As I was getting ready to write this post, an email from my friends at Heart Math popped up in my inbox. It had a quote from Viktor Frankl…
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”
Victor Frankl survived the Nazi death camps in WWII. He lost his wife, mother and father in those camps. His experience with the Nazis led him to conclude that even in the most absurd, painful and dehumanized situation, life has potential meaning. Therefore, even suffering is meaningful. He chronicled his experiences in the camps and what he learned from them in his famous book, “Man’s Search for Meaning.” In 1991, the US Library of Congress designated it as one of the ten most influential books in the United States. It has sold over 10 million copies and been translated into 24 languages.
One of his famous quotes always brings tears to my eyes…
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Speaking of attitude, the June 2010 issue of SUCCESS Magazine has a great article by John Maxwell called, “Attitude Is the Difference Maker.” John says, “Attitude isn’t everything, but it’s the main difference maker.”
As you can see from the Viktor Frankl quote above, choosing your attitude is choosing your own way. As a human being, you get to choose how you respond to the people and events in your life. You can choose to have a positive, optimistic attitude and respond to difficult people and events in a constructive manner. Or, you can choose to have a negative attitude and respond to difficult people and events in a self-destructive manner. Your attitude is the difference maker between a successful, rewarding life and career, and an unsuccessful and unfulfilling life and career.
Take it from a career success coach. You get to choose how you respond to every person you meet and everything that happens to you. Your moment of choice comes in between the stimulus and your response. This can be a small space, but it is a space that exists. Your attitude has a big impact on what you choose in these moments of choice.
John Maxwell says, “Your attitude makes a difference in how you face challenges. Successful people don’t have fewer problems than unsuccessful people – they just have a different mindset.” That bears repeating – “Successful people don’t have fewer problems than unsuccessful people – they just have a different mindset.”
We all have our problems and challenges. The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is simple. Successful people choose to respond to problems in a positive manner. They choose a positive, proactive approach. They choose to take personal responsibility for themselves, their actions and their life and career success. They choose to see problems as challenges – and they meet the challenges they encounter.
“Choose” is the important word here. We human beings have free will. We can choose how we respond to the things that happen to us. We can choose our attitude. Successful people choose to respond positively to the negative people and events in their lives. Successful people choose to have a positive attitude.
John Maxwell quotes Chuck Swindoll on the “Power of Attitude”…
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than education, than money, than circumstance, than failures, than successes, than what other people, think, say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or scale. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day. We cannot change the past. We cannot change the fact that people act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it; and so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitude.”
Or as Viktor Frankl says…
“Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.”
The common sense career success coach point here is simple. Your attitude is the difference maker. A positive attitude leads to positive results and career success. A negative attitude leads to negative results. The good thing is that you can choose your attitude. Remember the career advice and wisdom in Tweet 39 in Success Tweets. “While other people and events have an impact on our life, they don’t shape it. You get to choose how you react to people and events.” Use the free will that God has given you to create your life and career success. Choose a positive attitude. Choose to respond positively to the negative people and events in your life. Remember what Viktor Frankl, a holocaust survivor, teaches us: “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.” Empower yourself to make the right choices, the positive choices, when you encounter negative people and events.