Thinking Positive Yields Winning Results

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Words can’t adequately covey the incredible impact of attitude on a person’s life. How else can one explain the incredible feats of those who have suffered set back after set back? Abraham Lincoln was defeated time after time for public office. R. H. Macy was unsuccessful seven times before launching his department store triumph. Walt Disney experienced rejection and ridicule, even a nervous breakdown, before his cartoon character became a hit. At forty Henry Ford was penniless.

Irving Berlin was right: “Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it.”

One of the most significant decisions we can make on a day-to-day basis is our choice of attitude. It is perhaps more important that education, experience, and endowment. Attitude alone fuels one’s fire or assaults one’s hope. When one’s attitude is right, then no barrier is too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, and no challenge too great. William James, the father of American Psychology, stated the most important discovery of our time when he said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that people can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”

Remember this statement:  Uplook impacts outlook that determines outcome.

Faithful Uplook

Uplook is a positive faith. Faith turns a negative experience into a positive experience. Do you know how to turn a minus sign into a plus sign? You make a cross out of it. The cross stands for trust. The way to turn bad days into good days is by faith in God. Give him your problems and concerns.

When we focus on God we know that even when life is difficult, we have faith that God has the power to transform messes into miracles and blunders into blessings. When we see no reason to be positive, our focus shifts to faith. We believe that even in the worst situations, God can bring good.

Positive Outlook

Outlook is a positive, “can do,” spirit.

A doctor, while making rounds in a ward for the terminally ill, asked the patients if they had any final requests. He entered an older lady’s room and asked, “Is there anything I can arrange before you pass on?”

She replied, “Yes, I’d like to see my immediate family one more time.”

“Of course,” said the doctor, “we’ll arrange it.”

He asked a second patient for his wishes.

“I’m a Catholic,” murmured the man. “I’d like to see a priest for confession and the last rites.”

“Certainly,” replied the doctor.

Then he approached the third patient. “Have you any last wish, sir?” he inquired.

“Yes,” gasped the old man. “My last wish is to see another doctor.”

Research on people with life-threatening illnesses suggest that this gentleman just might get well.

His was a can-do outlook.  He was focusing on living not on dying.

A new driver for an interstate trucking company found the long cross-country trips extremely tiring. But he noticed that the older driver who traveled with him seemed to thrive on the road. He always looked as fresh at the end of the ride as he did at the start. One day the young man asked the older one what his secret was. “It’s all in your attitude,” he replied. “While you went to work this morning, I went for a ride in the country.”

His was a can-do outlook. He was focusing on the beauty of the scenery not on the drudgery of the trip.

A crippled boy sold pots and pans from door to door. One day he called on a lady who was not interested in what he had to sell. As he turned to walk away she noticed his limp and called to him, “I didn’t know you were crippled. Come back and I will buy something from you.”

The boy was selling pots and pans, not sympathy, and he told her so. She said to him, “Being crippled must color your life.” He said, “Yes ma’am, it does. But I choose the color.”

His was a can-do outlook. He was focusing on the rainbow not on the rain.

A certain organization offered a bounty of $5,000 for wolves captured alive. It turned Sam and Jed into fortune hunters. Day and night they scoured the mountains and forests looking for their valuable prey.

Exhausted one night, they fell asleep dreaming of their potential fortune. Suddenly, Sam awoke to see that they were surrounded by about fifty wolves with flaming eyes and bared teeth. He nudged his friend and said, “Jed, wake up! We’re rich!”

His was a can-do outlook. He was focusing on the opportunity not on the problem.

Winning Outcome    

Outcome is the result of our efforts. Outcome is the result of faithful uplook and positive outlook.

One of the most profound illustrations of the result of faithful uplook and positive outlook occurred in the Apollo 13 space mission. Although the work of bringing those astronauts back from the far side of the moon looked daunting and overwhelming, the job was accomplished one small task at a time. The people at Mission Control in Houston saved the astronauts’ lives. They did so because even in the face of “impossible” technological breakdowns, they believed they could accomplish it. They never gave up. The looked for partial solutions, and they declared that they would string these partial solutions together one at a time until they brought the men home safely.

While the astronauts’ lives were still in doubt, there was one glaring pessimist in Houston’s Mission Control who commented that he feared that Apollo 13 might become the “worst space disaster” in American history. The ground commander in Houston turned to him and said with passionate optimism, “On the contrary, sir, I see this as being our finest hour.”

He turned out to be right. It was their finest hour.

Live each day remembering: Faithful uplook and positive outlook results in a winning outcome.

Rick Ezell
Rick Ezell is the Managing Partner of Employee Care of America, a corporate chaplaincy business. He is also an author, living in Greer with his wife. His latest book is Forgiveness: A Lovely Idea Until . . . Read more about him and some of this writings at rickezell.com.
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