“Growth is understanding what we have not yet been able to conceive, feeling what we have never felt, doing what we have never done before. It is daring what we have never dared. …it obliges us to leave our own comfort zone – to progress into the unknown, to face the tremendous impact of our Self.” —Pierro Ferrucci
Given the previous chapter and the recognition that our operating belief system governs our experience of the universe and impacts even our genes, then it becomes very clear too that our attitude determines if we are on the way or in the way.
There is no doubt that, on an energetic level, gratitude beats complaining any day and that if we are in a state of being grateful, we are also in a state of being graceful!
Gratitude is a condition whereby you stop resisting, stop fighting, with life, with yourself. The bonus is, of course, that we have the ability to choose our attitude – knowing that gratitude equals having a great attitude!
The opposite of gratitude is victimhood – the state whereby you deny your own responsibility, both in creating, by reflection, the life condition you have attracted, and your response-ability, rather than reflex, unconscious re-action to it – or, put another way, not being the consciously causative agent or author in your own life, not steering the bus – but rather living in the effect of your unconsciousness.
It is the same as being in the life-raft but not being at the helm and being solely at the mercy of the winds!
“Combined attitudes of commitment, control and challenge constitute the best available operationalization of existential courage.” —Maddi 2002
The above-mentioned combined attitudes can take us along the path to transformational change – this being a redefined identity and new way of relating to the world – potentially finding no benefit in any of the multiple unhealthy means to altered states of consciousness.
Attaining authenticity without a lens of fascination and an attitude of gratitude would seem next to impossible – like leading an existence without any vitality – feeling trapped in a meaningless, monotonous, and boring life.
The simple Serenity Prayer contains a magnificently powerful message that has been a guide for millions. It states, “Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Dr. David Hawkins, the author of Power vs. Force which fully endorses the use of Applied Kinesiology, stated that “All stress is internally generated by one’s attitudes.”
Gerald Puls, a 75+ years old Ironman competitor from Pueblo, Colorado once sent me a card that stated, “Exercise is the chain that links us to the Chariot of well-being. Well-being means happiness, but happiness is also an attitude, and the best attitude is one of gratitude.”
As a runner, I have reflected on how lucky we are to be able to choose to run for fun, fitness, adventure, competition, or to complement and honor our own existence. Our attitude of gratitude needs to extend to those who help make it possible, whether they be our loved ones, race directors, volunteers, or those who assist in our health overall maintenance. Putting out positive words, thoughts, and vibrations – and being willing to receive them, allows for the quantum possibilities to be personally and globally impactful.
We have to recognize that life is indeed, at times, a struggle and that, despite our best efforts, winning or losing is in the hands of the gods.
We must therefore learn to celebrate the struggle!
Albert Schweitzer stated, “The greatest discovery of any generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”
As an interesting sidebar regarding attitude – you might find it interesting to note that, when using the word ATTITUDE and the number that corresponds with the letters of the alphabet, i.e. A = 1, T = 20, T = 20, I = 9, T = 20, U = 21, D = 4, E = 5 you get a grand total of 100! Is this confirmation that your choice of attitude can directly determine 100% of your experience of anything! – or, is this mere coincidence, providence, or serendipity?
There is little doubt that our attitudes determine whether or not we are on the way or in the way and we need to turn our attitudinal choices into action steps by both having “to do” and “to stop doing” lists.
A healthy attitude can be contagious – but instead of waiting to catch it from others – we can make the conscious decision to be carriers.
Experience has taught many that being self-centered, ego-driven, and living for oneself only is truly a recipe for misery. To this end, our role, in part, is to help others discover how to live personally meaningful lives – to fill their “existential vacuum”. Alcohol and drug use is often a response to living in such a vacuum.
One question we might pose would be: If adversity can make your life better – is it really adversity? As Arthur Schopenhauer stated, “To overcome the difficulty is to experience the full delight in existence.”
There have been plenty of quotes on attitudes and choices and their impact – below are some of my favorites.
Cicero stated, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all others.”
Lionel Hampton said, “Gratitude is where memory is stored in the heart, not in the mind.”
Viktor Frankl said, “The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitudes.”
Egyptian ex-President Anwar Sadat said, “He who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality.”
Dr. David Hawkins said, “All stress is internally generated by one’s attitudes.”
Anthony de Mello said, “The only thing I could change was my attitude and by changing that, everything changed.” He also said, “Nothing has changed except my attitude – so everything has changed”.
Paolo Coelho said, “The world’s greatest lie is that we are governed by fate.” Kahlil Gibran stated that “Your life is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life.”
And finally, Charles Swindoll stated, “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for the day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”