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Attitude determines altitude

The longer I live, the more I realise the impact of attitude on life. It will make or break personal relationships, companies, churches, homes, political parties and even governments. The remarkable thing is we have a choice regarding the attitude we will embrace for any moment or at any time.

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 to rely on the one source of strength we have and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is ten percent what happens to people and 90 percent how we react to it. It is all a matter of attitude.

With a positive, optimistic attitude, each of us can overcome adversities and prove negative attitudes and predictions to be wrong. A positive hardy attitude is of primary importance in dealing with life challenges. Persons with positive attitudes have a clear focus, well-defined objectives and enthusiasm for life. This has nothing to do with their aptitude, how bright they are it is all attitude, how smart they are.

Attitude is our reaction to life’s every day experiences. It truly is a part of all that we have been, we are and hope to be, all wrapped up in our feelings about work, education and personal relationships. Attitudes are personal feelings that we create and control. We, therefore, need to use our energies to bring about positive attitudes, thus empowering ourselves with good feelings that improve all aspects of our lives physically, socially and intellectually. Our attitude is a big determining factor of our destiny as individuals and as a country.

I want to share with you the three factors that all of us can perfect, hone and polish as people who have, or want to have winning attitudes. From the outset please understand that these three suggestions may well be already in place and working for you! If so, then, look at these as reinforcement or encouragement for well-entrenched attitudes, feelings and behaviours. Sometimes it is sufficient just knowing we are on the right track! Here, then, are my suggestions:

First, make your choices. You need to make a strong permanent commitment to invest your life and your talents in those pursuits that deserve your best efforts. When a goal matters enough to you, you will find a way to accomplish the goal. Losers lack the quiet inner strength and motivations that come from a sense of purpose. Make your choices.

Second, achieve your goals. You must make a strong irrevocable commitment to give all that you have, and all that you are, to achieve your goals. There is a major difference between winners and losers. Losers do what is required of them or less, winners always do what is required and then some. But they don’t just do what is required and then some they do that “and then some” with enthusiasm! Losers are always looking for a way out. George Bernard Shaw, the great English playwright said: “I am convinced that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as I possibly can before turning it over to future generations.”

What a terrific attitude! Can you imagine life ever getting boring, or work getting dull, for a person with an attitude like that? Attitude, not aptitude determines altitude.

Thomas Edison once said, when asked to explain his genius: “It’s 99 percent perspiration, and one percent inspiration.”

Michaelangelo said, “If people know how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful after all”.

You can have the loftiest goals, you can have the highest ideals; you can have the noblest dreams; you can have the richest ideas; but remember nothing works unless you have a clear focus; well-defined objective and your willingness to work hard to achieve your goals. It is indeed, attitude, not aptitude that determines altitude.

First make your choice; second, achieve your goals and third reach your potential. Make a strong commitment to reach the height of your potential as a human being. Decide, once and for all, that you will be the best you can at whatever you set out to do. Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, once gave this message to his team:

“After the cheers have died and the stadium is empty, after the headlines have been written and after you are back in the quiet of your rooms and the Super Bowl ring has been placed on the dresser and all the pomp and fanfare has faded, the enduring things that are left are: the dedication to excellence, the dedication to victory and the dedication to doing with our lives the very best we can to make the world a better place in which to love.”

This address is especially to the young people in our community. If you want the kind of happiness and deep personal satisfaction out of life, that circumstance cannot destroy, search until you find what you can do best, what no one could pay you enough money not to do, what you would gladly pay for the privilege of doing. Then do it with all that is within you. And always remember what Adlai E Stevenson a great US statesman said:

“So live decently, fearlessly, joyously and don’t forget that in the long run it is not the years in your life but the life in your years that count.”

Remember life is a series of choices. We have the freedom to choose on a daily basis between evil and good, between hate and love and between despair and hope. Some of us can influence others in their choices, but the number one choice, the choice that determines all other choices, is attitude. The choice of attitude is ours. The secret lies within us. How high do we want to soar? We need to take charge of our lives and take control of our attitudes. It is attitude, not aptitude that determines altitude.

Sir John Swan was Premier of Bermuda from 1982 until 1995.

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Published August 31, 2011 at 11:09 am (Updated August 31, 2011 at 11:08 am)

Attitude determines altitude

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