3. Your thoughts is your vision to the world
Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.
George Bernard Shaw
It was just after 1:00 pm and Sa. was getting hungry. She had put in a few productive hours of work at her desk and decided to get a bite to eat at a nearby coffee shop.
A few minutes later, S. walked into the coffee shop. He, too, was on his lunch break. S. sat down at a table a few feet away from Sa. The same waitress served Sa. and S. that afternoon.
Each customer waited about the same amount of time before the waitress took the order. Each of them received their meal around the same time. Each of them was served well-prepared, wholesome food. And each waited the same amount of time for the waitress to deliver the check. But that’s where the similarities ended. Sa. had walked into the coffee shop with a smile, a spring in her step and a very positive outlook on the world. It was plain for everyone to see.
Her body language and her posture reflected her optimism. Sa. had a delightful lunch, exchanged some pleasant conversation with the waitress, and went back to work with a recharged battery. S., on the other hand, had entered the coffee shop with a scowl on his face. He looked like he’d been sucking on sour pickles all morning.
He was hunched over and tense. His body language cried out “Stay away from me!” He was annoyed when the waitress didn’t take his order immediately. He was annoyed at how long it took for his meal to arrive. He complained about the food, and was furious when he didn’t get his check right away.
Why did SA. and S. have such different experiences in the coffee shop? Remember that each was treated in exactly the same way. It comes down to this: Sa. sees the world with a positive attitude. Sam sees the world with a negative attitude.
4.1 A Definition of attitude
Think of your attitude as the mental filter through which you experience the world. Some people see the world through the filter of optimism (the glass being half full) while others see life through a filter of pessimism (the glass being half empty). Let me give you some examples to explain the difference between a positive attitude and a negative attitude. The person with the negative attitude thinks “I CAN’T.” The person with the positive attitude thinks “I CAN.”
Attitudes are a secret power working 24 hours a day, for good or bad.
The person with the negative attitude dwells on problems. The person with the positive attitude concentrates on solutions. The person with the negative attitude finds fault with others.
The person with the positive attitude looks for the good in others. The person with the negative attitude focuses on what’s missing. The person with the positive attitude counts his or her blessings.
The person with the negative attitude sees limitations. The person with the positive attitude sees possibilities. I could go on and on with examples, but I’m sure you get the idea. When I talk to audiences about attitude, I often like to use word pictures. They help people to understand and remember what I said. Let me paint this picture for you: Your attitude is your window to the world. Everyone Starts With A Clean Mental
Let’s take a few moments to discuss why I say that your attitude is your window to the world. We all start out in life with a good attitude — or, should I say, a clean mental window. Just watch young children. They’re always laughing and giggling. They have a sunny disposition. They love to explore new things. Consider the attitude of a child who’s learning to walk. When he stumbles and falls down, what does he do? I’ll tell you what he doesn’t do. He doesn’t frown or blame the carpet. He doesn’t point fingers at his mother or father for giving him lousy instructions. He doesn’t quit. Oh, no. He smiles, gets up again and makes another attempt. And another. He keeps going for weeks and weeks with a positive attitude until he gets it right! His window is squeaky clean, and he feels like he can conquer the world. But as you know, there comes a point where life starts throwing some dirt at our windows. And here’s what happens: Our windows get splattered by criticism from parents and teachers. He smiles, gets up again and makes another attempt. And another. He keeps going for weeks and weeks with a positive attitude until he gets it right! His window is squeaky clean, and he feels like he can conquer the world. But as you know, there comes a point where life starts throwing some dirt at our windows. And here’s what happens: Our windows get splattered by criticism from parents and teachers.
Our windows get smudged by ridicule from peers.
Our windows get smeared by rejection.
Our windows get soiled by disappointments.
Our windows get clouded by doubt.
The problem is, the dirt keeps building up, and all too many people do nothing about it. They continue to go through life with a filthy window. They lose their enthusiasm.
They get frustrated and depressed. And most tragically, they give up on their dreams — all because they failed to clean their attitude window.
That’s the road I was traveling down. I had a dirty window when I was an attorney. And the longer I stayed in that field, the filthier my window got. I saw no possibilities. How could I? My window was splattered with the mud of negativity.
