By Robert J. Tamasy
“You have exactly the right attitude to handle this situation.” “You need to do something about changing your attitude. It is terrible!” Obviously these statements are two ends of the extreme, but realistically, what difference does our attitude make in our day-to-day responsibilities in the workplace? If you are properly trained, have the right skills and experience, and receive enough opportunities, can success be far behind?
Not necessarily. People might have the same amount of education, participate in the same training programs, share similar abilities, and be presented with comparable opportunities, but one might succeed while the other fails. What differentiates the two? In many cases it can be summed up in one word: Attitude.
Author Charles Swindoll states it this way: “Attitude is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond to it.” Viktor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist and psychologist who has written powerfully about surviving Nazi concentration camps during World War II, attributed his ability to survive, while so many others perished, to being able to “choose one’s attitude in any given circumstances.”
Many medical practitioners agree that a patient’s attitude, not the quality of health care provided, can be the deciding factor in how the individual fares after major surgery or in coping with a serious disease. A positive, optimistic attitude apparently can be as critical as the surgery itself and prescribed medication. More than four years ago, I underwent open-heart surgery. Before the procedure I had resolved that if I came through it, I would do everything I needed to do for a full recovery, including arduous rehabilitation. To date, that resolve has been very important to my recovery and continued good health.
Apply that type of attitude to the workplace: If you approach a new job – or new assignment – with enthusiasm, filled with determination to learn all you need to master the task and willingness to confront and overcome obstacles, your likelihood of success is very high. That does not mean the work will be easy or without challenges, but starting each day with optimism and confidence definitely influences the outcome.
People having a strong, growing relationship with God often exhibit a positive attitude – even in today’s chaotic, demanding, unpredictable business and professional world. Prayer, wisdom from the Bible, and biblical principles give them resources that others lack. Here are some thoughts about attitude from the Scriptures:
Concentrate on positive things, not negative circumstances. We live in a world where bad news seems to dominate, where discouragement and despair lurk around every corner. To combat that, we need to concentrate on things that bring hope. “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
Facing adversity, we can receive wisdom from God. Sometimes circumstances leave us perplexed, unable to determine what to do or which course to take. God promises to provide direction. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).
A perfect plan exists, even in hardship. Sometimes difficulties and calamities occur that defy explanation. But those who trust in God have the assurance He is aware of the problems and will use them for His divine purpose. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Until next week!
Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit corporation based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran of more than 35 years in professional journalism, he is the author of Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace (River City Press) and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring: 10 Proven Principles for Developing People to Their Fullest Potential (NavPress). For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or www.rivercitypress.net.