There is no doubt that the last several years have been a greater challenge than we ever wished they would be, and it is hard to remain positive when so many challenges loom. One of my colleagues recently put it in perspective when she shared that this year is tougher than last year, and last year was a little tougher than the year before. I also recently shared with the Mount Vernon staff of a time recently when I was emotionally down, and was attending a conference that I really didn’t want to be at. Fortunately, at that conference I heard a speaker who helped shake me out of my funk, and reminded me of the importance of the work we do together in support of our students. It also reminded me of the power I have to choose my attitude, and how important my overall attitude is to the overall health of the school district. Another colleague also recently gave me great advice when she shared during these tough times that she is choosing to be positive.
I really love the work of character education expert Dr. Hal Urban. I have had the opportunity to meet and speak with Dr. Urban on several occasions, and I always feel better after listening to him and speaking with him. In his book, Life’s Greatest Lessons, Dr. Urban shared the results of a study out of Stanford University in the late 1990’s. The study concluded that, when looking at the peak performance of individuals, attitude is far more important than intelligence, education, special talent, or luck. He also shared research that revealed that eighty-five percent of our success in life is due to attitude, while the other fifteen percent is due to ability (from Life’s Greatest Lessons , p. 40.). Dr. Urban also shared, “Constructive thinkers are aware of negative ideas clamoring for attention but don’t allow themselves to be dragged down by them. Instead, they train themselves to choose thoughts which build character and lead to personal achievement.” (p. 46).
So what can you do today to choose your attitude? What can we all do to continue to be patient with one another, to listen better to other’s perspectives especially when we disagree with them, and to show one another grace during tough times? It has never been more important to choose on our attitude, and to help one another navigate through tough times. Our attitude is ours to choose. Let’s all choose wisely.