“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 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 family, a home or a career.
The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change the 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 all in charge of our attitudes.“ ~ Charles R. Swindoll ~
Recently, I’ve been battered by some situations that seem to have held a recurring theme in my life. The condition of trying to figure out why people do what they do, seems to continuously plague me, and often pops up when least expected. It’s without a doubt, my saṃsāra, my karma, my ignorance. For years, I have struggled to find clarity around this condition and why it is so important for me to know why people act as they do….until this week.
You see, it’s all about attitude. Don’t waste your emotion and intellect fighting for someone else’s highly-emotional, illogical ego conquest. Whether it’s business or politics or religion (or family nonsense) there are endless battles that present themselves. Simply by the mention of your name, you are enlisted, recruited, pressured to someone else’s internal fight. And that’s OK as long as you don’t mind putting your own dreams and ambitions on hold. As my Teacher explained to me this week, you can’t fight two battles at the same time (at least not for long). You can’t fight to understand someone else and achieve your own success at the same time. The emotion and energy you have to offer in such a fight are limited resources. Perhaps more limited that you might expect. Therefore, you have to pick your battles or risk losing the fight. What’s it worth to you?
Which is why your attitude is so very important. You can put on a happy face temporarily when you’re in front of the right people, but your attitude is what determines the decisions that no one else sees until it’s too late. Your attitude is what ultimately determines if you achieve your goals or if you fall short. You can’t fake it. You can’t pretend like everything is okay. Your attitude colors the world around you. It changes the sights and sounds. It makes you believe what you want to believe.
So if what you want to see and hear and feel is hate and fear and frustration and jealousy then chances are you’ll find it all too easily. But if you want to find the brightest parts of this most amazing universe that is vibrantly alive around you, then that is what you will find. Your attitude will lead you there.
As my Teacher so wisely explained, the attitude that searches for Truth and steps away from other people’s battles is not being selfish, complacent, arrogant, needy, conniving, manipulative, or lazy. Those people may view it as such, but that’s not true, and that’s a simple fact.
Your dreams might be infinite, but the limits of your body and mind and creativity are not.
1. Take care of what you have.
2. Fight violently when the cause is worth it.
3. Make sure you are fighting for you.
The Buddha taught that no one else has your back like you do. No one cares as passionately about what you care about like you do. So fight. But fight your battles first. True compassion and love begin with the self. That’s the attitude.