Did you know your attitude is a choice?
John C. Maxwell said, “Your attitude is a choice. If you desire to make your day a masterpiece, then you need to have a great attitude. If it’s not good now, you need to change it. Make the decision.”
A decision is an action. The word “decide” comes from the Latin root decidere—meaning “to cut off from.” That means when you make a decision, you’re cutting off any other alternatives.
For instance, when you decide to have an attitude of gratitude, it means you’re choosing to cut off—or stop looking for—all the things you think are missing from your life. When you decide to see the best in others, it means you’re choosing to cut off—or stop looking for—all the things you think they should be doing differently or that you perceive as flaws.
You can make the decision to have a good attitude—and make your day a masterpiece in the process—because you have the ability to adjust your focus.
Adjust Your Focus
I had to adjust my focus a couple of weeks ago. While I was preparing to give a presentation in front of a live audience, I had the bright idea to bring my new German Shepherd puppy with me.
Who doesn’t love puppies? I thought. I’ll bring him out on stage at the beginning of my talk – just for a few moments. It’ll be so cute!
That morning on stage, as I was holding my puppy, he got excited and scratched my chin. I didn’t realize how deep the cut was until after my talk. That’s when I discovered it! I’d been speaking on stage, for nearly 40 minutes, with a good-sized dollop of blood on my chin the entire time!
But, wait! There’s more!
My daughter Brianna, who had been watching me speak via livestream, called me as I was driving home.
“Did you notice the blood on my chin?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said. “Did anything else happen?”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Did the puppy do anything else?” she asked in response.
I knew Brianna’s question was her way of telling me something else had happened. My mind started to race. I looked down at my white skirt and that’s when I saw it! A dried, yellow stain. My puppy had cut my chin and he had peed on me!
While I was livestreaming on YouTube, my puppy was “live streaming” on me!
Did I feel embarrassed and disappointed that my “bright idea” wasn’t so bright after all? Yes, I did. And, that’s okay. Having a great attitude doesn’t mean you ignore upset feelings. Your feelings are valid. In fact, in the next email, we’re going to dive into “matters of the heart” when it comes to attitude.
Smack dab in the middle of feeling embarrassed and disappointed, I had a choice. I could choose to continue stressing and obsessing about what had happened and make myself miserable or I could choose to adjust my attitude.
It’s not our circumstances that make us unhappy. It’s our attitude in our circumstances that makes us unhappy. I opted for an attitude adjustment and began focusing on the potential positives in this situation.
Find Something Positive in Every Situation
What happened wasn’t entirely bad. In fact, my daughter and I ended up laughing so hard on the phone that we were both in tears. We hadn’t laughed together like that in a long time! Another plus? This embarrassing moment sure makes for a great story! It’s all matter of perspective.
It’s human nature to let things get out of perspective. We focus on the things we don’t like until they become so much bigger than what they really are. When we narrow in on what’s wrong in our lives, what’s wrong can end up being all we see.
Even in the middle of a bad situation, you can make the decision to have a good attitude. You have an attitude of “this is the absolute worst thing ever” or an attitude of “the best is yet to come.” You can have an attitude of “this will never end” or an attitude of “this too shall pass.” You get to decide.
What is the most negative situation in your life right now? Would you consider adjusting your focus? Can you find one thing positive about that same situation?
It’s okay if it takes some time. That’s natural. It takes practice. It’s like learning to ride a bike. You may have to start with training wheels. It might feel a little bumpy, a little wobbly, and a little unusual at first, and it might take a great deal of effort and concentration. You might even fall off your bike. But as you keep honing your skills, the training wheels will be off before you know it, and you’ll be riding freely around town without giving it much thought. “Look, Mom, no hands!”
Choosing the right attitude is a daily discipline. To benefit from the possibilities of a positive attitude, each of us must make the decision to choose the right attitude daily. I can’t guarantee you it will always be easy, however, I can promise you it will always be worth it!
All my best,