Posts Tagged ‘positive attitude’

When you can’t change your circumstances, change your attitude

April 17, 2020

In the midst of the upheaval from the coronavirus pandemic, people across the globe are trapped in circumstances they don’t like but  feel powerless to change. I thought of this statement from the late African American writer and vibrant personality, Maya Angelou:

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

In observing the response of so many people who exhibit negative behavior in what they say and do, I thought such individuals could use “an attitude adjustment.”

In one sense,  we all are confronted with a whole new list of actions we must perform on our daily “to do list,” actions that we have to do or “got to do.”  In following the advice of Maya Angelou, I suggest, however, making an adjustment in how we think about essential tasks that we “got to do.”  

A number of years ago, a dear friend, Dr. Dale Sides , introduced the concept of changing our attitude from what we must do or “got to do” to thinking about what we have the privilege to do or “get to do.”  I shared the concept of changing our thinking from “gotta” to “gitta” with a friend and fellow teacher, Dr. Yolanda Stewart, who suggested that I express that concept in a poem to show just how important making such an attitude adjustment can be.  The poem seems ideally suited to the demands imposed on us in light of the current crisis that has changed our world so dramatically:

From “Gotta” to “Gitta“

Little biddy things can happen that don’t make much sense,

But changing one little letter can make a really big difference.

Subtle changes in the words we speak can also change our mood:

From “gotta” to “gitta” shows a whole new attitude.

“I ‘gotta’ go to work or stay at home and pass the time away”

Becomes “I ‘gitta’ go to work; I am thankful I have a job today!”

“I ‘gotta’ take care of these kids—now that’s another world”

Becomes “I ‘gitta’ nurture young minds who will someday change the world!”

Work heartily as to the Lord, whatever you do.

Remember in the end that He alone will reward you.

You may not agree with me, but it’s still so true,

Especially when you face tasks you really don’t “wanna” do.

Some doors may close, but this key to life you will find:

Put off the old, put on the new and renew your mind.

“ ‘Gotta’ to ‘gitta’ ” is thinking of another kind.

Move ahead in faith, and you won’t be left behind.

We have to change in the midst of these changing times.

Standing on the mountain top is the one who climbs.

Changing how we think and what we say does make sense;

From “gotta” to “gitta” makes a really big difference.

The poem also brings to mind  a vintage show tune sung by Roy Hamilton who tells us what we should emphasize, not just during the current crisis, but every day we should endeavor to maintain a positive attitude:

Attitude makes all the difference

October 23, 2016


In keeping with a new feature of Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe, we offer another “Quote of the Day.” On October 23, 2016, we examine a comment regarding our attitude:

“There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.”

This statement by American businessman and author, W. Clement Stone (1902-2002), is especially noteworthy during October, which has been designated Positive Attitude Month. Despite the negative headlines and surrounding conditions that too often leave many to feel mentally exhausted and utterly frustrated, it is possible to maintain an optimistic outlook on life. It may take considerable effort, but anyone can achieve and maintain a positive outlook. During what some speak of as “these last and evil days,” described as “difficult to deal with,” it is especially important to be positive instead of negative.

Attitude can make a big difference. Maintaining a positive attitude can make a difference in maintaining emotional and physical health.  In his, A Primer in Positive Psychology, Dr. Christopher Petersen, one of the founding fathers of positive psychology, maintains that “…optimism has demonstrable benefits, and pessimism has drawbacks.”  He goes on to say, “…optimism…has been linked to positive mood and good morale; to perseverance and effective problem solving; to academic, athletic, military, occupational, and political success; to popularity; to good health; and even to long life and freedom from trauma.”  Simply put, studies show that people who maintain a positive attitude tend to live longer and maintain an overall state of well being.

Deveonne Cooke, Counselor and Life Coach, also points out the importance of having a positive attitude: “Attitude determines the outcomes we receive. You get the results of what you think.”

Angela Lowe, licensed, Christ-centered counselor and consultant, expresses the same sentiments and speaks of maintaining a “genuinely positive attitude” in terms of “sowing and reaping.”

Individuals who sow with such an attitude will be strengthened, energized and multiply, producing an abundance of endurance and support to withstand any “tests, trials or challenges” that are certain to be awaiting. Maintaining a “genuinely positive attitude” in spite of all circumstances reaps endless benefits. These benefits start from within the individual and flow out into every other area of one’s life, producing seeds of hope for others to benefit from and reproduce.

The kind of attitude one keeps can make all the difference. Chuck Swindoll, noted radio  Bible teacher, comments on the importance of attitude as a critical factor of life:

“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 that 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% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

In thinking about attitudes or the way we think, the Book of Proverbs also remind us that as a man thinks in his heart so is he. The Scriptures also encourage individuals make positive confessions and to speak words of positive affirmation regarding ourselves and others. The Scriptures remind believers to let our words always be seasoned with salt, that they may minister grace to the hearers, to bless with our lips and not to curse. Finally, we must learn always to be grateful, for “Attitude begins with gratitude.”

During Positive Attitude Month we are encouraged to soar in life, as we follow the advice of Patricia Russell-McCloud: “Step forward with discipline, determination and knowledge that attitude determines your altitude, how high you will fly in this life.”

Overall, a great way to maintain a positive attitude is to follow the admonition of the popular song:  “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative and don’t mess with Mr. In-between.” We conclude our discussion with this classic rendition of the popular song from Bette Midler and Bing Crosby.