I was told a joke recently that I had never heard before. Apparently it was one of Ronald Reagan's favorites and has been around (in various forms) for more than a hundred years. Where've I been?!
Anyway, the joke goes as follows:
There once were two kids. One kid was a total pessimist, while the other kid was a total optimist. Their parents were very concerned about their extreme personality differences so they took them to see a psychiatrist.
The psychiatrist worked with the pessimist first. Trying to brighten their dismal outlook, the psychiatrist took the child to a room that was completely filled with toys. But instead of being filled with joy, the little kid burst into tears.
"What's the matter?" the psychiatrist asked, completely confused. "Don't you want to play with any of the toys?"
"Yes," the kid whimpered, "but if I play with the toys I'll probably break them."
The psychiatrist then moved on to the optimist. Trying to subdue their overwhelmingly positive outlook, the psychiatrist took the child to a room that was completely filled with horse manure. But instead of squeezing their nose and fleeing the scene, the optimist cheered with delight and quickly clambered to the top of the pile. Dropping to their knees, the child began to frantically dig bare handed.
"What the heck are you doing?" asked the psychiatrist, completely bewildered.
"With all this manure," the child replied beaming with excitement, "there must be a pony in here somewhere!"
Attitude is the predisposition or the tendency to respond positively or negatively towards a certain idea, object, person, or situation. With a positive attitude, we see light; with a negative attitude, we see darkness. The secret resides in the attitude we choose to embrace.
Pastor Charles R. Swindoll writes:
We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace. Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. Our attitude is everything.
Too right. It is our attitude, not our aptitude, that determines our altitude. In other words, it is our attitude that dictates our success and our ability to overcome challenges.
Attitude keeps me going or cripples my progress. It alone fuels my fire or assaults my hopes. When my attitudes are right, there is no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, no challenge too great for me.
Attitude does not just affect us within, but it affects those around us. It is contagious. And we want to ensure our attitude is worth catching.
People may hear our words, but they feel our attitude. Equipping ourselves with a positive attitude adds value to people's lives. It is like a magnet—what we think is what we attract.
Simply put, as Swindoll states, attitude is everything.
So when we find ourselves in a quagmire, keep in mind that the problem may not actually be the problem per se; the problem may be our attitude about the problem. We need to refuse to let our situation determine our attitude. A bad attitude is like a flat tire—if we do not change it, we will never get anywhere.
A positive attitude empowers us. A positive attitude sustains us. And as the incredibly optimistic kid teaches us, a positive attitude gives us the ability to find the pony we are all looking for.