Saturday, June 25, 2022

MACKAY: Changes in attitude, changes in latitude

| October 24, 2021 1:00 AM

"I am seldom considered, though I do more to influence everything about you than virtually any one thing in your life. I often control the time you get up in the morning, the time you go to sleep, what you eat and drink, and the very thoughts that run through your head. I can make you either happy or sad, loving or hateful, cheerful or remorseful, congenial or spiteful, and in doing so, control the very capacity that you have for success.

"No, you don't often think of me; instead you BLAME the problems I create on the shortcomings of others, or the state of the economy, or your family, or a million other things.

"When my impact on your life is fully considered in, when you are mindful of my awesome power, my influence will spread to every person you come in contact with.


This slightly emended wisdom from an unknown author is perfect as we recognize Positive Attitude Month in October. A positive attitude is one of the best traits you can carry with you, because it makes any difficult or frustrating situation a lot easier to deal with.

Researchers believe people who embrace a positive outlook have less stress, an increased sense of well-being, better coping skills, greater success and longer life spans.

Author Glenn Van Ekeren lists six attitude axioms:

1) Attitude affects quality of life. A positive attitude won't let you do anything, but it will help you do everything better than a negative attitude.

2) Attitude is a choice. Circumstances are uncontrollable; our responsibility is to choose our responses. Situations may color your view of life, but you have the power to choose what the color will be.

3) Attitudes alter abilities. People who believe they can't do something are usually right, and so are those who believe they can.

My good friend college football Hall-of-Fame coach Lou Holtz frequently speaks on the correlation between ability and attitude. Lou says: "Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it."

4) People with a positive attitude anticipate adversity. Optimistic people do not have their heads in the clouds, believing nothing will go wrong because they have a good attitude. Positive people know challenging events, adversity and tough situations are inevitable.

5) Attitude affirms success and failure. Positive people keep success and failure in perspective. These people tend to remove the word 'failure' from their vocabulary and use words like 'experience,' 'results,' 'challenge,' 'temporary setback' and 'unsuccessful attempt.'

6) Actions alter attitudes. Making the magnitude of attitude work for you begins with acting in a manner consistent with the mental state you desire. You are who and what you are today because of the attitudes you choose.

Our attitude toward the world around us depends upon what we are ourselves. If we are selfish, we will be suspicious of others. If we are of a generous nature, we will be likely to be more trustful. If we are quite honest with ourselves, we won't always be anticipating deceit in others. If we are inclined to be fair, we won't feel that we are being cheated. Of course, it's important to be on the lookout for scammers.

In a sense, looking at the people around you is like looking in a mirror. You see a reflection of yourself. Pay attention to that reflection. If the image is less than sparkling, it's time for a change. You don't need a new mirror. You need an attitude adjustment to help you see the brighter side of life.

Mackay's Moral: There are no negatives to a positive attitude.

• • •

Harvey Mackay is the author of the New York Times bestseller "Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive." He can be reached through his website,, by emailing or by writing him at MackayMitchell Envelope Co., 2100 Elm St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414.

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