Ted Engstrom in High Performance (Here’s Life Publishers, 1988) tells the story of a trusted advisor of President Abraham Lincoln who recommended a candidate for Lincoln’s cabinet. Lincoln declined and when asked why, he said, “I don’t like the man’s face.”
“But the poor man is not responsible for his face,” his advisor insisted.
“Every man over forty is responsible for his face,” Lincoln replied,and the prospect was considered no more.
That makes me want to look into a mirror! It’s always been a comfort to me that I am BEHIND my face. I can look at something else.
Lincoln, of course, was referring to the man’s expression and disposition rather than his features. And I believe that we do bear some responsibility here.
If our faces convey the thoughts and attitudes nurtured in our minds, then we are responsible for our faces. And we are responsible for how we will “face” each day.
One woman reported that she had just paid for some purchases when she heard the cashier say something. Not understanding, she asked her to repeat it. “I said have a happy day,” the cashier snapped. “Are you deaf?” Here is a person who seems to be unaware of how she is facing others.
Earl Nightingale put it like this: “Our attitude is something we can control. We can establish our attitude each morning when we start our day. In fact, we do just that whether we realize it or not.”
And that’s the point, isn’t it? If I realize that I am already choosing my attitudes every day, I can make better choices. If I realize that I am already choosing my face, I can put on differentf ace.
If I face the day with a little more hope and confidence, more generosity and love, I’ll be happier for it. And who knows? Maybe a modern day Lincoln will say he likes my face.
-- Steve Goodier