Attitude can make all the difference

Pick up any self-help book, motivational story or divine inspiration from writers like Stephen Covey, Daniel Pink, Ken Blanchard or Jim Collins and within the first few pages you’ll find details about the importance of one’s attitude and the value of the book. Quotes like the following litter the dust cover “a very important, convincingly argued, and mind-altering book”; “an amazing resource that can help even the most successful organizations become more successful” or “a timeless and unforgettable message…share it with everyone you know.”

While all these types of books can be helpful (I know I’ve read my fair share) and realizing that most people don’t; I think choosing your attitude is more important than most other things we choose, including our wardrobe. Last week I was traveling for work and saw evidence of this at almost every juncture. The captain of our United flight from Chicago to Phoenix was retiring that day and invited all of the kids (both big and small) into the cockpit and then proudly stood by and thanked everyone for flying United as we departed. The Michigan Tech alums that I met with that are both close to one hundred years of age and live in a very nice retirement community. Their energy was amazing and they commented about how overwhelmed they are because of all there is to do. I also had the good fortune of meeting a 2009 Michigan Tech alum that just happened to sit in my same row on a plane and connected with me because of the Michigan Tech pullover that I had on. Needless to say, another proud upbeat Husky. Luckily due to another great snowstorm in the Yoop (attitude remember) my flight was canceled and I was re-booked on a flight the next morning. From Rae at the United Club to Lauren (the flight attendant on her first day) to Captain Andrew, the pilot, they were over the top helpful, funny and had incredible attitudes about the entire adventure. There are plenty of books to encourage and inspire us although they aren’t really necessary if we simply take time to absorb the positive moments that surround us.

Life is interesting, every day can be an adventure and the journey is far more interesting when we enjoy/embrace each situation and look for the silver lining in each. It’s like self-help author, Richard Carlson suggests “don’t sweat the small stuff…and it’s all small stuff”. With finals upon us and graduation just a few days away, I hope that you’ll take time to reflect and find joy in each and every moment you have. Be happy, grateful and present and I think you’ll find the right attitude will join you for the journey.