It’s often said that attitude is everything. What would you say? Is it? How many of us know that there are situations in life that serve as great teaching for parents, children and, well anyone, really.
I happened to have had a powerful discussion this morning with my daughters about critics and how to handle the drama and deceit that they thrive on. One way is to focus on your own dream, your mission, your calling.
On our way to summer camp today, my youngest daughter Brooke (Age 6), commented on how someone (a perceived friend) had said something unkind about her appearance. She was horrified that everywhere this little girl went, she commented to others about it. As a parent this can be, well, infuriating…know what I mean moms and dads?
All I could do was ask Brooke questions about how it made her feel, what she did about it and help to reframe her thinking that God makes no junk and that she’s perfect, just the way she is… I reminded her that even as adults, we face this. Einstein said it well – that “Great spirits have endured violent opposition from mediocre minds.” What I’ve found from experience and study, is that hurting people hurt other people, and so it boils down to how you view it or the lens you look through. In the end, what they’re doing isn’t about you anyway, it’s about what they’re experiencing at their core. It reminds me of a good friend of mine in the world of leadership, Curtis Spolar, and how he tells the story of his talks with his children on attitude. He says…
“If I spit on you, will that make you mad? No, it will make you wet. You have to choose to get mad.”
That’s powerful teaching, because no matter what “Goliath” or obstacle we face, we get to choose our response. As the late author Stephen R. Covey wrote in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, we are Response+Able. Attitude and focus are a choice. We have the option to take the lemons of life and make lemonade. Or, as best selling author Orrin Woodward puts it, “turn our rejection into energy.” As a Life Leadership student, I’ve learned to apply these principals while modeling and messaging them to my children, in the hopes that they can one day duplicate the adversity quotient and emotional intelligence required to lead in a vast ocean of critics, quitters, managers and followers.
As a Christian, whatever criticism we might endure, pails in comparison to what Christ faced when he walked the earth 2000 years ago. His message was strong, it was clear, and it was rejected by many including the positional holy men of the time, yet His message was embraced by others who witnessed His servant leadership and miraculous healing. In other words, He polarized the people. All the while speaking the Truth to those who chose to listen. So that is the question then. What will we listen to – how will we respond – will we allow those critics to feed our attitude or will we focus on Him and tell ourselves empowering messages to help us overcome mediocrity? It’s our choice. We are response+able. 🙂
A favorite scripture comes to mind right now.
“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Here’s a clip of Orrin Woodward discussing Dreams and Drama with his friend Art Jonak. It’s a great nugget filled talk about the Dream, the Struggle and the Victory. I hope you enjoy your journey to greatness.