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Attitude: Junking the old, crafting the new

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David Enterprise shepherd lessonsThough no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. – Anonymous

Fortunately, attitude, whether good or bad, is something that can be learned, unlearned or relearned. More often than not, our attitudes are a reflection of the various conditioning influences that we have been exposed to. What this means is that an attitude developed by subjecting oneself to environments of prevalent negativity can be unlearned first by removing oneself from the predisposing environment or company that produced it. This begins with a deliberate, conscious process of mental disengagement from such milieu and exposing oneself to environments and people that help to engage with contagious positivity.

Furthermore, a leader must learn to develop two qualities, gratitude and positive expectations. The scriptures encourage us to give thanks in every situation. A gratitude attitude sends a signal to our world that we are appreciative of the gift of life with a heightened expectation that even if the present does not reflect everything we desire, as long as we are grateful for where we are as we journey towards our destination, everything will turn out well.

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Too often, we lose sight of possibilities because we focus so much on what we lack that we are incapable of seeing the abundance within and around us. When we are fixated on the shortcomings of people around us, we also become incapable of seeing the treasures hidden in each of such people. Never be too preoccupied with the thorns that you forget to smell the rose. Charles Dickens offers useful counsel to help every leader get perspective, “Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”

At this point, one is reminded of the words of that famous hymn:

“Count your blessings, name them one by one.

Count your blessings, see what God has done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,

And it will surprise you what the Lord has done”

In the words of Eric Hoffer, “The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.”

An old king had a servant who always seemed to have an upbeat attitude. No matter what happened, he would always tell his master, “God is good. Everything he does is perfect. So there is no reason whatsoever to be discouraged.” One day, they went on a hunting expedition and were attacked by a wild animal. The servant managed to kill the animal but not before it had bitten off one of the king’s fingers. The king was furious. “If truly God is good as you are always wont to say, why would he have allowed me to be attacked by an animal and why would he allow the beast to chop off my finger? Doesn’t he know that it is both painful and shameful?” To which his servant replied, “My king, we need to be grateful. God is good and he makes no mistakes.” Angered by the ‘preposterous’ response from his servant, the king ordered that he be arrested and jailed. Again, the servant’s reaction was, “God is good. Everything He does is perfect and He makes no mistakes. So, my king, I am grateful for the opportunity to have served you.”

One day, the king went on another hunting expedition, this time all by himself. While going through the forest, he was ambushed and captured by a savage tribe that had a tradition of sacrificing their captives to their idol. On taking the king to the altar, they discovered that he was missing a finger. It was a taboo for them to use anyone with a missing body part for sacrifice, so they had to let their captive go free. Recognizing how close a shave he had with death, the king, full of remorse on his return to his kingdom, sent for his incarcerated servant. With profuse apologies, he told his servant, “God was good to me. Thank God I am alive today, only because I lost a finger! But if really God is always good, why did He allow me to lock you up?” The servant laughed and said, “Thank God He made you lock me up. If I hadn’t been locked up, I would have gone hunting with you. That being the case, I would have been sacrificed in your stead. So you see how God’s goodness kept us both alive?”

Be grateful to and for the relationships in your life. Even the ones that hurt you play a role in the shaping of your character. Today, make a gratitude list. Identify at least five people that you can send a note of appreciation to for their input into your life. Your list may include one or two people who actually hurt or betray you but whose action toughened you and made you a better person! Send the message NOW!

Wake up every day with joyful expectations. If good things can happen to anyone, believe that they can happen to you. Believe that if anyone should have a good day, it should be you! According to Earl Nightingale, “Look at the abundance all around you as you go about your daily business. You have as much right to this abundance as any other living creature. It’s yours for the asking.” In the words of Stephen R. Covey “Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us.”

Happiness and contentment are more of choices that we make than the events that happen to or around us. Give yourself a right to be happy, blessed and prosperous. Work because you believe that it is the honorable thing to do, not as something you are compelled to do. Show up with a smile to share with everyone that you meet at work or at any event. Refuse to let anyone give you a bad day. The space in your heart is too precious to waste it on corrosive emotions.

Sometimes people ask me why I believe so much in myself. My answer has always been; “Because I believe so much in God” If He is my Source and I am to reflect Him, I cannot but believe very strongly in the beauty and potential of the ME that He made! I am the ONLY original of ME in circulation! His reputation makes it impossible for me to believe He makes junk! Besides, by believing in me, I am able to believe in others with whom I share the same Source.

Let me end this with the words of Robert R. Updegraff,  “Happiness is to be found along the way, not at the end of the road, for then the journey is over and it is too late. Today, this hour, this minute is the day, the hour, the minute for each of us to sense the fact that life is good, with all of its trials and troubles, and perhaps more interesting because of them.”

Remember, the sky is not your limit, God is!

The post Attitude: Junking the old, crafting the new appeared first on Tribune.

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