Well, it's Olympics time, and we hear all about "going for the gold." But how about having a "gold medal" attitude? Earl Nightingale in his timeless classic Lead the Field had his entire first session devoted to attitude – what he called "the magic word." Earl felt that your attitude was the most important ingredient for shaping your life – for better or for worse.
Wouldn't you agree that attitude is the window to our very soul? Well, I'm going to simply remind you of what you already know about attitude because learning is remembering. I'm going to give you some great examples that will simply serve as reminders that when it comes down to your relationships, careers, and personal happiness, attitude is everything. And we're going to talk about why attitudes are far more important than aptitudes. I'm going to show you that a great attitude equals success.
And then we're going to explore the old optimist versus pessimist theory. I'll convince you that an optimist will always win out over a pessimist, even though a pessimist will simply say he or she is being realistic. And you're going to walk away from reading this believing once and for all that attitude is a choice and it's our choice. So today let's make a decision to forever get on the path of the optimist, and that kind of winning attitude will then transform every part of our lives.
Do you ever feel as if you're a jet airplane sailing down the runway at 115 miles an hour? But the problem is, it takes 120 miles an hour to gain air speed to lift off and fly. It doesn't matter if the runway is 100 miles long. Without that extra burst of power, you simply can't gain air speed. Or maybe you feel like a car running on five cylinders instead of eight. You might be getting down the road, but it's a struggle every bit of the way.
I know that feeling. Because that's the way I felt most of my life. It's so frustrating when you try and try, and you still can't get ahead. I know that by applying the principles in this program, you will have the extra power it takes to fly. And the most important of all those traits is attitude.
All of us have the potential to lift up our thoughts and then lift up our attitudes, which will lift up our lives to higher levels. If we change our thoughts, we can overcome fear when it tries to make a home in our hearts. By lifting up our thoughts, we can find strength during times of adversity, and by using our God-given abilities, we can create an extraordinary quality of life for ourselves. There's a tremendous source of strength in discovering this. It's a distinction that empowers us to experience all that life has to offer. To take charge of our destiny. To make a difference.
Let me ask you, what inspires one person to high levels of personal and professional success, while others don't even begin to tap into their potential? Why is it that two people with similar circumstances will have two entirely different outlooks on life? Why does one person have so much passion for life that he or she gets up early and stays up late to pursue his or her dreams, while another finds it difficult to even get out of bed without complaining?
It all comes down to attitude. Remember, by changing our thoughts, we can change our attitude and thereby change our behavior, which can change our lives. The quality of our thoughts equals the quality of our lives. Think about it: If humans are the only creatures on the planet to have total control over their thoughts, then surely we can use this same power not only for our benefit, but for the benefit of those around us. So remember, it all starts with the understanding of the power of thought and the importance of attitude.
James Allen, the author of As a Man Thinketh, put it like this, "Of all the beautiful truths pertaining to the soul which have been restored and brought to light in this age, none is more gladdening or fruitful of divine promise and confidence than this: That man is the master of thought, the molder of character, and the maker and shaper of condition, environment, and destiny."
If there's nothing else you get out of this session, remember how important attitude is to your success in life. Abraham Lincoln once said, "A person will be just about as happy as they make up their minds to be." If we want to change our destiny, it begins by changing our attitudes.
Listen, when it comes down to it, well, attitude is everything. As I was growing up, sometimes I'd get into a little trouble, and my parents would say, "Robin, boy, you've got a bad attitude." Or how about this one, "You'd better change that attitude." And I'd think to myself, what does that have to do with anything? Thirty years later I'm learning that attitude has to do with everything! It's at the heart of who we are. Having a great attitude is our passport for a better future. It's as simple as that. No matter what you've been through, no matter how many times you've stumbled, with a new attitude today, the seeds are being planted that will harvest positive results for tomorrow.
It’s amazing how everything in our lives will take a new direction toward total abundance once we realize that we have complete control over our thoughts and our attitude. It took a long time for this to truly sink in for me. It’s now clear that this profound distinction, well, it marks a most important crossroad for each one of us. You see, our life is a reflection of our attitudes. And with a positive attitude, you will create positive results.
Now, at my studio, Dark Horse Recording, I have five people on staff and another half dozen interns at any given time. And I’m a firm believer that attitudes are far more important than aptitudes. Over the last six years we’ve probably had at least 100 interns come through here. Their internship is a last step before graduating with a degree in studio engineering. I want you to know that most of our staff was picked from those interns. It’s simple; the ones with the best attitude rise right to the top of my list. And as far as I’m concerned, their technical expertise about our equipment, well, it’s always outweighed by their attitude.
To put it another way, at the end of the day, their attitude is more important to me than anything else. I know you’ll agree with me on this, when someone has a great attitude, it’s contagious. Now think back to a time that maybe you were having a bad day and you were making phone calls and you stumbled across someone who was absolutely delightful. That person’s thoughtfulness and warmth came right through the phone lines, and it made a difference. Or maybe you were rushing out to get a quick lunch at a local grill, and you were stressed and overwhelmed. And then your waiter came along and went way out of his way to make sure you had a great meal. It’s as if a person like that is dropping rose petals at our feet to make our journey a bit more pleasurable. That person’s great attitude can literally change the course of our day. Now, how can you put a price on that?
So, who thinks attitude has anything to do with success? Well, if you put it in the context of becoming successful, once again, attitude is everything. And I didn’t used to believe that. ’Cause in the music business I thought talent was everything. And there are people who become successful in the music industry in spite of adolescent behavior and no regard for anyone but themselves. But in the long run, those people almost always crash and burn.
