It may be time
Of all the things I’ve learned when it comes to fulfilling one’s purpose in life, a solid well-rounded attitude stands out as the most significant. If we have a bad one, we not only make other people miserable, we make ourselves miserable as well. Doctors say half the diseases we encounter relate directly or indirectly to the stress in our lives, and walking around with a bad attitude or having to deal with one, is stressful.
Time won’t do it:
You would think time itself would improve our attitude. Ah, they’ll grow out of it the elders say. Not always the case. Fifteen years after I graduate high school I’m sitting in our little neighborhood bar one evening having a few beers with friends when in walks Joe the Schmo from my high school days. Mr. Bad attitude himself. I’d been fortunate enough not to see Joe since graduation. He has five friends with him. Even though they are not related, they all look like Joe. He spots me right away and comes over to say hello and remind me of how tough he is. Mid-thirties, Joe, always a big kid in school is even bigger now. Around the belly and the head. We exchange a bit of small talk, buy each other a beer and he ends up shooting darts over in the corner with the guys he came in with. I remember thinking about Joe after he walked away that night. Poor guy, I thought to myself, hasn’t changed a bit. Still got a chip on his shoulder after all these years. Ten minutes with Joe and your world is a little darker. He and his friends aren’t shooting darts for more than a half-hour before a fight amongst them breaks out. Joe right in the middle. A fist banging feet flying all-out blood spattering brawl. Haymakers and beer bottles flying every which way. My friends and I have a front-row seat to a skirmish that looks more like a poorly rehearsed fight scene in a bad movie, than a battle of tough guys. When the dust settles two of the fisticuffers end up handcuffed in the backseat of a police car, Joe and the other three in the back of a paddy wagon. Joe, still cursing, looks like he’s about to bite through the handcuffs as they close the door on his swollen face. He’d made the unfortunate mistake of resisting arrest. Fighting with the police. Poor Joe, a few police had bad attitudes as well and when two bad attitudes collide, there is combustion. By the looks of Joe his failure to comply hurt him a lot more than it hurt the police. I learned a valuable lesson that night concerning attitude. Stuck with me to this day. Important enough to share this little story about Joe with you. If we have an attitude that needs work, and most of us do, we can’t leave it up to time to do the work for us. It may help, but it needs our cooperation. Hopefully, Joe came to realize that. I don’t know, I never saw Joe after that night. I sure hope so, no one should find themselves at the end of their career, life, or both, and have to face the fact their attitude held them back. Time is precious, it’s up to us to make the most of it and there is no way we can do that with a bad attitude. It’s easy to spot one from a distance, it’s a little more difficult to spot the one within. We have to do that for ourselves, we can’t count on time doing it for us.
Experts in the field of personal growth have for years designated attitude as the most important word in any language. Run into someone with a bad one like Joe and you’ll know exactly what they mean. Many a fist in the face began with someone’s bad attitude. That translates to business dealings as well. (There is more than one way to hit a person.) I’m sure we’ve all had at one time or another, an experience with someone who just doesn’t get it. They value being right more than they value relationships. They repel people with their selfishness and claim they don’t care. It’s who I am, they say, if people don’t like it, too bad. There are no changing people who think it’s everybody else who has the problem. No attitude checkup in the world can help them. Unless their purpose in life is self-destruction, people with a bad attitude will never fulfill the purpose they should have.
Recognizing the Problem:
If you ask a salesperson in a department store a question and they sarcastically challenge your intelligence by answering you in a way that indicates you should have already known the answer, how would that make you feel? Stupid? Hurt? Combative? Same situation, different salesperson. This one responds with a warm smile that puts you at ease and goes into explicit detail to answer your question to your satisfaction. I won’t ask you which one you would buy from, we know the answer to that, I’m asking which one you think has a better chance of fulfilling their purpose in life. One of these salespeople thinks like you, the other doesn’t think. It takes courage to admit we have faults. A lot of courage. Even more so to do something about it. What makes one person want to do something about it and another not. One feels it’s important, the other doesn’t believe there is a problem. Who wants to deal with someone who cannot recognize a problem when they are standing in it? No one in their right mind. That’s who! Oftentimes, the biggest problems we have are the ones we are not aware of.
One of the ways our self-imposed attitude problems come to light is through criticism from others. I recall the first time I asked someone close to me for their criticism. They were so reluctant to give it to me I had to ask them twice and assure them I wouldn’t be offended. When they gave it to me, I was offended. I didn’t let them know that. After all, I ask for it. Knowing the source was solid I put my hurt feelings aside and carefully examined what they had to say. When I decided to take their advice and things worked out great, I thanked them. Afterward, I looked at criticism as an asset instead of a personal insult. What my friend had told me was not what I wanted to hear but it was exactly what I needed to hear. Criticism can bear fruit. Especially when it helps us uncover things about ourselves we may not be aware of. Harmful things. When criticized, carefully consider the motive of the person, or persons, doing the criticizing. The source and their purpose is always your first stop. If they’re doing it to make themselves look good at our expense, it’s worthless. If done to help us do what we do even better, it’s priceless. If, after careful consideration, (possibly seeking a second opinion) you find the criticism not to be true, don’t waste time on retaliatory behavior. Ignore it. People have the right to be wrong. If any or all of it is true, get busy. When it comes to criticism you can benefit from both accurate and inaccurate feedback. One helps you grow, the other rids you of people who don’t belong in your life.
