You can safely say that the right mental attitude is extremely important in virtually everything you do in life. This is especially true if you're going to build winning relationships in the home or on the job. People enjoy being around those who are cheerful or optimistic and generally excited about life. Few of us enjoy being around “prophets of doom.” With that in mind, let me share some definitions that businessman Jim Norman passed on to me some years ago. If you can take a lighter look at life the way Jim does, you will brighten up the faces of the people you associate with.
“Let joy, temperance and repose Slam the door's on the doctor's nose.”
Boredom—self-pity in disguise.
Change/growth—the process by which my inside begins to match my outside.
Compulsion—an overwhelming desire to destroy myself in the name of pleasure.
Denial—the ability to suppress the truth long enough to get what I want.
Envy—emotion produced by a belief that another's good fortune somehow detracts from my own superiority.
Fear—the need to run from the things I screwed up yesterday that I know will ruin my life tomorrow which I refuse to deal with today.
Honesty—a thing I have no problem with until I get honest about it.
Humility—being honestly and sincerely willing to learn a few simple things from other people, having no desire to strangle them in the process.
Love—when listening to you is more fun than thinking about me.
Low self-esteem—a modern psychological term that used to be called “shame.”
Persecuted—the way I feel when I get what I deserve.
Powerless—a human being without faith in God.
Problems—God's method of revealing himself to anyone who is interested.
Rationalization—the process of convincing myself I need everything I want.
Self-pity—the door of depression, the fuel of fear, the anvil of anger, and the root of resentment.
Willingness—when I expose myself to the truth and refrain from shuffling the facts.
Sometimes taking an honest look at yourself really will put you out on the floor with foot-stomping, tear-rolling laughter. But I suspect that many of you saw your neighbor, sister, brother, mother, boss, etc. in the definitions above. That in itself is very revealing. The sad truth is that most folks have a pretty good self-defense system in place and don't want anyone to discover it, much less point it out.
“A sunny disposition is the very soul of success, enabling a man to do double the labor that he could without it, and to do half the physical and mental exhaustion.”
For instance, I'm sure many of you noticed that Jim's definition of self-pity was far from funny, especially if you related strongly to it. If you know someone who lives with the attitude of self-pity, you know how hard you work to avoid spending time with him or her. Self-pity is simply a symptom of attitudosis—a condition brought on by your neglect of others and their needs and by your extreme focus on and excessive attention to the most minuscule aches, pains, and inconveniences in your life.
You need to consider your attitude as seriously as you would consider the largest monetary purchase of your life. Your attitude helps shape your minutes, your day, your week—your entire life. It affects the way you feel, the way you look, even the way you respond to circumstances beyond your control.
Attitudosis cannot survive a strong, steady dose of uplifting literature or a regular donation of your time to a good cause. Make eye contact with someone who doesn't expect it and then give her your best smile. When you are willing to improve your attitude and you take action to do so, you'll enjoy life even more.
This is a reality check. I encourage you to read these first few
pages again and reflect on them seriously.