What is Attitude, Really?

Attitude IS Everything!

Why?  Because attitude influences everything we say and do.  Winston Churchill explained it this way…  “Attitude is the little thing that makes a big difference.”  Another wise man, W. Clement Stone, had his own definition.  “There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude and the big difference is whether it is positive or negative.”

Today’s message is dedicated to some game-changing attitudes.

Work Ethic…
“If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.  He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.”
    
– Martin Luther King Jr.

Forward or Backward…
“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you are right.”
    
– Henry Ford

Emotional Response…
“People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.”
    
– John C. Maxwell

Potential…
“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”
    
– Zig Ziglar

Choice…
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor E. Frankl

Excellence…
“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”
– Colin Powell

Relationships…
“Our attitude towards others determines their attitude towards us.”
– Earl Nightingale

You can learn a lot about your own attitudes by looking back at certain actions you took and the ones you neglected.  You can also predict which actions you will take and its probable outcomes by recognizing and understanding your attitudes.  For example, what is your attitude about personal and professional development?  How will this attitude impact your life?  Zig Ziglar would have responded this way…

“You were born to win. But to be the winner you were born to be, you gotta plan to win and prepare to win. Then and only then can you legitimately expect to win.”
– Zig Ziglar

Buried Treasure – Free Download

Urgency, a force we feel, but cannot see, surrounds us at home, at work and at play.  Like a trusted friend, Urgency calls us to action.  When we respond, our friend becomes our partner as evidenced in the phrase, “act with Urgency.”

Urgency’s nickname is ASAP.  Unfortunately, not everyone likes ASAP.  So, they taunt Urgency with their own nickname, WIGART, which is short for “When I get a round tuit.”   I guess they confuse Urgency with their fair-weather friend, Procrastination.  The truth is, we would all be more productive if we spent more time hanging with ASAP, our true friend, and stopped seeing WIGART altogether.

“You don’t have to see the top of the staircase to take the first step.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The future is literally in our hands to mold as we like.
But we cannot wait until tomorrow.
Tomorrow is now.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

“In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing,
the next best thing
is the wrong thing
and the worst thing you can do is nothing.

– Theodore Roosevelt

“There are risks and costs to action.
But they are far less than the long-range risks
of comfortable inaction.”
– John F. Kennedy

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment
before starting to improve the world.”
– Anne Frank

“I’d rather attempt to do something great and fail
than to attempt to do nothing and succeed.”
– Robert Schuller

 “A wise person does at once, what a fool does at last.
Both do the same thing;
only at different times.”
– Baltasar Gracian

“He who hesitates is poor.”
– Mel Brooks

“You are younger today than you will ever be again.
Make use of it
for the sake of tomorrow.”
– Norman Cousins

“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.”
– Henry Ford

“The day will happen whether or not you get up.”
– John Ciardi

“A year from now you will wish you had started today.”
– Karen Lamb

Think of urgency this way.  If you believed there was buried treasure in your backyard, how much time would pass before you started digging?  What treasures are buried in your backyard?  Why not just grab a shovel and find out?  Is there really any good reasons to wait?

Elbow Grease

The ABC’s of Professionalism

“Elbow grease is the best polish” — English Proverb

The topic is hard work, the title is elbow grease. To my father, these word pairs mean exactly the same thing — he prefers the latter. One of my favorite stories told at family gatherings is how Pops dealt with loafing baggers, cashiers and stock clerks in his stores. He would tell them they needed to apply some elbow grease. If they seemed puzzled by the instruction he’d send them on an errand to find a jar of it. For each person, the trick only worked once (except possibly for brother Dave). But, the point was made and the lesson was never forgotten. My dad probably would have also said the following, if he had thought of it:

“Nobody ever drowned in his own sweat.” — Ann Landers

Even possessing knowledge about the cause and effect relationship between work and results, mankind seems unable to counteract its tendency to avoid work. Any shortcut, regardless of how inferior it may be, is more often than not preferred over working up a sweat. It’s a sure bet that without the necessities of life, there would be no work done at all.

“The normal condition of man is hard work, self-denial, acquisition and accumulation and as soon as his descendants are freed from the necessity of such exertion, they begin to degenerate sooner or later in both body and mind.” — Thomas Mellon

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” — Frederick Douglass

“People might not get all they work for in this world, but they must certainly work for all they get.” — Frederick Douglass

The desire to survive is a sufficient incentive for most people to put forth the effort necessary to acquire the basics of life: food and shelter. A life motivated solely by the survival instinct is the lowest form of existence and produces the least amount of effort.

