Attitude Determines Your Altitude

The attitude indicator on an aircraft is a flight instrument that informs the pilot of the aircraft’s orientation relative to the earth’s horizon.  It gives the pilot real time information regarding the trajectory of the plane. 

Likewise, we humans are equipped with attitudes.  Our attitude is our way of thinking or feeling on a situation and is heavily rooted in our mindset.  In the simplest of terms, our attitude is our response to our circumstances.  And, just like an aircraft’s attitude indicator determines where it’s headed, we too can determine the trajectory of our lives with the attitude we choose.  Ability and motivation are important.  Circumstances will shift.  But attitude….is crucial to our journey.

Charles Swindoll once said “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, God-given gifts or skill. It will make or break a company . . . a church . . . a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is to play on the one string we have, and that is attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.  And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes.”

As Swindoll points out, it is primarily our attitude that determines the directionality of our life.  I didn’t learn this lesson until I was well into adulthood. And, quite frankly, it is often the place that I fail the most around the people I love the most.  If you learned this lesson in your youth, lucky you!  If you’ve never learned this lesson, then it’s time for a change.  Considering the importance that attitude plays in all of our lives, I’ve come to believe that learning to choose a positive attitude is one of life’s greatest lessons. 

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 2:5

The Bible has a lot to say about attitude as well.  The importance of a positive attitude is emphasized throughout it…sometimes directly and other times through parables or songs.  I am most impressed with what Paul, the Apostle, had to say on attitude.  In Paul’s letter to the Philippians he gives direct instruction to his readers regarding attitude.  He writes, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).  Here, Paul cites the best example he can find – Christ Jesus.  Even to the cross, Christ had a “mind” – or mental attitude – that was obedient and hopeful.   And, therefore, Paul says so should we. 

Yikes.  This doesn’t come naturally for most, especially when our circumstances aren’t good.  It cannot go without mentioning that Paul’s letter to Philippi was written while he was under arrest in a Roman cell.   It is a beautiful demonstration of a positive attitude held by Paul despite his circumstances.  He was living out what he was writing.  This letter was fully authentic.  I don’t know about you, but if I had been Paul, it is more likely that my letter would have been a chronicled lament of my gloomy prison life and most certainly an appeal for pity.   I’m also certain the letter would have been full of ink smears from my tears, much like the homesick letter I sent home to my mother years ago from my first week-long overnight Girl Scout camp!  Paul, on the other hand, prayed relentlessly and worried about nothing, placing his full trust in God. 

When your circumstances aren’t favorable, Paul tells us to remain hopeful.  Wow.   If I reflect on those that I respect the most, they all share one thing in common; a great attitude.  When I review the performance of my employees, I am attracted those who exude a positive attitude.   When I look to my mentors, I esteem those that stay optimistic.  When I team up with colleagues, I appreciate those that are confident. When I need reassurement from a friend, I reach out to those that remain hopeful.  

Who do you admire and what sort of attitude do they possess?  Your answer is probably not a coincidence.  The great Zig Ziglar stated that “It’s not your aptitude, but your attitude, that determines your altitude.”  Boy was he right.  Attitude can be the great equalizer of people, regardless of your position in life.   Where does your attitude point?  Up or down? 

xo Carre

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