Throughout the years, I’ve collected a few thoughts that for some strange reason, have stuck in my mind permanently. Thoughts or concepts that feel like they release energy make problem-solving easier and allow for shortcuts to solutions. They are not original and won’t make mountains move, but each of them have helped to make my life easier, happier and more productive. In the next several blog entries, I will try to bring to life a few of my own experiences to share with you. So here is the first one.
I hope you will find them useful too.
1. If you can’t change the facts, try changing your attitude.
I remember my first job at Six Flags over Mid-America in the spring of 1973. I started out like many of you. First I had to go through a tough selection process (my cheeks hurt from smiling.) Trying to figure out the Federal and State tax forms, going to my first orientation (not knowing a soul, but my older sister who led me around with her friends,) and finally to my first stand. I was going to make pretzels at Miss Kitty’s Theater. I was ready. Had my hair cut, clean tennis shoes, went through training, the next day at 10:00 am, the park was open!
I never worked so hard in my life. I burned pretzels, spilled sodas, slipped on salt and I didn’t get a break. But there was one person – my assistant manager – who was always cheerful, always good-humored, always smiling. I watched her that day, thousands in the park, everyone wanting to be served first and the coke machine on the blink. She was whistling like a lark. “Pardon me,” I said to her sourly, “How can you whistle in a mess like this?”
She gave me a small grin. “Gary,” she said, “when the facts won’t budge, you have to bend your attitude to fit them, that’s all.”
You’ll see it in everything you do. Faced with a given set of problems, one man may tackle them with intelligence, grace and courage; another may react with resentment and bitterness; a third my run away altogether. In any life, facts tend to remain unyielding. But attitudes are a matter of choice – and that choice is largely up to you.