“Everyone confesses in the abstract that exertion which brings out all the powers of body and mind is the best thing for us all; but practically most people do all they can to get rid of it, and as a general rule nobody does much more than circumstances drive them to do.” — Harriet Beecher Stowe

“The fundamental principle of human action, the law, that is to political economy what the law of gravitation is to physics is that men seek to gratify their desires with the least exertion” — Henry George

Once survival has been achieved, people seek pleasure and comfort. At this level, they’ll put forth just enough additional effort as needed to acquire the goods, services and relationships for their pleasure. As these pleasures become synonymous with the person’s life, fear of loss may create new incentives to protect these pleasures. Level three is about safety. All three of these levels are characterized by visions that are inwardly focused on personal pleasure, comfort and safety.

“The principle of liberty and equality, if coupled with mere selfishness, will make men only devils, each trying to be independent that he may fight only for his own interest. And here is the need of religion and its power, to bring in the principle of benevolence and love to men.” — John Randolph (1773-1833)

“If pursuing material things becomes your only goal, you will fail in so many ways. Besides, in time all material things go away.” — John Wooden (1910- ), American basketball coach.

What happens when a person exchanges his mirror for a window? Suddenly the view changes along with his vision of life. He’s able to see a brand new level where people do things for others on a routine basis. The benefits of voluntary helping and sharing are amazing. He sees cooperation, the swapping of good deeds, as a more productive and more satisfying way to live.

There is one more level — service with a soul. This type of life, which is literally an act of worship, is the way Christ taught and lived. It’s all about serving people who are not in a position to return any type of benefit in response. Serving others in this capacity is equivalent to serving God.

“But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’” — Bible, Luke 10:33-35

While rising through the levels, each step up comes from an increase in the magnitude of the vision, followed by greater amounts of effort to fulfill the bigger vision. It stands to reason that when a person is only interested in taking care of himself he will put forth only enough effort to accomplish that objective. Rising above an inward-looking philosophy and the drudgery that accompanies it starts with a new attitude and a bigger vision.

“Everything depends upon execution; having just a vision is no solution.” — Stephen Sondheim

“Instead of thinking about where you are, think about where you want to be. It takes twenty years of hard work to become an overnight success.” — Diana Rankin

“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.” — Muhammad Ali

Let’s look now at elbow grease as it relates to professionalism. Like other attributes of professionalism, putting forth one’s best effort is a matter of self-respect.

“A dream is a vision, a goal is a promise. You can keep your promises to yourself by remaining flexible, focused, and committed.” — Denis Waitley

“I can’t imagine a person becoming a success who doesn’t give this game of life everything he’s got.” — Walter Cronkite

“I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.” — Theodore Roosevelt

It’s not necessarily true that a professional is free from apprehension toward sweat. What is true is that he has ordered his life around his life’s purpose and passion. This tends to segregate the favorable from the distasteful deeds.

“The test of a vocation is the love of the drudgery it involves.” — Logan Pearsall Smith

Still, he will find drudgery in his path. But, because his courage is greater than his apprehension and experience has taught him perspective, he is able to rise above an attitude of drudgery.

“Apprehension, uncertainty, waiting, expectation, fear of surprise, do a patient more harm than any exertion” — Florence Nightingale

“Work is either fun or drudgery. It depends on your attitude. I like fun.” — Colleen C. Barrett

 

Instead of viewing personal toil as the price to pay, professionals welcome hard work as one of life’s opportunities. Hard work is an opportunity to improve, achieve AND enjoy.

“The highest reward for a man’s toil is not what he gets for it but what he becomes by it.” — John Ruskin

 

“Success, remember is the reward of toil.” — Sophocles

“You do not pay the price of success, you enjoy the price of success.” — Zig Ziglar

 

“The happy life is thought to be one of excellence; now an excellent life requires exertion, and does not consist in amusement.” — Aristotle

 

While professionals usually have a positive attitude about their work — others usually prefer to make excuses. “Well I’d have a good attitude about my job too if I made as much as the CEO.” Wrong! Attitude is the cause, not the effect.

“Both tears and sweat are salty, but they render a different result. Tears will get you sympathy; sweat will get you change.” — Jesse Jackson

“To say yes, you have to sweat and roll up your sleeves and plunge both hands into life up to the elbows. It is easy to say no, even if saying no means death.” — Jean Anouilh

Usually, the hardest part of work is the getting started part. Making excuses seems easier than making a beginning. Statements like, “I’m not prepared” or “the timing is bad” are usually fear disguised as excuses.

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great.” — Zig Ziglar

“In every phenomenon the beginning remains always the most notable moment.” — Thomas Carlyle

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” — Lao-Tzu

“The beginning is the half of every action.” — Greek Proverb

So here you are, armed with a powerful vision of your life and the understanding that action is the necessary next step. It’s time to turn the key, get in gear and step on the gas. It’s time to make an action plan.

