OK, I’ll admit it. I am generally one of those guys that wake up peppy in the morning with a little extra spring in my step. As a newly wed I would wake up and sing made up love songs to my new bride almost every morning to which she would often respond, “what is wrong with you?” I haven’t always been this way, and I’m not always this way now but one thing I have learned in my 33 years is this, attitude makes all the difference.
The Bible has a lot to say about our attitudes, perhaps the most well known and most challenging verse comes from Philippians.
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 2:5 (NIV)
I don’t know about you, but that challenges me. That even challenges Zig Ziglar who is probably the most positive guy I have ever read or heard speak. This particular verse can be applied in many ways but I just want to hit on a few topics that tend to sour our attitudes.
- A Negative Past Experience
Be it a failure, being passed over, treated poorly, or whatever the case may be often negative past experiences (one or many) tend to sour our attitudes away from striving for our dreams. The difference in learning from the negative experiences or bing defeated by them is often simple perspective. To quote the famous line from Thomas Edison:
“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”
Our failures and negative experiences can teach us valuable lessons and help us prepare for what is to come. Don’t let the past define your present or determine your future.
Many times an obstacle is really an opportunity in disguise and it is our attitude that defines the difference. My friend Scott Deputy is a mountain climber and operates as a part of an elite team that goes and rescues guys like me when they are lost in in trouble in our National Parks. When I see an insurmountable precipice, Scott sees a chance to test his skills.
When we see an obstacle and choose to let it defeat us we are completely forgetting the promise found later in Philippians, that:
“I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
Philippians 4:13 (NLT)
- Burn Out
This is a big one, and it shouldn’t be taken too lightly. There are many reasons for burn out and we all deal with it in a different way. Here are 4 things that I have found help me when I am feeling a burn out beginning:
- Recharge - Take a break and get some rest. Even God rested. (Genesis 2:2)
- Review - What is it that ultimately got you to this place of burn out? Typical culprits are overcommitment, disorganization, and unrealistic expectations.
- Revise - After the review, revise your plan, not necessarily your goals. Many times the goals are great but the plan to achieve them may need adjusting. Take responsibility for what you can and...
- Release - what is out of your control. It isn’t negative thinking to say that some things are out of your control. The fact of the matter is that you aren’t God and there are things like the weather and emergencies that we must account for that sometimes force us to change our plans.
- Renew - After you have done all of the above, renew your commitment to pursuing your goal with a gusto. Half hearted efforts will yield half hearted results, so give it all you’ve got. Just remember all you have learned along the way.
I may wake up peppy and happy most mornings, but if I fail to work on my attitude on a regular basis, it stinks. I would challenge you to embrace these small paradigm shifts to put a little altitude in your attitude today!