Not too long ago, VH1 had a series called Where Are They Now? I saw a lot of these rock stars of yesterday who at one time appeared to be on top of the world. But now they’re worse off than when they started. Now they’re taking odd jobs and living in the past. Some of them openly confess how they failed to appreciate what had been handed them on a silver platter, and now they acknowledge how they hurt those around them. These are people who failed to adjust their attitude for success. You know the old saying, You meet the same people on the way up as you do on the way down.
When you’re talking about attitude, you can’t help but bring up the optimist versus the pessimist. One of the things I enjoy about the music business is all the newcomers who are full of hope and optimism about, you know, becoming big-time singers or a session players. Ninety-nine percent of the time they don’t have a clue how hard it really is, yet their optimism keeps them trying. If they really sat down and thought about how many tens of thousands of people are also trying to become the next Sting or the next Faith Hill, well, they might never even try in the first place.
A few years ago I came to the conclusion that Dark Horse Recording is really kind of a hotel for lottery winners. The reason that I say that is because the people who make it to my studio to record high-budget records; well, they overcome about the same odds as lottery winners do. But you know what? In this business a pessimist would never even stand a chance. In the music industry, as in life, the rewards go to those who keep on swinging until at last they hit the ball out of the park, no matter what the odds are.
So many people believe it’s their outer circumstances that are controlling their lives. But it’s our thoughts that shape our future. It’s our thoughts that fuel our passion and courage to go out and pursue our dreams. The reason that optimists will always win out over pessimists is because by focusing on the positive they believe they’ll succeed. So they try over and over until at last that’s exactly what happens. They succeed! So instead of blaming circumstances next time, lift up your thoughts, and you’ll see that it will reshape your circumstances.
A positive attitude is not a once-in-a-while thing. It’s a way of life. Winston Churchill said it like this: "The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. But the optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.”
Now here are a few thoughts about attitude: Positive attitudes create a chain reaction of positive thoughts. It’s your attitude, not your aptitude, which determines your altitude in life. Your attitudes are like a secret power working 24 hours a day. A positive attitude is like a magnet for positive results. If you want to be happy, then refuse to be affected by negative thoughts. Attitude is what separates excellence from mediocrity. Attitude determines our success or failure.
Never forget that attitude is a choice. I discovered this firsthand about seven years ago when I was overwhelmed with a broken spirit, and I had an empty bank account and a wife and four children to support. But that’s when I made a choice to change my attitude and to lift up my thoughts. And I began to focus on the unlimited things I had to be grateful for. I began to take responsibility for my situation in life instead of blaming my situation on others. And that choice I made to change my attitude, it completely changed the course of my life. The day I looked in the mirror and made a choice to change my attitude, well, that was the day that I changed my life.
So let’s talk for a minute about passion. Listen, even passion is a choice. Now you might be saying, Robin, how can you stand there and make a statement like that? For one reason, because I’ve experienced it firsthand. Nine years ago I married Nancy, and she already had two boys – and I’ll be honest with you, at that time my passion was for making it big in the music business and being with Nancy, but when it came to Joseph and Andrew, although I was committed to raising them, being the world’s greatest dad wasn’t exactly my passion.
Pretty soon Nancy and I had two more children, Nicota and Savannah. It slowly sank into me that I was now a full-blown father, but I wasn’t giving fathering a full-blown 100 percent. And that’s when I decided to make fathering my passion. Every day since then, that passion has grown until my pride and my identity are totally wrapped up in being the best dad that I can be. It’s no longer a chore to plan my day around their activities or spend time taking care of their needs, because now, well, that’s where my passion is. And so that’s why I say that passion is a choice. Because it all started by making a decision.
When it comes down to it, it’s our passion that drives us. When you think about Bill Gates, do you wonder why he’s not spending each and every day lying on a beach on some island resort or hopping around the globe in a private jet? Well, the reason is he has so much passion about the future of Microsoft and the possibilities as they continue to press the boundaries of technology, that’s where he wants to be most of the time.
Bill Gates still goes to work every day because he’s passionate about what he does. And every time I ever hear him speak, it’s apparent how passionate he is about Microsoft and how much he enjoys developing new products. He clearly loves what he does. Now, don’t you think that that has a whole lot to do with why he’s so successful in the first place?
Here’s another question: What would it take for each one of us to have so much passion in our work that even if we were billionaires like Bill, we would still choose to continue with our occupations because we’re excited about the possibilities, because we’re passionate about contributing through our work.
My friend Andy Andrews says, "Passion will convert apathy into conviction. Passion will transform mediocrity into excellence. Passion will drive you to overcome insurmountable odds. Being filled with passion and having an outstanding attitude, they go hand in hand. Think back to the time when you had that feeling of certainty, that sense of total conviction when you were experiencing absolute passion for someone or some goal or something you really wanted to achieve. All of us have had that feeling of passion in our lives at one time. And when you’re in the place of excitement, determination, and commitment, your mind starts searching for ways to accomplish your missions. So let your passion guide you and drive you.
Athletes’ passion for their sport drives them to continually push themselves to higher levels. Musicians’ passion for excellence on their instrument fuels them to rehearse for long hours. That’s why passion makes the difference between success and failure. Waking up each day without passion would be like trying to drive a car without fuel. You’re not going to get anywhere. Listen, how can you have a bad attitude about something you’re passionate about?
So if you’re having trouble with your attitude, perhaps it’s time to return to square one and find out where your passion lies. Try taking some serious time out to get perspective and let yourself remember those things you love most but might have repressed or simply gotten distracted from. Because when you begin following your passion, especially if it’s a noble one, your renewed excitement will turn you into an optimist with an attitude of gold, and that will lead to success in life.