“A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power.” — Brian Tracy

“Life is a journey of single steps. None can be taken back. Take each step with the anticipation and the vision of the outcomes you desire.” — Gary Lear, Australia

The plan should consist of a sequence of manageable objectives or goals and it must be written down. The goals help make the vision seem less daunting and they are the milestones for measuring progress.

“The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” — William Faulkner

“Divide each difficulty into as many parts as is feasible and necessary to resolve it.” — Rene Descartes

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” — Henry Ford

One popular planning technique, called the SMART Plan, has many variations on the format.  However, the principles are similar. I like this one:

  1. Specific – Define a step-by-step approach in terms of detailed goals that can be measured and tracked.
  2. Mission – Goals must be consistent with the overall mission and vision.
  3. Accountability – Identify person(s) with authority over the vision.
  4. Resources – List both required and available resources.
  5. Timeline – Define dates for progress reports and milestone completion.

The most important part of planning is writing down the plan. A written plan based on bite-sized measurable goals enhances accountability and focus. Keep the plan handy and review it daily. When individual goals are reached, reward yourself in some small, yet meaningful way. If you stop to rest between accomplishments, don’t stop for long. Let momentum drive you forward to the finish line.

“Plan the work; work the plan.” — Anonymous

“Success depends in a very large measure upon individual initiative and exertion, and cannot be achieved except by a dint of hard work.” — Anna Pavlova (1881-1931), Russian ballerina.

“Don’t feel entitled to anything you didn’t sweat and struggle for.” — Marian Wright Edelman (1939- ), American activist.

“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.” — Thomas Edison

God bless,

— CC

[ V=Vision | Index | X=eXcellence ]

© Copyright February 2009, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
Read more “Clancy’s Quotes” at: ClancyCross.WordPress.com

I Believe

Faith: “Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.”
(Source: http://www.Ask.com)

“Everybody should believe in something — I believe I’ll have another drink.”
-– Norm (character in the sitcom “Cheers”)

Whether it’s religion, politics, science, sports, or cold beverages, we all cling to certain beliefs. Whether we consciously think about it or not, every action we take is based on a deep and complex web of beliefs built on top of more beliefs. All of this is true whether we ‘believe it or not.’ Here’s a simple example:

When I pull up to a gas pump, put my credit card into the slot and start filling my gas tank, I do so with the belief that gasoline will come out at the rate and grade promised by the sign. I also take this action based on the belief that gas will help get me to my intended destination. Suppose my belief was that the pump would deliver lemonade instead of gasoline. Such a belief would lead me to a different action – I would fill my 5-gallon picnic jug instead of my gas tank. If I believed the pump to be incapable of providing what I need, I wouldn’t even start.

“What I admire in Columbus is not his having discovered a world but his having gone to search for it on the faith of an opinion.” -– A. Robert Turgot, economist

“A little faith will bring your soul to heaven; a great faith will bring heaven to your soul.” -– Charles Spurgeon

“Anything’s possible. You can be told you have a 90% chance or a 50% chance or a 1% chance, but you have to believe, and you have to fight.” -– Lance Armstrong, cyclist

“Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you’re right.” -– Henry Ford

“I believe that every right implies a responsibility, every opportunity, an obligation, every possession, a duty.” -– John D. Rockefeller

“Are you bored with life? Then throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart. Live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours.” -– Dale Carnegie

“One person with a belief is equal to a force of 99 who have only interests.” -– John Stuart Mill, quoted in the Columbus, Ohio, Dispatch

“Within you right now is the power to do things you never dreamed possible. This power becomes available to you just as soon as you can change your beliefs.” -– Dr. Maxwell Maltz

“There are two ways to slide easily through life; to believe everything or to doubt everything. Both ways save us from thinking.” -– Alfred Korzybski (1879 – 1950)

“I would rather work with five people who really believe in what they are doing rather than 500 who can’t see the point.” -– Patrick Dixon, futurist

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.“ -– Martin Luther King Jr., quoting the Declaration of Independence, August 28, 1963

Beliefs Set to Music

I believe for every drop of rain that falls a flower grows,
I believe that somewhere in the darkest night a candle glows.
I believe for everyone who goes astray, someone will come to show the way.
I believe, Oh, I believe.

I believe above the storm the smallest prayer, will still be heard.
I believe that someone in that great somewhere hears every word
Every time I hear a newborn baby cry, or touch a leaf, or see the sky,
Then I know why I believe.

— Lyrics to: “I Believe” by Erwin Drake, Irvin Graham, Jimmy Shirl, Al Stillman

Beliefs in the Form of a Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. AMEN.

— Apostles’ Creed

If you are inspired by these quotes as I was, take a few minutes to make a list of your beliefs.

God bless,

— CC

© Copyright July 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
Read more “Clancy’s Quotes” at: ClancyCross.WordPress.com