attitude is everything

Attitude is Everything

The other day my wife and I were talking with a man who was feeling negative about his marriage, unhappy about his work, beaten down at his church, disillusioned with the world, and pessimistic regarding his family. Attitude is everything, and his was worse than cynical.

We worked hard to encourage him, but he only seemed more determined in his point of view. Before long we realized he thought he was counseling us!

“Your problem is that you’re naïve,” he said, sourly. “If you’d be willing to open your eyes to reality, then I think you’d see a change in attitude.”

My wife, not one to mince words, had the perfect response.

“We’ve been married almost 37 years,” she said. “We had some remarkable challenges with our children. For over three decades, work has never been easy but always joyful. By now, I think we’ve moved well beyond naïveté and deep into belief!”

Call it what you will, but dogged belief and the intentional leaning in the direction of a positive attitude can be game changers in our work and our relationships. Consider the following ideas that help to remind us that attitude is everything.

1. Belief is likely the most critical factor when predicting success. [Tweet This]

Our ten-year-old daughter was not the best-prepared piano student when it came time for the class recital, but she loved playing and she believed in herself 110%. All three girls who played ahead of her had prepared meticulously, practicing long hours, but they lacked conviction. Can you guess who folded and who brought the house down?

2. Initial trajectory is critical.

The attitude you get out of bed with, bring to breakfast, or, at least, carry into the office with you from the car tends to be the one that rules the day. That’s why making a deliberate choice to begin the day, the meeting, the conversation, the conflict, the meal with your spouse with a hopeful, positive tone will not only set the course but actually affect the outcome.

3. Even smiling on the phone changes a conversation.

You can try this at home for free! There are two specific behaviors that profoundly affect the positive progress of phone conversations. First, getting onto my feet, preferably moving around, while I’m talking. Second, and even though the person on the other end can’t see you, deliberately smile while talking. It may be true that positive things can make you smile, but it’s even truer that smiling makes for positive outcomes.

4. “Facts” do not always tell the whole truth.

Given the same collection of “facts,” two individuals can respond completely differently because of attitude. Essentially, this is the half full vs. half empty conversation. But it goes further. Problems become opportunities, failures are seen as learning. The right attitude can welcome a challenge while the wrong attitude can complain about all the obstacles. As a married couple, my wife and I certainly couldn’t be enjoying our fourth decade together without the help of belief when cynicism suggested that we go our separate ways.

5. Be a leader, attitude is contagious.

This is an important truth to remember. Our moment by moment lives constantly tell the truth about what we believe. As dads, we are by definition leaders. If we are sour, we testify to our cynicism and our family, our co-workers, and our friends follow right along. If we whistle while we work, chances are the entire crew will be singing a happy tune. We can’t say, “I’m a believer” while complaining and whining all day long. Our attitude bears a more credible testimony than our words. But don’t despair, the good news is that we can also be a positive witness to ourselves. All we need to do is to get the ball rolling—and that takes faith.

Sound Off

What do you do to maintain a good attitude?

Derek Maul

Derek Maul is the author of five books, a nationally recognized men’s resource, a committed encourager, and a pilgrim in progress. He divides his time between writing and traveling to speak about the fully engaged life.

  • Michael Carrier

    As a person who suffers from deep bouts of depression, a positive attitude, let alone outlook, is not always that easy. Some days it is a fight just to get out the door. I frequently find my thoughts turning very dark and that makes working in a customer service industry very hard. Add to that a dysfunctional work environment and you can feel why I am not Mr. Sunshine. The drugs only do so much and calls to the man upstairs seem to frequently go unanswered. I consider it a success just to make it through the 10 hour days so joyful is not happening much here.

    • Thomas

      Michael, I can definitely relate to what you’re saying. I too have suffered from bouts of clinical depression. My own personal experiences and struggles have led me to say that God can heal if He is sought. When I surrender to Him everyday and seek His presence, He renews my mind and transforms me. When I let go of all my fears, doubts, and self-centered thinking, He releases me from them.

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Huddle up with your family and ask, “Who has the best attitude among people you know? How can we be more like that?”

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