Excerpt #3 – Pay close attention to this one!
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ATTITUDE – YOURS!
“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”
― Wayne W. Dyer
How do you live your everyday life? Do you see it as a boring grind? Are you looking to spice up your life? Do you feel stuck? (This list of questions makes me feel a bit like Lucy during her 1952 Vita-meata-vegamin commercial episode. But you get the idea.)
Well, before you start make big changes, there’s one you have to make first. If you’re reading this book, you probably have some sense you’re not really happy with your life as it is. What if there was absolutely nothing you could do about it? Let’s imagine for a moment you’re in a prison, a real one. You have absolutely no control over any part of your life, except one – your attitude.
I once bought a set of self-help cassette tapes, The Psychology of Winning, by Denis Waitley. In them, he gave several real life situations from former prisoners of war during the Vietnam War, and how they coped with their imprisonment. It was amazing what people could do with a bad situation. There were those who played cardboard piano keyboards, escaping into the exercises and sounds within their own minds – practicing day after day. Others created guitars out of sticks and string and taught each other to play. Some recalled and set to memory the Bible. This one section of these tapes, which were my first foray into self-affirmation, gave me a completely new perspective on attitude.
Now, certainly, there is much more to creating a better life than simply attitude. Some of us face very daunting situations or are handicapped by circumstances, but I believe, without fail, they can be overcome. Believe me when I say I know it can be hard. I’ve had issues of my own. I was raped at eight years old and later (partly as a result of that rape) I was a mentally and physically abused spouse. So, I am no Pollyanna. But I’ve decided to not let those horrible things define me. It may have had an impact on who I’ve become but it isn’t who I am.
However, this I know to be true; we tend to get stuck in a downward spiral of negativity on occasion – all of us – and it becomes difficult to make any change to a life in which we feel stuck. But no matter what, there is one thing we can do. Change our attitudes.
“A great attitude becomes a great mood, which becomes a great day, which becomes a great year, which becomes a great life.” – Zig Ziglar
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be an advice book with merely great quotes (but there will be a few more – because I believe an inspiring quote can take you a long way.) I’m going to assign you life-altering tasks and present checklists, all the things you need to make a difference in your life but honestly, if you haven’t got a good attitude, none of it will matter.
Search your mind right now – this very minute – spend ten minutes and write down every negative thought you can remember having in the last 8 hours. Anything from how crappy your coffee is to what a big dope you think your boss is. Come on, let’s be for real. Whether it’s actually YOUR life or someone else’s which irritates you, write it down. Perhaps you’re a little pissed Kim Kardashian has so much and has done so little. Maybe you secretly wish your neighbor would just move. Whatever.
Make the list – when you get to 20, and you will, stop. Read it over. Now put a line through everything on the list that doesn’t matter at all (not in your life anyway) and was just a matter of you letting off steam. Now let’s tackle what’s left.
- Is it your job?
- Your neighbor?
- Your marriage?
- How about the kids?
Beside each REAL issue – put one, very simple, no-pain-involved action item. For instance:
Your job – Call in sick tomorrow. Have lunch with a friend who you can download to. Buy yourself flowers for your desk. Cut out a Dilbert cartoon to stick to your cubicle wall. Pick one small thing which will relieve the tension a bit.
Your neighbor – Find some way to place something at your property line which, in your mind, symbolizes the dividing line between you and them – perhaps an actual plant or maybe a garden gnome (my personal favorite) or maybe just a good-sized rock you’ve collected in your travels. If the trouble is that they’re noisy, respond in kind and play your favorite music at record-breaking levels. You will feel better.
You probably get the idea now. So for each thought which truly matters – find some small act of defiance.
Now, I know you haven’t solved all of your problems but already your attitude has improved. Admit it! Tomorrow, when you take your bouquet of flowers to the office, be a little mysterious about where they came from and now you’re actually having fun. See what I mean?
This probably seemed irrelevant to adventure but it’s absolutely not. You have to open up, feel hopeful and joyous to be able to embrace adventure. Perhaps there’s a grumpy adventurer out there, but I’ve never met one. So, now you’ve had a small example of how to tackle your attitude and clear a path to your new life. Let’s get busy.