Winston Churchill once said: “ATTITUDE is a little thing that makes a big difference”. How right he was.
I was reminded of this at the weekend, when I had coffee with an old work colleague.
He enquired, “Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?”
“No, of course not” I answered.
While waiting for our coffees, he continued.
“Mate, I have always admired you… You don’t let anything get in the way of the road you walk. If it does… you embrace it! What is it that makes you the person you are?”
I simply replied, “ATTITUDE” and he nodded.
So it started me thinking of a time, a long while back.
Over the years, I’ve had a pretty good career as a broadcaster. The industry has been kind to me and paid me well. Sure there were the 4am starts and late nights, sometimes not getting home till after 10pm. Of course there have been the highs and the lows, but to achieve what I have, after losing both my legs above the knees in a horrific train accident in October of 1973 was no mean feat!
(I know, I know, the pun!!)
I worked hard to prove to the skeptics that I could cut it with the rest of them. I also took pride in the fact that I was unique! After all, there was no one else doing what I was doing (with no legs and in a wheelchair!) in the industry at the time.
People often asked and in fact, still do to this day…”How do you do it?”
Well, it’s simple!
You see, I’ve always had a positive attitude, no matter how good or bad I was feeling! I’m a ‘glass half full’ kind of person and always have been!
I have never ever had a ‘chip on my shoulder’ nor have I ever let my disability drag me into the depths of despair.
I guess that is due to the blind faith and acceptance that this was the hand dealt to me at 21 years of age. Sure, there were many times I rode a ‘Rocket to Hell’. I always remember a conversation I had with a very dear friend just after I lost my legs.
It has helped every time I feel a little low. I try to live by what he said and taught me to this day.
It goes a bit like this:
“Develop a positive attitude, a sunny attitude and something wonderful happens: people will like you. People will welcome you. Through them, you will meet other people because you’ll be a pleasure to have around. If you believe it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can do it”.
He said there would be times I would need to be bold in order to achieve. There would be times when I would have to take risks with my life’s direction. He suggested that fortune favours the brave and there would be times when I would need to be brave, even if I felt I couldn’t. He told me that people are everything and never to dismiss them just because they may look different to me.
He suggested I find out what makes them tick…
Once I’ve done that, I might be amazed at how much I learn and how much I can give back!
He taught me many years ago that understanding other people are one of the keys to success. He suggested that knowing what people want and why they want things and want to do things will help them towards their dreams. Once again, I was told that if I helped other people with their dreams they would help me with mine. How true this is! He taught me to take an interest in other people. He said we all have our own story and our own strengths. He put it to me, that if I took an interest in others, they would take an interest in me.
Here’s another thing he taught me: “be kind to other people and try not to hurt them”, he said. “Remember to be generous. Being kind and generous is far more powerful than hurting. The more you give, the more you’ll get back. Finally… remember this. If a person makes a mistake against you, forgive them. Don’t keep it in your heart. Your resentment will over time become bitter and bitterness is a bad attitude. If a person falls, help them up”.
“Remember,” he said with a solemn, but gentle voice, “Love always wins. It might take longer than evil and hatred, resentment and envy, but love always wins. Always trust love. Always know that no matter what, water can cut through iron”.
His final words were: “Find out who you are. Know who you are. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Be proud of your strengths and laugh at your weaknesses. Be brave even if you are frightened. Value yourself. There is only one of you. Don’t worry if you feel different from everyone else. We’re all different”.
Your new journey is beginning. Just embrace it with a positive attitude!
I have never forgotten these words…