Learning to appreciate people is the first step in building great relationships. You want people to like you? Learn to appreciate them. There is nothing in the world people want more than to know they matter, to know they’re loved, respected needed, and appreciated for who they are. I’m not talking about phony praises, I’m talking about sincere genuine heartfelt appreciation. To do that we have to take time to get to know people. To listen to what they have to say and respect their right to say it. In other words, be a team player. If your appreciation is sincere, people will know it, (you can only fool them so long) and once they know it they’ll return the favor as well as give their business to the person, or persons, who make them feel special.
Every action a person takes sets off a flow of energy that returns to them in like kind. Both Eastern and Western religions seem to agree on that. When it comes to “Karma,” our echo from the past, and the famous “We Reap What We Sow,” and of course “The Golden Rule,” I get the feeling these tidbits of wisdom are as much a warning as they are a directive.That’s a good thing to know when you’re trying to build a great attitude. Let’s take a look at nature’s intelligence, the force that sets the groundwork for these mystical laws. How do they apply to us? Create happiness by sowing seeds of happiness? You bet! Want more friends, try being one. True! Want a pleasing personality, a great attitude? Plant seeds of a pleasing personality and a great attitude by having one ourselves sounds about right to me. There is no other way. You can’t plant beans and expect rows of corn. To have life and have it abundantly we have to follow the pattern nature has set for us. Scientists can tell us how far the sun is from our planet, measure light-years, track asteroids, and land a man on the moon. They can finagle energy and matter so they work for us instead of against us. They wouldn’t be able to do any of that if there wasn’t a master plan in place. A pattern of intelligence we can count on. Scientists don’t discover anything new, they discover what is. Those of us who wish to fulfill our purpose in life need to develop an understanding of this universal master plan because “Reap What You Sow” is no casual instruction when it comes to our attitude or anything else in life for that matter.
When faced with a difficult decision we need to ask ourselves what are the consequences of this decision and will the one I’m thinking of making bring fulfillment and happiness to me and those affected by it, or not. Remembering, always, the laws of nature. Successful people come in all shapes and sizes, and in most cases, it was not their smarts that took them to the top, it was the frame of mind their attitude was in when they made tough decisions. Selfish behavior was unacceptable to them. Whether intentional or unintentional, they aligned their attitudes with the laws of nature and it paid off big time.
Attitude in action:
A bad attitude doesn’t affect the world nearly as much as it affects the person who has it, and it affects the world quite a bit. The difference is the world is going to move forward no matter what kind of attitude you and I have, we will not, and if we are not moving forward we are not just standing still, we’re falling behind. That alone makes attitude checkups worthwhile. We don’t even have to go into any of the other numerous reasons to shape up our attitude like Joe the Schmo’s bruised and battered head.
A smart person wants to know whether or not they are attracting people or repelling them, and why. An ignorant person doesn’t care. That’s part of what makes them ignorant. So what does a smart person do when it comes to diagnosing their attitude? They give themselves an attitude checkup like the one in our “attitude points of interest” at the end of this article, and they commit to working on what needs working on. Although self-analysis can be one of the toughest things any one of us can ever do, it’s necessary when it comes to living a purposeful life.
The Mother of invention:
Give yourself an attitude checkup from time to time and be honest with yourself. If there is something you need to work on don’t take it lightly. Work on it. Repetition is the mother of invention the father of action, and the architect of accomplishment. If we want to excel at anything it takes repetition, practice, lots of it. That goes for the finer points of a great attitude as well as any game we’ve ever played. Information can lead us to the water hole of wisdom but it can’t make us drink. Don’t be a Joe the Schmo, take a drink.
Make a friend:
Your attitude can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Do yourself a favor, make a friend. As human beings, we have the power to make anything we want a habit, good or bad. Since attitude is the foundation of the building we live in, (I believe we have established that) why not use the “attitude points of interest” below to develop the habit of giving yourself a periodic attitude checkup. Things don’ get better because we wish them to. They get better because we get off our butt and make them better. Don’t wait for time to do the job, it’ll run out on you. These friendly reminders can help you develop and keep, a winning persona. When it comes to Attitude Itis, the patient is usually the last to know. It’s a good idea to keep that in mind.
- Everything operates under the law of cause and effect. Bad attitude, bad results, great attitude, great results. So simple you wonder why so many people have a bad one.
- Begin each day with a commitment to be non- judgemental. Throughout the day, remind yourself of that commitment.
- Learn to appreciate people for who they are, not who you would like them to be. If who they are doesn’t agree with you, avoid criticizing, condemning, and complaining at all costs. Any fool can do that, most fools do. We have to accept the fact that everyone is not for everyone.
- Believe in yourself and your abilities. Both are a divine gift. Don’t let them go unrecognized. Wasted talent is inexcusable.
- Attention is listening, paying attention to what your hearing is caring, appreciating people is noticing their good qualities, and accepting them for who they are is the greatest gift you can give anyone. Keep these points in mind when you’re trying to win friends and influence people.
- If you want to be loved? Be lovable. Hand out as many smiles as you can each and every day.
- Practice the art of a pleasing personality, and you’ll end up with a personality people are attracted to.
- Let nature’s intelligence be your guide and you’ll never go wrong
I hope you have enjoyed this article. As with all that I write it’s designed to get you and me to do one thing. Think!