Philosopher Viktor Frankl wrote, “Everything can be taken from a person but one thing: the last of human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Frankl was right. You could currently be faced with a thousand problems, and you may have no control over many or most of them. But you always have complete and absolute control over one thing, and that is your own attitude.
ATTITUDE has been described as the most powerful word in the English language or any other language. Earl Nightingale said that ATTITUDE is the magic word, and it truly is. When you surrender control of your attitude to an apparently negative situation, you will do the only thing you are capable of doing: you will react to the situation. When that happens, you lose. On the other hand, if you remain objective, you respond to the situation appropriately. That is always the winner’s choice.
The results of these two different approaches are diametrically opposed. Admittedly, there are many things wrong in this world. Unfortunately, that is all some people are able to see. These people are unhappy and accomplish little if anything of any real consequence. Their lives are those of lack and limitation. It seems they move from one bad experience to another. Unfortunately, their attitude is the cause of their problem. It is unfortunate because they are generally not aware of the cause of their unwanted lifestyle.
Conversely, there are those that are forever winning. They are the real movers and shakers, the lucky ones, lucky because good things keep coming their way. They focus their attention on the beauty that surrounds them wherever they go. Their lives are exciting and adventurous. They go from one major accomplishment to another.
This group enjoys a wonderful family life. They develop deep and meaningful relationships with others. They are in control of their lives. They know where they are going, and they know that they will get there. They are the real winners in life, and their wins are a matter of choice.
THOUGHTS, FEELINGS, ACTIONS
The great Roman philosopher Seneca said, “Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power.” Think about yourself. You live simultaneously on three different levels. You are a spiritual being, you have an intellect, and you live in a physical body. Your attitude is the expression of all three parts. Attitude is the composite of your thoughts, your feelings, and your actions.
Attitude is actually a creative cycle, which begins with your choice of thoughts. Proctor emphasizes this point: “you do choose your thoughts, and that choice is where your attitude originates.” Thought is energy. He reiterates that thought waves are cosmic waves of energy that penetrate all of time and space. “Thought is considered by many authorities to be the most potent form of energy in existence.”
As you internalise your thoughts and become emotionally involved with them, you set up the second stage in forming an attitude. You move your entire being, mind, and body into a new vibration. Your conscious awareness of this vibration is called FEELING. Your feelings are then expressed in actions or behaviour, and this is the third and final stage in the formation of attitude, which produces the results in your life.
Attitude and results are inseparable. They follow each other as the night follows the day. Look at your life. Make a close, honest appraisal of the results you are presently getting. See if you are able to relate your attitude to your results. This is vital to your well-being. For you to make the progress you are capable of making, you must understand the cause-and-effect relationship of attitude to results.
Cause and effect is one of the great eternal laws of nature and it is an integral part of this power principle of attitude. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that the law of cause and effect was the law of laws. He also said that a person is what they think about all day long. The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius said essentially the same thing hundreds of years before Emerson: “A person’s life is what their thoughts make of it.” The results you achieve in life are nothing more than an expression of your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Everything in life has two sides: positive and negative. In fact, that is another absolute and eternal law of the universe, known as the Law of Polarity.
We can choose to look at the positive or the negative side of any and every situation in life, but clearly understand that you are only able to see one side at a time. The conscious mind is not able to think of two things at once. Those who win are aware of the negative, but their conscious focus is always on the opposite, the positive. If they are not able to see what is good, they keep looking until they discover it.
Dr Norman Vincent Peale speaking on this truth, said: “This is one of the greatest laws in the universe. Fervently do I wish I discovered it as a very young man. It dawned on me much later in life, and I have found it to be one of the greatest, if not my greatest, discovery outside of my relationship to God. The great law briefly states that if you think in negative terms, you will get negative results. If you think in positive terms, you will achieve positive results. That is the simple fact that is at the basis of an astonishing law of prosperity and success. In three words, BELIEVE AND SUCCEED.”
You are spiritual. Spirit is always for expansion and fuller expression, never for disintegration. A negative attitude is a disintegrating force. A positive attitude is a creative, growth force. Love the negative person, if at first for no other reason than the opportunity they give you to practice developing conscious, positive control over your attitude. You can apply this same simple concept to any negative situation in your life.
Now, this does not mean to imply that there are no negative situations in current life; there are many of them. Frequently, they are terrible, but we must remember something we have heard many times: God never gives us a problem we are not capable of handling.
At times, these negative situations will knock us off track and cause our attitudes to slip and fall. That happens to everyone. There would be no mental growth if everything were always rosy; there would be no need for it. “Even winners may go astray at times. They may get knocked down and lose it, but they will not stay down.”
NO ONE IS PERFECT
We will make mistakes. No one is perfect. Perfection is what the winner strives for but has not yet reached. Even so, the winner is constantly aware of the basic truth that attitude is the foundation of all success. It is a power principle that every winner has mastered.
Robert Russell said, “Habit is God’s way of making good automatic in our life.” That is certainly worth remembering. Winners can go broke. They may lose everything they have. They may do that a number of times. Nevertheless, they refuse to lose control over their attitude, and as a result, they are back on top in a short time.
We are not perfect. At times, we may use poor judgment when we make decisions, and those bad decisions might create a crisis for a short time, but the winner’s choice at such times is to keep their eye on their goal, maintain a positive attitude, and get on with the work.
The winner firmly believes that everything happens by law. Therefore, everything happens for a reason, so regardless of what happens in life; they maintain control over their own attitude. The winner is acutely aware of the beautiful truth that your attitude towards the world and everything in it will determine the world’s attitude towards you.
BY CAPT SAM ADDAIH (RTD)