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What is your Altitude?


It is something that everyone - and I do mean everyone - has the same opportunity to possess. It is something that can change you, those around you, and your future immediately. It is something that will never leave you in a worse position than before you possessed it. It is something that affects your behavior which then in turn is demonstrated by your performance. This something is called Positive Attitude.

Volumes of books have been written about this subject. And to a person, every successful person - regardless of how you want to define success - gives credit to having a positive attitude. And it sounds sooo easy.

I believe that your attitude, more than any one single thing you have control over, will determine your ALTITUDE in life. And the best news is - you are in total control of your choice.

Lou Holtz, a famous football coach, once said, "Ability is what you're capable of doing...Motivation determines what you do...Attitude determines how well you do it."

After all, who decides your attitude? Who decides whether you shall be happy or unhappy? Who decides whether you react or respond to a situation? YOU DO. It is a simple choice. Abraham Lincoln believed that people were just about as happy as they made up their minds to be. And I agree. When you wake up in the morning, you can begin by telling yourself that this is going to be another rough day, looks like rain, it's Monday of a long week. Or, you can make the decision that this is going to be a great day, the lawn needs the rain, and Monday is the start of another week to get better at what you do. The decision is yours and yours alone!

Attitudes are more important than facts. Hear what I just said; Attitudes are more important than facts. Any fact facing us, however difficult, even seemingly hopeless, is not as important as our attitude toward that fact. If you or I or anybody thinks constantly about the forces that seem to be against us, we will build them up into a force far greater than that which is justified. But, if on the other hand, you mentally visualize and affirm and reaffirm your assets and keep you thoughts on them, emphasizing them to the fullest extent, you will rise out of any difficulty regardless of what it may be.

If you learn to expect rather than doubt, you bring everything into the realm of possibilities. Now I am not here to tell you that with the right attitude you can accomplish anything. That is ridiculous. No matter how positive my attitude is, I am not going to be 6' 8. I am not going to muscle Shaq out of the lane in an NBA game or throw a no hitter for the Astros. A positive attitude will not allow you to do anything, but it will help you do everything better.

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. Sir Winston Churchill

See, you always have two choices to every situation. You can respond, which is positive, or you can react, which is negative. If those seem like the same to you, let me explain. You go to the Dr. and he gives you a prescription and tells you to come back the following day. When you go back and he looks worried and tells you he needs to change the prescription because your body is reacting to the medicine, you're probably going to be concerned. However, if when you go back he tells you your body is responding to the medicine you are going to be smiling because you know you are on the way to recovery. So, to react is negative while respond is positive - the choice of your attitude is yours.

Having a positive attitude forces you to take personal responsibility.You are not going to change one single whisper that's taken place in your yesterday's of life, but tomorrow is a different subject. Tomorrow is a clean slate. And regardless of your past, you can choose what to write on that slate. You make the choice every time you choose to respond or react. All of life is a series of choices. What you decide to give life today will determine what life gives you tomorrow. You can choose to get drunk tonight, but when you do you have also chosen to feel miserable tomorrow. You can choose to light up a cigarette, but when you do you have also chosen to die thirteen minutes early. You are free to choose, but the choices you make today will determine what you will be, do, and have in the tomorrows of your life.

When employers are asked "Given two employees with identical technical skills, how do you decide who to keep in tough times?" Their answer is to keep the one who is determined to maintain a positive attitude. See, employers know that they can teach you how to do the job. They can provide training to update your skills. But they cannot teach, mentor, or coach you into having a positive attitude - yet any of you here today can learn how to create the attitude that will attract people to you and show your employer, co-workers, and customers you are excited and positive about your job.

I could not help but be affected by the tribute to Ronald Regan. Regardless of how you feel about his politics, you have to admire him for this one single reason; Not one person was able to say they heard him speak unkindly about anyone. That is amazing. Ronald Regan's beliefs - his attitude - kept him from being dragged down with events around him.

So the choice is yours; will you react or will you respond to the events and situations life throws at you? Will you focus on the positive or allow the negative to rule you? As I said earlier and it bears repeating: A positive attitude doesn't allow you to do anything, but it will help you do everything better. Your attitude will definitely determine your altitude.

I wish you the best in your pursuits!

Shawn Lacagnina, of Smoothstone Consulting, helps people understand how to work more effectively together through consulting, training, coaching, and public speaking. His passion is sharing real world skills that not only affect the bottom line of organizations, but change people's lives. Prior to Smoothstone, Shawn was the CEO of Triad USA Marketing Group, Inc. for over eleven years. http://www.smoothstoneconsulting.com


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