June 17, 2004
Flying at the right altitude
An airplane takes off from the runway, pushing to gain speed and rise up, then climbs to a sufficient altitude for the flight to the destination. Depending on the turbulence the altitude is adjusted to make the flight smoother. The pilot watches carefully to make sure the correct altitude is maintained and the flight goes according to the plan.
Today I thought about life and what it takes to keep it in the air. If our life was like that airplane, then we would have to be at the right altitude at the right time so our flight goes according to plan. In this thought I equate the airplane’s altitude with our attitudes. What keeps us going? What motivates us? What colors our view? From the moment we take off in life, we are flying to the best of our abilities to reach our destination. Flying in life with the right attitude makes all the difference. When there is turbulence it helps to have the right attitude. If not, we can adjust our attitude.
Attitude is one of the biggest problems we have in life. It’s what many of our life’s lessons are all about. And until we learn them, we get to keep experiencing the turbulence. Most of our ancient Religious teachings are about attitude. In Buddhism, Christianity and Islam, I can find hundreds of examples of teachings that challenge our attitudes. These are attitudes concerning how we give, how we live with others, and how we view life.
Most of us have heard the phrase, “Is the cup half empty or half full?” Another one is “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” These are about having a positive attitude. A negative attitude can kill friendships, can lose business deals, and can create turbulence. Throughout all of life, which is very short relative to eternity, we are learning, adjusting, and applying our attitudes to living. We all take off and we all land, or crash. In-between we have to fly the course. Life cannot be just about the destination. Our purpose has to include how we fly.
Some of us talk about being lonely, yet we push others away or are rude and obnoxious. Some of us talk about how unfair life is; yet we are not willing to work towards a better life. We can be stubborn, selfish, greedy, needy, or whiny and refuse to see how it effects others and us. Some of us are caring, hardworking, and positive and it effects our journey. All of these are attitudes that we live in.
We have direct control over our attitudes. When we really look at ourselves, we often find that it is our own attitudes affecting our happiness and the quality of our lives. We can’t always control our surroundings and other people, but we can change our own attitude.
When I was in elementary school, my older brother came home once with a chessboard. He had learned how to play chess and was in a chess club at school. So he taught me how to play. I played and learned, but he was really good at it and really beat me every time. To me it seemed he was gloating and rubbing it in, and instead of just winning quietly, he used to make this triumphant, ‘ha-ha!’ sound when he would get me in checkmate. I used to get so mad that I would often throw the chessboard over sending all the pieces flying and accused him of cheating.
Much later in life, I met a Russian immigrant who was very good at chess. He played his chess computer regularly and beat it on every level. I told him that I liked to play chess and he invited me to play one day. We sat down and he really whooped me about 20 games in a row. But he didn’t stop; he just kept playing game after game with me. After about the sixth game he started making “ooh” and “Ahhh” sounds and said, “you are learning. Good.” I kept playing until I was tired. Instead of throwing the board over, I did not take it personally and kept playing, adjusting my strategies and methods. With a positive attitude that I could learn and adapt, It was not about winning or losing at all. It was about how I was playing the game. My attitude made all the difference.
Life is full of turbulence and inferior positions and gloating brothers. But our attitude is our choice and if things are not working smoothly, we can change it.
Posted by carl1236 at June 17, 2004 10:53 PM | Attitude
This is a wonderful post and certainly got me thinking about not only my own attitude, but how I project my attitude on my family and kids. What kind of attitude am I teaching them to have? It also got me thinking about another important off-shoot of attitude and that is work ethic. If there is anything I want to pass on to my children it is work ethic and I wonder if it all starts with attitude. Sorry for my rambling, it was an interesting and thought provoking post.
Posted by: Shane at June 18, 2004 10:33 AM