I believe that, at least to some degree, we can each exercise control over our attitudes. And the problem is – if we don’t control our attitudes, they will surely control us.
One farmer took charge of his outlook. He did it by filling his mind with awe and gratitude. He found that doing this gave him more energy to work on problems and to tackle those things that needed his attention. His neighbor’s outlook could not have been more different.
One summer morning he exclaimed, “Look at the beautiful sky. Did you ever see such a glorious sunrise?”
She countered. “It’ll probably get so hot the crops will scorch.”
During an afternoon shower, he commented, “Isn’t this wonderful? Mother Nature is giving the corn a drink today.”
“And if it doesn’t stop before too long,” came the sour reply, “we’ll wish we’d taken out flood insurance on the crops.” And so it went.
Convinced that he could instill some awe and wonder in this hardened woman, he bought a remarkable dog. Not just any mutt, but the most expensive, highly trained and gifted dog he could find. The animal was exquisite. It could perform remarkable and impossible feats that, the farmer thought, would surely amaze even his neighbor. So he invited her to watch his dog perform.
“Fetch!” he commanded, as he tossed a stick into a lake, where it bobbed up and down in the rippling water. The dog bounded after the stick, walked ON the water, and retrieved it.
“What do you think of that?” he smirked.
“Hmmm,” she frowned. “Can’t swim, can he?”
Not to sound too Pollyanna, but I agree with newscaster Paul Harvey when he said that he has never seen a monument erected for a pessimist. A stubbornly positive attitude can often make the difference between happiness and misery, between health and illness and even between life and death.
Viktor Frankl would have agreed. Dr. Frankl chronicled his experiences as a Holocaust and concentration camp survivor in his book Man's Search for Meaning. In it he asserts something really quite remarkable. He says that everything can be taken from a person except one thing. What can never be taken away is the power to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.
We can decide to choose our attitudes every day. That may be one of the most important decisions we will make. I don’t want to neglect making that choice.
-- Steve Goodier