Friday, January 14, 2011

A Choice to Make

flickr.com/Julie Falk

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

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steve, I simply canNOT express enough gratitude to you for consistantly sharing your wisdom & insight with all of us! I truly learn something every time you post & often get a pretty good laugh! From my heart I thank you!

ghazal said...

dear Steve, I really appreciate you for your precious notes that you send for all of us.I tell some of them for my mom who is very optimistic and kind. she like your stories too.But nimber of of my recieved emails from u has decreased recently.I would like to recieve from you any time.thank you

Hamano Michiyo said...

Steve, I like your story.
Thanks you very much, it's make me believe in myself.
I'm from Viet Nam, so i hope you come and visit my country in the future.
Thanks!

Steve Goodier said...

I know the number of emails has decreased recently. I cannot write as often, and I usually spend more time on each article. Thanks for reading.

Mary S. said...

I like this one and would like to expand on it by saying that is precisely what free will is all about. We can choose to be happy or miserable, one not necessarily better than the other. It is all just what serves us at the time. I am a strong believer in that only I can decide what I think, feel, say, or how I act. Nobody else has that power over me, nor will they ever. Because of that I am free, free of the opinions of others, free to relish in God's love for me and ALL people. For we are all a part of the Loving Spirit, and in being so we directly affect the outcome of our lives.