You can t always control circumstances. But you can control your own thoughts.
4.2 Wash Your Window
But then, by the grace of God, he learned that all he had to do was clean off his window! He had to improve his attitude so he could see the world clearly again. After he removed the grime from his window, a whole new world opened up for him. The frustration and depression lifted. He had more confidence.
For the first time in many years, he could see the magnificent possibilities that life had to offer.
And he was able to make a career transition and do work that he absolutely love. When you really think about it, he is in the business of helping people to clean off their windows - to get a better attitude!
Do you see what he mean when he say that attitude is your window to the world? Can you appreciate how your attitude affects the way you see everything in your life? More importantly, are you beginning to see those areas where your window needs to be washed?
4.3 You control your attitude
It’s your job to keep your window clean. Sure, we can give you a little encouragement. And other people can encourage you, too. But in the end, nobody else can do it for you.
You see, you always have a choice. You can leave the filth on your window and look at life
through a smeared glass. But there are consequences to that approach - and they’re not very pretty. You’ll go through life negative and frustrated. You’ll be unhappy. You’ll achieve only a fraction of what you’re capable of achieving.
There’s a better way. When you choose to take out your squeegee and clean your window, life will be brighter and sunnier. You’ll be healthier and happier. You’ll set some ambitious goals... and begin to achieve them. Your dreams will come alive again!
Still doubting whether you really have the power to change your attitude? Perhaps you’re thinking, “That’s easy for him or us to say. Your attitude wouldn’t be so good if you had my problems.”
Granted, some really devastating things may have happened to you. You may have endured much suffering.
Perhaps you’re going through some tough times right now. But, even under the worst circumstances, we still contend that you have the power to choose your attitude. We are not saying it’s easy. But the fact remains, the choice is yours.
Let me tell you about a man who is well qualified to speak on the subject of attitude. His name is Dr. Viktor Frankl, and he went through hell on earth - and managed not only to survive... but to inspire millions of people. You see, Viktor Frankl endured years of horror as a prisoner in the Nazi death camps.
To make matters worse, his father, mother, brother and his wife died in camps or were killed in gas chambers. Every day, Frankl and the other prisoners suffered from hunger, cold and brutality. Can a person control his or her attitude in a situation like that? Here’s what Dr. Frankl had to say about the importance of attitude in his best-selling book, Man’s Search For Meaning: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. ...Even though conditions such as lack of sleep, insufficient food and various mental stresses may suggest that the inmates were bound to react in certain ways, in the final analysis it becomes clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision, and not the result of camp influences alone.”
Now, if Dr. Frankl and the other prisoners had the ability to choose their attitudes in the face of such unspeakable suffering, who are we to claim that we cannot take control of our attitudes?
As Hugh Downs has said: “A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.” That’s a powerful statement — and it’s the truth.
When it’s all said and done, you, and you alone, control your attitude.
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
4.4 Attitude and success
Okay, let’s say you clean off your window and develop a positive attitude. You’re smiling. You sit home and think positive thoughts. Will that alone lead you to outrageous success and the realization of your fondest dreams? No, it won’t... because there’s more to success than just having a great attitude. To maximize your potential and achieve your goals, you need to apply certain time-honored principles of success that have helped millions of people to achieve extraordinary results. And they’ll do the same for you! In the next texts, we will be taking you through these success principles, step by step. You’ll learn about confronting your fears, overcoming adversity, harnessing the power of commitment and much, much more. You’ll get the information and inspiration you need to start living the life you’ve always dreamed about. Still, you may be wondering, what do these success principles have to do with attitude? In a word - everything! That’s why we say attitude is the whole thing. Without a positive attitude, you can’t activate the other principles. Your success in life begins and ends with your attitude. It’s only when you clean your attitude window that the other success principles can shine hrough. If your window is smudged, only a fraction of the light of these principles can get through. Your success is limited, or even blocked. But when you learn to keep your attitude window clear, the light comes pouring in and you can use these empowering principles to earn more money, have more satisfying relationships, increase your spiritual awareness and reach your full potential. When you combine a positive attitude with the other success principles, you become unstoppable!
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.