Bad attitude: Life’s greatest liability


“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” – Winston Churchill
One of America’s greatest philosophers and psychologists, who was instrumental in establishing Harvard’s Psychology Department, William James, summarised his greatest discovery in one of his books when he said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes”. A converted attitude is the key to a transformed life and your attitude introduces you before you even speak! Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Your attitude is so loud that I cannot hear what you are saying”.

Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States once said, “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude”. It is very obvious from Jefferson’s quote that it is relatively impossible to help a man with the wrong attitude. I have come to a diagnostic conclusion that the greatest of all human problems is the attitude problem! A man with a bad attitude is a liability to himself and every other person around him. There is more hope in life for a poor man with the right attitude than a rich man with the wrong attitude.

There are many things that can get a man to the top, but there is just only one thing that keeps him there- Attitude. I have observed that virtually everybody wants to be great in life and so we invest so much in education, trainings, seminars and all that we presume will help us get to greater heights in life. We are living in an age where investment in developmental trainings and education has become unprecedented but sympathetically bankrupt attitudinally. The No.1 ‘Attitude Coach’, Zig Ziglar, said, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude “. Until we give the right attitude its place in our life, we will always end up bankrupt regardless of how buoyant we are in every other area of life.

Norman Vincent Peale said, “Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure”. The most important decision we can make every day is the attitudes we choose. We may not be able to change our circumstances, but we can sure change our attitude towards them. Our choice of attitude is more important than any other thing. I have come to realise that most times when we pray to God to change our situation, He seldom does that! Rather, God changes us for our situation. A changed attitude is God’s greatest answer to our prayers.

Attitude is simply your inward reaction to outward frustrations! One of the stories that have always fascinated me on overcoming life’s challenges is that of Nick Vujicic, a man who has surmounted unpalatable conditions to become NYT Best Selling Author, international speaker and entrepreneur. Imagine a motivational speaker without arms and legs! Nicholas James “Nick Vujicic” (born 21st December, 1982) is a Serbian Australian evangelist and motivational speaker born with tetra-Amelia syndrome, a rare disorder characterised by the absence of all four limbs. As a child, he struggled mentally and emotionally as well as physically, but eventually came to terms with his disability and, at the age of 17, started his own non-profit organisation: Life Without Limbs.

Born without limbs for no medical reason, Nick Vujicic knew from an early age that he was different. But it wasn’t until much later, after overcoming ignorance and discrimination to build what he calls a “ridiculously good” life, that he realised his mission: to use his disability to start conversations that changed lives. He has since spoken over 3,000 times in a total of more than 57 countries on topics as varied as bullying, inspiring positive change, persistence and determination, and his own life story. No matter where he goes he communicates one core message- that no matter your circumstances, you can overcome!

Nick gradually figured out how to live a full life without limbs, adapting many of the daily skills limbed people accomplish without thinking, Nick writes with two toes on his left foot and a special grip that slid unto his big toe. He knows how to use a computer and can type up to 45 words per minute using the “heel-and-toe method”. He has also learned to throw tennis balls, play drum pedals, get a glass of water, comb his hair, brush his teeth, answer the phone and shave, in addition to participating in golf, swimming, and even sky-diving.

Nick is the author of several books, including Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life; Unstoppable: The Incredible Power of Faith in Action; Love Without Limits: A Remarkable Story of True Love Conquering All; Attitude is Everything: The Story of an Extraordinary Life; The Power of Unstoppable faith: Your keys to a fulfilled life; Your Life Without Limits: Living Above Your Circumstances, and Stand Strong: You Can Overcome Bullying (and Other Stuff That Keeps You Down).

Nick whole-heartedly believes that there is a purpose in each of the struggles we encounter in our lives, and that our attitude towards those struggles, along with our faith and trust in the Lord, can be the keys to overcoming the challenges we face. Nick believes that attitude is everything and self-perception determines direction. He made us realise in the words of Scott Hamilton that the only disability in life is a bad attitude! Our attitude always matters and we don’t really need to wait until we are able to make a huge shift in our attitude. We can start by making little but progressive attitudinal changes. Clement Stone said, “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.”

Will Smith said, “Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feelings and emotions”. When people throw bricks at you, use them to lay a strong foundation where you build your success. What is life throwing at you and how is your reaction to it? How is your inner reaction to outward frustrations? How well are you able to maintain a positive outlook even in the most provocative situation?

The only thing that is truly ours in life is our attitude. Your car can be stolen, your house can be burgled; you can be dispossessed of your money, but nobody can ‘steal’ your attitude. It is yours! Zig Ziglar said, “A bad attitude is like a flat tire; you can’t go anywhere until you change it”. We must cultivate the attitude that is significant to our destination.

One particular form of attitude that is fast declining in this generation is the attitude of gratitude. I believe strongly that the greatest form of attitude is gratitude; some people find it very hard just to say ‘Thank you’. The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. A bad attitude can literally block love, blessings, and destiny from finding you. Don’t be the reason you don’t succeed.



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