I remember when I first saw those words engraved into a piece of marble. It was 1996 and I was in a gift store in Springfield Missouri. I immediately picked up the rock, purchased it and brought back to Canada with me. That small slab of rock with its three words of wisdom spent many years on my desk reminding me to check my attitude throughout the day – every day.
It’s impossible to remain untouched by the ups and downs in life, or for our moods to be constantly gracious, compassionate, forgiving and loving. We need to do our inner work. But under every circumstance we always have a choice of the filter we choose to view and meet the world – our attitude.
The mighty among us and through history always seem to have met extreme challenges, endured unimaginable cruelty or hardship or had their hearts broken. It is their attitude that molds them from that point forward. Do they become bitter, brittle, broken shells or vicious cruel tyrants? Or do they fight their demons and eventually shift into stronger, kinder and more humble versions of themselves and so develop inner wisdom and peace? Strangely, it really is a choice – a choice of attitude.
What do you consider to be a healthy attitude? I think a healthy attitude is one that will allow you to move ahead in life, be optimistic and realistic, feel your feelings, face opportunity and adversity and grow in strength and love.
And then, as I was writing this, I remembered the poem If – by Rudyard Kipling. I learnt it as a child. I loved it then and still do. True for men and women, then and now, I need say no more. Attitude is everything.
Rudyard Kipling – 1865-1936
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run—
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
PS If you’d like help with your stress, let’s connect.