Wednesday, January 29, 2014

'A' is for Attitude

One morning a few weeks ago, when I got up, I was not in a good mood, to say the least. It was a cumulative barrage of interacting with some less than polite people the day before. These folks were supposedly "close" to me when they needed me or my resources, and when their needs were met, the same people were suddenly very distant and extremely ungrateful. And then on the way to the office, it was bone-chilling cold and the traffic was horrendous. I was just in a bad, stinky mood. As I walked into my office, the first person I saw was Ms. Smith (name changed to protect privacy).

Ms. Smith is 55 years old, had a stroke 15 years ago, when she was barely 40. The stroke resulted in left-sided weakness. She is dependent on a cane and a brace to get around, needs blood work every month and cannot drive. I have seen her almost every month for the last 10 years. That day I suddenly realized the most striking thing about her. She always, and I mean always, is smiling. Her attitude and demeanor always spreads radiance in our office, whenever she is there.
"You look a little tense, Doc," she said.
At that instant, I felt ashamed. Here I was, upset because of some not so nice people, traffic, cold weather etc. And this lady, who had gone through so much, was a beacon of sunshine with such a positive attitude.
"I was. I'm okay now, thanks to you," I said.

Our attitude impacts our life in a manner that nothing else does. I guess it's the way you look at things. The past cannot be changed and we can't control how certain people will behave. But we sure can control the way we think, behave and react to people & circumstances. So wherever you go, no matter how the weather is, bring your own sunshine. I realize now that my attitude is mine, and mine alone. I should not let anybody else control my behavior. My attitude is a reflection of my character and my personality. A positive, courteous attitude has a tendency to spread its joy to whomever it touches, like a cascading waterfall.

Attitudes will make or break relationships.... an association.... a family. The remarkable thing is that we have a choice every single morning regarding the attitude we are going to embrace for the day.

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change the way you think about it. Don't grumble that roses have thorns, be happy thorns have roses.

Let me throw you all a question:

Attitude is contagious. Is yours worth catching today?