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     Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.  Christopher Reeve

When the world says, “Give up,” hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”  Author Unkown

Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops…at all.  Emily Dickinson

Hope is independent of the apparatus of logic.  Norman Cousins

When you say a situation or a person is hopeless, you’re slamming the door in the face of God.  Rev. Charles L. Allen


When I graduated from high school we were given the book, How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Caragie.  It was the first book I had ever read that had to do with self-improvement and how to be a success in life. Up to that time anything I had learned about personal growth, relationships and being successful came unconsciously from parents, teachers, church and coaches.  From the time I was in kindergarten through highschool there were no intentional courses given in any learning institutions, at least that I was aware of.  It wasn’t until after graduation that I was introduced to various books by college classmates that instructed you on how to be a success in your life, and all of them emphasized ATTITUDE as the main key to success in life.  They also underscored the foundation of faith in God as an absolute foundation to launch your newly discovered attitude. So I thought I would reflect on some of those truths concerning attitude.

1.  Work on yourself – One of the things that I have learned that if you want to succeed in life you have to work on yourself harder than you work on your job.  If you want to have upward mobility in any company don’t just work harder–although you should have a strong work ethic–but work on yourself so that you become a better person and essentially people see you as being valuable to the company.  What happens is that people or management likes your attitude more than just your hard work.  They start to see that you have outgrown your position and want to move you higher or in other directions.  Jim Rohn states: “Your attitude is like the engine that runs the car.  The more finely tuned that engine is, the better the car will run.”  The same is true about our lives.  If you raise your level of attitude awareness you will begin to see that your whole life opens up in different ways and starts to flourish.  William James, the father of psychology states, “the greatest discovery of our time is that your life can be altered when you alter your attitude.”

Working on self-development is a life long process.  It’s like trying to maintain your weight–it’s an ongoing struggle (Lord how I know. I don’t know how many diet programs I’ve been on and I’m on one now).  Losing weight involves self-discipline and you will lose weight, regain some or sit on plateaus for a while.  But all in all it is the best thing for you.  The same is true of constantly being aware of growing your attitude and it doesn’t matter if your 7 years old or 97.  If you want to be a success in life, in all it’s many aspects, you have to work on yourself every day, every week for the rest of your life.  Sometimes it’s not easy but it’s more fun and more rewarding than you can imagine.  Before you can travel through life on the outside, you have to travel on the inside.

2.  Attitude is a choice – One of the great speakers of our time who died last year due to cancer was a guy name Keith Harrell.  Keith actually looked up the word attitude in a dictionary and got this definition: a state of mind or feeling with regard to some matter.  But for Keith attitude can be defined in one word — life.  He says, “The attitude that you carry around makes an incredible difference in your life.  It can be a powerful tool for positive action.  Or it can be a poison that cripples your ability to fulfill your potential.  Your attitude dictates whether you are living life or life is living you, whether you are on the way or in the way.”

There are only two choices for which attitude you choose.  Either it will be negative or positive and we are challenged to make those choices everyday whether that be on the job, stuck in traffic or standing in line at the grocery store are dealing with some relationship.  We either have the choice to react which gives control to our inner emotions to possibly go haywire or we can choose to respond which means that you are in control.  You are either going to choose to be in control of your attitude or your attitude will control you.  The key is to realize that it is not what happens to us that matters, it’s what happens to us on the inside–how we will choose to respond.  Attitude is always a choice.

3.  Talk to yourself in a positive way – I have had some pretty mean things said about me in my life but I also have had some wonderful things said about me.  It seems that we remember the worse things the most and the longest.  What I have learned in my life is that the most destructive voice we have is our own.  We hear the bad about us every day from classmates, friends, parents, fellow employees, bosses, etc.  I worked in the church for 40 years and heard a lot of uplifting voices but I also heard destructive unnecessary comments.   I think we all have learned that people, even good people, can say things that hurt us.  Unfortunately it’s out there whether we like it or not.

Many times, we listen to those voices to such extent on our inside that we begin saying those hurtful words to ourselves.  I remember a good friend of mine told me one time, “Jay you’ve got to think and say good things about yourself.  You have to pull up the good memories and good affirmations that people have said about you because those are the things that will keep you going.  You can accept an attitude of fear or action.  You can choose to be a victor or a victim. You can let life run you over or you can take it on!”

Those are powerful and truthful words for any of us.  The most influential voice upon your psyche is going to be your own.  There are hopeful, encouraging memories in your mind and also deep in your subconscious. We need to unplug those thoughts and let them flow over us like a cleansing stream of water. I believe we can control, and sometimes, clear from our mind negativity that seeks to converse with us, and we do that by consistently replacing them with hopeful messages that come from your voice.  I’m not saying it happens overnight and I’m sure not suggesting that a “positive attitude” is always on autopilot.  I am just saying that we can control the inner voices that circulate inside of us and our voice is one of the best, the most influential to our growing from within and finding true happiness.  Try every day saying good things about yourself and hearing the good voices of affirmation and encouragement.  For example try saying this ten times a day:  “If God is for us who can be against us” (Romans 8:31).  There is greatness that has not yet been fully discovered or demonstrated in your life that is ready to come out!   And that’s hope and peace.  Have a great and wonderful life!

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