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Attitude is Everything

By: Shammi.

William James, one of the founders of modern psychology, said this, “The greatest discovery of this generation is that a human being can alter their life by altering their attitude.”

I believe this with all my heart, and over the years have seen it happen countless times. What most people fail to realize is that your attitude not only impacts your happiness and your success, it also can impact the happiness and success of all the people around you…your family, your friends, and your peers at work.

Attitudes truly are contagious, and from time to time we need to ask ourselves…”is mine worth catching?”

An excerpt from Attitude is Everything by Vicki Hitzges

Years ago, I was the public relations director for motivational guru, Zig Ziglar. At the time, he was arguably the best-known, most loved speaker in the world. When audience members heard Zig, they witnessed a man chockfull of energy, vitality and joy. Having worked closely with him and knowing him well, I can tell you that the Zig you saw on stage was the real Zig Ziglar. In fact, I can’t remember ever seeing him when he was not happy and upbeat.

The Zig I knew was one carbonated guy.

Every time Zig answered his home phone, he picked up the receiver and said with gusto, “This is Jean Ziglar’s happy husband!” And he meant it!

Awhile back one of Zig’s closest friends and I were discussing Zig’s aura of happiness. “Completely genuine,” his friend said. “I have never seen him down.” Then he added thoughtfully, but with love, “Hardly what you’d call normal.”

“What’s Zig’s secret?” I asked.

“I think,” he said, “it comes down to feeling grateful. Never met a guy more grateful than Zig. Period.”

You’d think anyone that grateful must have had an easy life. But that’s not so.

Zig started out poor. Dirt poor. His father died when he was six, leaving his mother to raise eleven children alone. The family was virtually penniless. Yet despite their poverty, Mrs. Ziglar instilled a strong work ethic in her children and raised them to believe that both she and God loved them. She also instructed her children to practice saying “please” and “thank you.” Those lessons stuck. Her formula of work, love and faith made their difficult lives easier. Gratitude made their lives enjoyable.

Zig once told me, “When we neglect to require our children to say ‘thank you’ when someone gives them a gift or does something for them, we raise ungrateful children who are highly unlikely to be content. Without gratitude, happiness is rare. With gratitude, the odds for happiness go up dramatically.”

Years ago, Zig created the popular phrase, “Have an attitude of gratitude.” According to Zig, “The more you recognize and express gratitude for the things you have, the more things you will have to express gratitude for.”

I know firsthand that giving thanks brings joy. Awhile back, I heard Oprah Winfrey urge viewers to keep a Gratitude Journal. It seemed pretty schmaltzy to me, so I didn’t do it. But Oprah was a jackhammer. Day after day, week after week, she kept pounding on that idea. I’d catch her show here and there. Same thing: Keep a Gratitude Journal. A few months later, I was speaking to a government group and staying in a cruddy hotel. I was seated at the hotel’s indoor restaurant by a swimming pool reeking with enough chlorine to purify the Love Canal. As I waited impatiently for my meal to arrive, I suddenly remembered Oprah’s directive. What the heck? I had a pen and some scrap paper.

I listed my mother who spent time each day praying for me. I wrote down my father who deeply loves me. My kind, funny brother and his family. My job and the opportunity to travel and encourage people. Friends. Laughter. For the fact that I had a place to sleep that was safe. For a private bathroom. (You start listing – you begin to get thankful!) I quickly listed about 30 things and noticed that not only did I have a lot to be thankful for, but suddenly I was in a terrific mood!

Publisher Malcolm Margolin was grateful for something that’s right outside our doors, but most of us have never taken the time to experience it. He wrote, “The next time it begins to rain… lie down on your belly, nestle your chin into the grass, and get a frog’s-eye view of how raindrops fall… The sight of hundreds of blades of grass bowing down and popping back up like piano keys strikes me as one of the merriest sights in the world.”

That might strike you as advice from a person with not nearly enough to do, but personally, I like it. If Margolin can feel joy in soggy clothes looking at wet grass, you and I can find all kinds of things for which we can give thanks!

Try it! Count your blessings. Jot them down. At least stop and think of as many things as you can that you’re thankful for right now. It worked for Oprah, Zig, Margolin and me. Give it a shot. If you want to feel happy, try on an attitude of gratitude for a change in your mood, your outlook and you….

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Categories: Motivate Yourself
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