What happens to a man is less significant than what happens within him.


What happens to a man is less significant than what happens within him. – Louis L. Mann

Does your life feel gloomy or barren? Is it you, or your attitude that is in need of adjustment?

What does that mean?
To me, it talks about the trials and tribulations that happen in life.  So much “stuff” happens to you.  Some of what has happened to you has been wonderful, and some of it was significantly less than wonderful.  However, what happens inside you when life throws “stuff” at you, that is what is important.  How you react to life’s trials and tribulations, how you deal with it in your very core, that is where the true significance is found.

Please note that some people take the word “man” to be exclusive of women.  I most emphatically do not subscribe to that theory.  The words man and mankind have been inclusive for centuries, and I continue to believe in that interpretation.  While using the he/she format will help boost the word count of the blog, I find it distracting and redundant.

Why is attitude important?
To some, even the word “attitude” has connotative meaning. As an example, “Don’t give me that attitude!” isn’t the same attitude as I mean here.  From thefreedictionary.com, the attitude I am using is defined as “A state of mind or a feeling; disposition” (2a).  So, when I ask “why is attitude important,” I specifically mean to ask is “why is your state of mind or disposition important?”

Your state of mind or disposition is the measure of what is happening inside you.  How well do you treat people when you are in a foul mood?  Do you put your best face forward, does your inner light shine brightly?  Unless you have world-class skills in acting, probably not.  And if you’re having a lousy day, will some of that rain cloud hovering over you rub off on other people?

So, when you have a lousy day, how many people do you think you will influence with your attitude, and how many will they, in turn, influence?  Conversely, if you’re having a great day, what is the chance that it will rub off on someone else and brighten their day?

Where can I apply this in my life?
How many of you have known a “Gloomy Gus,” someone who always seems to have the little cartoon rain cloud following them?  I know I have, and I imagine most of you have as well.  Their poor attitude has become such a habit, that it has affected how they talk, how they stand, how they walk, everything about them.  Sometimes I wonder what might have happened to them and how they let that affect their attitude.

Perhaps that person is or was you.  Everyone has mood swings, times when they are elated, times when they are gloomy.  The trick is to visit the gloomy place, not live there.  How do you get back out of the less pleasant places within you?

I’ve always used music.  I even made mix tapes (cassette) back in the late 70’s and early 80’s.  I had some with music to calm me, others with music to pull me out of a funk, and still others with music to really perk me up when I was feeling down.  I still have them, but technology has changed more than just a bit.  I don’t think I even have a tape player hooked up at the moment.

Sometimes I use music to alter my internal state, other times I use specific memories.  There is a technique called anchoring which allows you to change your mental state by doing something unique, or at least appropriate to the situation.  A classic anchor is the handshake.  It is how most business transactions begin.  Whether it’s an interview, a sales call or a negotiation, you want to be in your best possible mental state (and your mental state and physical state go hand in hand, remember Gloomy Gus?).

After nearly two decades of practice, I can (most of the time) simply close my eyes and see myself doing my anchoring motion and achieve the desired result.  However, adding the actual physical motion ties the physical and emotional sides together, resulting in a more powerful transition.  What do you do to change your state?  There are many ways, including chemical means, to change state.  Try to find something that is helpful, not harmful, to both your body and your spirit.

My favorite example to discuss when considering how the same exact event can be taken very differently by two people is pregnancy.  There are commercials all over the place where the lady comes into a room and announces she’s pregnant.  Usually she has a huge smile on her face.  The guy, however, usually looks shocked or terrified.  Same situation, very different result; what has happened to them is the same, how it changed them deep inside was a bit different.  How many of you have been in that situation?

How about other situations where two or more people have been together and something is said, and everyone reacts differently despite hearing the same news?  Why would that be?  To me, it seems each person hears the same thing, but the meaning of it is different for each.  Imagine a group of friends, all single and of mixed gender.  Now one stops by and says they just got engaged.  If someone there had a crush on that person and was too shy to do anything about it, they are going to react differently than someone who did not.  Same event happened to all of them, but inside of each, the reaction was different.

Life will throw all kinds of stuff at us over the years, that is a given.  Good stuff, less-than-pleasant stuff, and downright tough-to-handle stuff.  How are you going to handle it?  Yeah, some of it will really knock you on your rear end.  Are you going to stand back up, or have a pity-party?  Remember, the events in your life will cause both short-term and long-term changes in your life.

Short term changes can be a pretty wild ride, but try to work back to your best possible self.  That’s where you want to be in the long-term.  You can’t be “Sunshine Sam” every day (unless you have a less-than-ethical Doctor), so don’t fret if your attitude stinks from time to time.  Just remember it will change you from within if you stay there too long.

Don’t stay stuck in the gloom, find a way out.  If you find you are having problems, talk to someone you trust and see what they have done in similar situations.  Evaluate what they say, as one size definitely does NOT fit all.  The music that relaxes me might make you want to poke your eardrums out.

If that doesn’t work, there are any number of books out there which can help.  Perhaps you want to talk to a professional, perhaps a shrink or a self-help type, a pastor/minister/rabbi/whatever.  These people exist and are willing to help for varying amounts and types of compensation.  Yeah, it might be expensive, but it’s only your attitude we’re talking about.  How much are you willing to pay to stop being gloomy for the rest of your life?

There are also many self-help groups that meet regularly in most towns and cities.  There are lots of groups of people who meet just to be around other positive people.  You might want to look into that as well.

How you let an event change you at the core is up to you.  There are people who, when diagnosed with a terrible disease, promptly give up and are miserable for the rest of their lives.  There are also people who, given the same diagnosis, become determined to live the best possible life in the time that remains.

We’re all in that boat, we all have a few more years to live.  Some know the end is near, the rest of us hope it’s not going to happen for another 75 to 100 years.  But eventually, it will come.  What matters is how you are going to live your life.  What will your attitude be?  Will you take everything in stride (even if it’s a little bumpy in the short-term), or will you use each bump in the road as an excuse to wallow in pity?

Only you have the power to make that decision, only you can define your attitude, only you can decide how you will take the event and how you will use it to change yourself.  Choices matter, choose wisely.

Attitudes are contagious.  Have one worth catching!

From: Twitter, undocumented feed (my bad)
confirmed at: http://quotationsbook.com/quote/3486/#axzz1Igkk2aGq
Louis L. Mann : Unfortunately, despite the quote being all over the ‘net, I can’t seem to find a bio.  Anyone got a lead?
Photo by xiffy

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About philosiblog

I am a thinker, who is spending some time examining those short twitter quotes in greater detail on my blog.
This entry was posted in adaptation, attitude, emotion, growth, judgement, setting an example and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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