“The remarkable thing is, we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.” – Charles R. Swindoll
For those who think that today is like every other day, perhaps dreading what’s on the agenda or wishing the day was over for any number of reasons, I have an interesting perspective to share. What you do every day when you wake up is so much more than a boring routine. Indeed, how you prepare yourself for the day shapes your experiences. That preparation involves choice. And, it’s all about choosing your attitude.
You Choose Your Attitude
You might not think about it, but you make the choice as soon as you get up how you’ll embrace the day. It’s all in the attitude you decide to adopt.
That’s right. You choose your attitude. It doesn’t choose you.
Suppose you know you’ve got a big problem you know you must deal with? Or you’re still recuperating from an illness, surgery or accident? What if you’re still dealing with one of the numerous stages of grief? How can choosing your attitude help you in these troubling circumstances?
The truth is that everyone must navigate difficult times, pick themselves up and tackle challenges head-on. You can allow yourself to feel defeated before you begin, or make the decision to proceed with hope and give whatever the task, project or situation you must grapple with your best efforts.
Expectations, Desires, Plans
This holds true as well for expectations, desires, and much-anticipated plans. Suppose you’re getting married, or receiving a promotion today. You probably can’t wait to leap out of bed, you’re so excited and eager for the life-changing experience.
You may be looking forward to going to a party, taking your kids on a vacation or getaway, or attending some other highly-anticipated scheduled event. When you’re forward-thinking, instead of endlessly replaying what happened before, you put into motion momentum that psychologically propels you to action.
Thus, choosing the appropriate mindset helps set the stage for all that’s to come. Even if things don’t turn out as expected, a hopeful, grateful, positive attitude will help in overcoming obstacles and coping with disappointments.
Resources When You Need Them
A confident attitude ensures that you know you’ll be able to draw upon internal resources when you need them. Such an outlook also mentally prepares you to eagerly take on more difficult challenges, almost as a way to step up your progress. When you adopt and project confidence, this highly positive attitude is proactive. Others will likely notice this as well, and can be affected by it.
The Concept of Self-Choice
I love the concept of self-choice. In my youth, it wasn’t always so. I was bothered by things I felt were out of my control and felt there was nothing I could do about them. For example, my father died when I was 13. I was devastated for a long time, even believing I somehow contributed to his death. Of course, I didn’t. He died nearly instantly from a massive coronary occlusion (a heart attack). Still, my guilt and sadness persisted for far too long, and I walked around in a kind of numbness, an inability to feel joy.
Granted, going through the stages of grief is tough. In my research, I’ve learned that stalling in one or more of the stages is common. Yet I did eventually learn how to cherish the happy times my dad and I shared rather than focus on how miserable I felt when he was gone. I knew instinctively that he’d want me to live a good life, to follow my dreams and be an excited, curious adventurer. That inspired me so much that it’s how I choose to live today.
Attitude Helps You Navigate Life
Choosing your attitude, however, doesn’t mean you won’t face problems, make mistakes, feel disappointment or pain. You absolutely will experience all of that and more. What it does mean, though, is that you summon the attitude you want to help you navigate everything and anything today brings, the good and the bad. Furthermore, and most important, your choice helps determine how all that unfolds.
Keep these key takeaways in mind about the importance of choosing your attitude:
- Attitude makes all the difference — between feeling a sense of accomplishment despite setbacks or succumbing to feelings of anger, self-pity, worthlessness and despair.
- Attitude makes success even more satisfying.
- Attitude projects your beliefs and values like a beacon for others to see, perhaps challenge you on, perhaps to admire and emulate.
- Attitude helps generate and maintain momentum, which is especially important during stagnant periods, crunch time at work, or when experiencing intense emotions.
- Attitude fuels curiosity and stimulates creativity.
- Attitude is contagious and both affects and inspires others.
- Attitude is self-propelling and self-motivating.
- Attitude allows you to translate your enthusiasm into action.
- Attitude is the bridge that programs your brain and affects your behavior.
- Attitude creates excitement that spurs you to change your life.
- Attitude provides the pathway to live your life with purpose and meaning.
- Attitude is what you think, and what you think, you are.
- Attitude serves you well your entire life, affecting your long-term happiness.
The best part about your attitude, however, is that you choose it. No one else can do this for you, although many may try their best to influence you to their point of view, or how they believe you should live your life.
One final personal story may be helpful here. When I was struggling to raise my children alone, going to college at night while holding down a full-time job, some of the bosses at work told me getting my degree was a hopeless dream. Furthermore, they said I should be satisfied with where I was, that I’d never advance at the company.
This frequent unsolicited advice was painfully demoralizing. It took great courage for me to stand up to these difficult people and their negative litany and say that I would succeed and was determined to get my degree. I even added that I’d one day have their jobs.
I actually did — get my degree and have their jobs.
I chose my attitude each and every day, during good times and bad. There were a lot of each. And I wouldn’t change any of them.
It’s your life. Choose your attitude.