I often wonder about what makes some people respond constructively to adversity, while others simply stress or depress for long periods. I even used Chatroulette websites to gather as many different opinions as possible. I think part of the reason is people’s attitude. Through my interest in cycling, I have met a number of people who have had positive attitudes even when faced with significant challenges.
One cyclist has had a kidney transplant, another only has one leg, and a couple have been dealing with life-threatening illnesses. There are also quite a few who have had quite nasty accidents with cars, suffering broken ribs, broken limbs, and concussions, but who have literally gotten back on their bikes. One thing they have all had in common was the right attitude – that they were not going to let such setbacks limit their ability to live their life well.
Joys and difficulties
None of us know what joys or challenges we are going to experience. But I think it is not so much what happens, but more our attitude that determines what sort of life we are going to have. We can see challenges as end-of-the-world disasters that we can do nothing about or we can accept what is out of our control, but do what we can. Some people try to bring good out of bad experiences or look for the lessons they can learn. Some optimistic types look for the opportunities behind every obstacle.
Having the right attitude is more than just positive thinking. It also involves an emotional commitment. By getting your heart right, it also becomes easier to become the person you want to be.
How can you nurture the right attitude? It helps to commit to having the attitude you want and find a way of reminding yourself when needed. Some people write down examples of the attitude they wish to develop. Others find it helps to reach within and simply be the person they want to be. Some model themselves on others with the right attitude, learning from their example.
When you have the right attitude, it become easier to take the right course of action. Ask yourself what attitudes currently work for you and which you would like to develop.