11/10/2007

Creating a Positive Attitude


Positive Attitude. We hear that word thrown around from time to time whenever we are asked to respond a certain way to life's challenges. But what does attitude really have to do with life's not so pleasant surprises? If we chose react to a situation with fear or with unwavering resolve to overcome the challenge, how does that change the actual situation? The answer to the question is that positive attitude does not change the situation. It changes us. Let me further explain this concept with an analogy I once heard.

A man was attempting to teach his son a life lesson. He poured some water into a pot on the stove and brought the water up to a boil. As the water boiled he put in a carrot. After being exposed to the hot water a while the carrot became soft and broke apart. Next he put an egg into another pot of boiling hot water. After a few minutes, the egg hardened. Finally the man placed coffee beans into a pot of boiling water and soon the aroma of coffee filled the air.

When he was finished the man asked his son if he had learned anything. The son seemed confused so the father explained his demonstration. The water represents the difficult circumstances that we face in life. The carrot is the person who can not stand in the face of adversity and crumbles under difficult circumstances. The egg is the person who allows situations affect them so greatly that they become hardened and changed. The coffee represents the person who uses the situation given to his or her advantage and changes the aroma of the surrounding environment.

This story is a clear example of how the same circumstance can have a different affect on each of us. The person represented by the carrot and the egg are those who view the boiling water as something negative. As a result, they allowed the external circumstance to change who they are. When a situation seems to be completely out of our control, all we have left is choice. We can make a conscious choice about who we want to be in the face of adversity and how we will let a situation impact us. Will we use it as a powerful life lesson or will we allow it to defeat us?

Whenever we do not consciously choose to have a positive attitude, we are granting permission for that situation to change who we are. We say without words that we can not hold on to our true essence when life is not going as expected. But with a different attitude, we say to ourselves that we are strong enough to withstand the circumstance. And above all, we have the power to change it.

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