Positive Attitude Can Be Deciding Factor
December 7, 2003
A positive attitude often offers the "slight edge." It determines how far one can go on the success journey and often overflows into how one acts. Often the winner's "edge" is in the attitude and not just in the aptitude. Both of your columnists are sports enthusiasts. Andy enjoys tennis and, in his infrequent free moments, can be found on the tennis court. He enjoys basketball and is an avid follower of the sport. Bob had a natural desire to play and participate in baseball during his country school days. Today, he is an enthusiastic follower of softball and track and both of your columnists are avid football fans. Through experience, we have known the joy of winning and the disappointment of loosing. We discovered, in reality, you need good athletes to win. You cannot win without them but you can lose with them. In reality, it takes much more than talented people to win. Good attitudes among players do not guarantee a team's success, but bad attitudes often guarantee a team's failure. In short, the winner's "edge" is in the attitude. Its roots are inward but its fruit is outward.
All of us have observed the results of positives as compared with unhealthy attitudes. There are those with good attitudes and healthy outlooks that have made a lasting impact on many of us. They are often the spark plugs to creative progress. And then too, all of us have seen evidence of self-serving negative attitudes with accompanying displays of self-centered pity parties in which one views that the core of their problems comes from others. For example, "positive" elected representatives know that as an individual, the focus of attention is not on "them" but their attention must be on the public they serve. In other words, it is not all about YOU but it is about the PEOPLE who are depending on you. All of us have seen and discovered the downside negativity caused by bad attitudes and the powerful positives engendered by good attitude. And attitude, both good and bad, is catching. When an individual is upbeat in the face of discouraging circumstances, others tend to admire that quality and want to emulate it. When a team member displays a powerful will to serve and a strong work ethic, others gravitate toward that personality and even imitate or follow the lead of that individual. People become inspired by the individual in whom they have a respect and often have a tendency to adopt those attitudes. This phenomena is true not only in athletics but it also holds true in families, business, municipal government, schools and in nearly all walks of life.
It has been said that attitude is the "advance person " of our true selves. It can be our best friend or our worst enemy and it starts with the individual. We are either the master or the victim of our attitude. It is a matter of personal choice. Who we are today is the result of choices we made yesterday. Tomorrow we will become what we choose today. Attitude is an inward feeling expressed by behavior. That is why an attitude can often be seen without a word being said. Of all the things we wear, our expression is the most important. Psychologist James Allen states, "A person cannot travel within and stand still without." Soon what is happening within us will affect what is happening without. And it will make an impact and it will be felt by those around us.
The Stanford Research Institute says that a success in any endeavor is determined by 12.5 percent by knowledge and 87.5 percent by one's ability to deal with people. The most important single ingredient to the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people. John D. Rockefeller said, "I will pay more for the ability to deal with people than any other ability under the sun." When the attitude we possess places others first and we see people as of prime importance, then our perspective will reflect the needs of people. Until we walk in the other person's shoes and see life through another's eyes, we will never fully grasp the totality of life around us. Usually the person who rises within an organization is one who possesses a positive and non self-serving attitude. These advancements did not give that individual an outstanding attitude, but an outstanding attitude resulted in the advancement. There, again, is the effect of the "slight edge" and it is true within groups as it is within individuals.
History records achievements, which have been made by persons who possess the "slight edge." Many times that slight difference can be characterized as attitude. The former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir underlined this truth in one of her interviews. She said, "All my country has is spirit. We don't have petroleum dollars. We don't have mines of great wealth in the ground. We don't have the support of a worldwide public opinion that looks favorably on us. All Israel has is the spirit of its people. And if the people lose their spirit, even the United States of America cannot save us."
True, it is all about one's attitude and one's perception. Kites rise against, not with, the wind. When the adverse winds of criticism blows, allow it to be to you what the blast of wind is to the kite. It is the force of the wind against it that lifts the kite higher. A kite will not fly unless it has the controlling tension of the string to tie it down. It is equally true in life. It is all a matter of attitude. For example, many of us recall the story of David and Goliath. When Goliath came up against the Hebrews, the soldiers all thought, he's so big we can never over come him. But David looked at the same giant and thought, he is so big, I can't miss him. It is true, every opportunity has a difficulty and every difficulty has an opportunity. It's all a matter of one's perception and that is the way we see it FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE.