In one of John Maxwell book “Developing the Leader Within”, he quoted the following:
We cannot choose how many years we will live, but
We can choose how much life those years will have.
We cannot control the beauty of our face, but
We can control the expression on it.
We cannot control life’s difficult moments, but
We can choose to make life less difficult.
We cannot control the negative atmosphere of the world, but
We can control the atmosphere of our minds.
Too often, we try to choose and control things we cannot.
Too seldom, we choose to control what we can…our attitude.
How true that is, and how powerful once we understand it.
There are two important truths here:
- There is not much that I cannot control in life, but
- I CAN control my own attitude.
I know people – and I’m sure you do – who spend their entire lives trying to control. Trying to control their spouses and children and grandchildren, trying to control other peoples’ perceptions of them, trying to control other peoples’ actions, trying to control their lives, trying to control what the future will look like.
And it’s all futile.
The discouraging truth is that we begin life with no control, we gain some control over our lives as we become adults and make our own decisions, but ultimately, aging is a process of increasingly losing control of different aspects of our lives. Depressing, isn’t it? And yet, it’s the human condition. It happens to all of us, and no matter who we are, how influential or powerless we are, how wealthy or poor we are, how spiritual or unspiritual we are, how well we plan or how poorly we plan, it will happen to each one of us.
But the good news is that while I cannot control what happens to me, I can control what happens in me. No one can choose my attitude but me; no one can control my response to life’s situations but me.
Viktor Frankl was a Doctor of Neurology and Psychology. In 1942, he and his wife were forced by the Nazis to abort their first baby. In 1944, they are sent to Auschwitz, where he is separated from his wife, mother, and brother. After Auschwitz was liberated by U.S. Troops, he learned that his wife was transported to Bergen-Belsen, where she died at the age of 24; and that his mother and brother were murdered at Auschwitz. Despite all of these experiences, Frankl went on to write the book “Man’s Search for Meaning” – the book in which he wrote these powerful words:
“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.”
Wow. Consider the weight of those words after all that he himself experienced. No one can take from you the freedom to choose your attitude.
None of us knows what today will hold, what we will face in the coming days or hours.
None of us can control most of what may happen to us.
But every one of us can control our own attitude. Every one of us can choose how we will face this day, and all that it brings to us.
What attitude will you choose today?
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