20140603 – Attitudes and Choices

I guess getting back to writing has not been as easy as I thought it would be. Still so many distractions that make it hard to concentrate and do any serious pondering.

Life, whether you live it inside or outside the sandwich generation, can be overwhelming sometimes, or often, when you have a large to-do list. I’ve talked before about simplifying things around here, and, while we’re making progress, we’re still a long way from living the simple life. I guess simplifying things is, well, complicated!

I won’t share with you the three page list of outdoor things to be accomplished, or the similar sized list of indoor things to be done, or the challenges in trying to run three different businesses successfully, or writing and maintaining four blogs; yeah, that’s what “overwhelming” looks like in my life. And just picking a place and starting, while it seems like a good idea, can briefly overcome inertia but, just as easily, get you stuck deeper in the mud. Not to mention that these things all need to be kept progressing at the same time. Is anyone up for a little multi-tasking? Wish I was better at it!

I know people who can cruise along, accomplishing task after task, with 287 things still on their plate, and not feel overwhelmed but contented, even happy. And I’m thinking hmm… I’ve got to get me some of that! But I’m also realizing that “getting some of that” is a matter of a mental adjustment rather than a physical one.

Years ago Charles Swindoll wrote a paragraph on attitude, the gist of which was that he thinks life is about 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react, i.e., your attitude or state of mind. Rachel Rowell, a blogger I follow, discussed in a recent post how happiness is a state of mind more than it is a state of being. I’m thinking that being overwhelmed is just another state of mind. But the question becomes, how do you fix a state of mind? How do you identify and visit a mental happy place; i.e., fix your attitude (90%) while coping with all of the stuff life is throwing at you (10%)?

Is it simply a matter of choice? Can I just decide to be happy? Can I just decide not to be overwhelmed? Can I just decide to adopt a different attitude? And can I decide to make that change permanent? Hmm…

I coined a phrase a few years ago when listening to my daughter share a situation that was troubling her. I told her it sounded to me like this was just a ripple on the pond, not a tsunami on the ocean. I tend to look at things that way most of the time. And yet sometimes I do let things become more of a tsunami than a ripple; I give them more power over me than they deserve, I let them overwhelm me, I let them make me feel as if I’m being washed away in the rush of time and tide (what’s that old saying – time and tide wait for no man). I tend to lose sight of those things that are most important to me; those things that provide my anchor when the water is pushing me toward who knows what, or pulling me back out to sea.

No, I don’t think changing my attitude is a simple matter of choice, at least not at first. And I don’t think it’s a matter of picking a path, or just starting with a task on the list. But it is a decision; an informed and well thought out decision. It’s a matter of grabbing onto my anchor by refocusing on what about life is most important to me, and then putting all of the rest into its proper perspective with its appropriate priority. It’s a matter of taking the time to make an informed decision about the kind of person I’m going to be. It’s a matter of letting those things about life I value most inform every decision I make and action I take, including the attitudes I demonstrate. Only then does attitude become a simple matter of choice.

How about it, have you made an informed decision about the kind of person you’re going to be? Have you identified those things about life that are most important to you, that you value most highly? And are you self aware and self confident enough to choose the attitude you wish to demonstrate when life is pushing you around?

Choosing to be…me, Pops

Attitude - Swindoll quote

Charles Swindoll talks about Attitude

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