitudes or how we view or think about a matter largely determine how we respond and what we are as individuals. A person with great ability can still be a failure if they lack a good attitude. It’s worth taking a few minutes to think about it.
The Importance of Attitude
How important is your attitude? Your attitude is more important than:
- what others say
- your past
- your education
- your money.
Your attitude is more important than anything else—it is much deeper than just a few thoughts you might think or not think. Your attitude comes out of the core of your being. Your attitude represents your disposition, your outlook, your very character.
The Bible says in Proverbs 23:7, “What a man thinks in his heart, he really is”. And that has a lot to do with attitude—do you have a positive attitude or a negative attitude? Again in Proverbs 4:23 we read: “Carefully guard your thoughts, because they are the source of true life”. The Bible says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).
You Can Choose Your Attitude
Did you know your attitude is always your choice? Don’t blame other people. I like the story of the man who was explaining to a friend about his days in university. He said, “No, I never actually was in the top half of my class, but I can say that I was in the group that made the top half possible.” It does depend on your attitude.
Two men are in prison. One looks out through the bars and sees only mud. The other looks out through the same bars and sees the moon and stars. They are both in the same place. What’s the difference? It’s the attitude of choice.
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You cannot control what happens to you—but you can control how you respond to your circumstances.
Without a doubt, the human mind is the most awesome creation of God. With it, God has given us the ability to think, to reason and to choose whether we will focus on positive thoughts or negative thoughts. In every one of our lives there is the positive and the negative. The choice as to which one we will focus on and feed, nurture is up to us.
Now, of course, you can’t choose what will happen to you today—it’s beyond your control. But you can choose your own attitude. We each have the power to decide how we will respond to what happens to us.
Attitude is Critical for Survival
Dr Viktor Frankl was a Jewish doctor and psychiatrist who spent three years in a Nazi concentration camp in the 1940s and saw terrible suffering and experienced it himself as a slave labourer. One night he stood under the glaring lights of the Gestapo court in a Nazi concentration camp—soldiers had taken away from Viktor every earthly possession: his clothes, his watch, even his wedding ring.
And as Dr Frankl stood there naked in front of the enemy, he realised he was destitute except for one thing. He still had something that no-one could take away from him, not even the Nazis. He still had the power to choose his own attitude. And he chose to not give that attitude to his enemies.
He chose joy, he chose hope, he chose to be positive—it is a remarkable story of survival. He even tried to help his fellow inmates to have hope in spite of incredible loss and deprivation. He died an old man in 1997.
Try This Experiment
I think it’s very helpful to try each day to eliminate negative words, to do away with words that hurt and tear down, and replace them with positive words, words that build up, edify and encourage other people.
I wonder if you would try a little experiment with me. As you go about life today, and as you encounter people—whether it’s at a petrol station, at a store, at home, at work or at church—try to say something positive and uplifting. Do this for one day this week and see what happens.
You’ll probably have a great day. Why? Because positive words create a loving, creative environment in which to live. No matter what happens to you today, look for good and you will find it.
(Read How’s Your Attitude? – Part 2)