March 9 – The right and responsibility to choose my attitude

“We have a right to choose our attitude.” (Victor Frankel)

The next oldest sibling in my family is my brother, he is 11 years older than I am. I remember when I was in my late teens he and I were talking one day. I don’t remember the exact content of the conversation, but I do recall that I was criticizing some person’s bad decision (at least as I saw it from my perspective). My brother answered with a sentence that has stuck with me all these years. He told me that “everyone has a right to be wrong.”

Life is about choices. I can shape my life to make it what I want to be through my choices. Along the path of choices, there may be none so important as the choice of my own attitude. This quote today reminds me that I have the right to choose what attitude I have. I would take this quote a step further, and say that I have a responsibility to choose my attitude. Not only is it the case that I can choose it, but it is essential that I actively do choose it.

If I want to live an intentional life, and I want to take charge of who I am and what I do, then it is never good enough for me to sit back and blame my attitude on anything other than myself. I cannot control the events that transpire around me, but I am always the one who chooses how I will react to them, and what will be my own demeanor as I navigate through.

With any right comes accountability. Because I have the right to choose my attitude, I am also accountable for the decision. If I choose a surly attitude, then I own the fact that others will treat me accordingly. If I choose carry the weight of the world on my shoulders and put forth a dour, downtrodden attitude, then I am accountable for the fact that I miss out on the opportunity to see hope and experience joy.

This morning is sunny, and the forecast ahead is for warmer temperatures than our area has had for many weeks. In my life, events are happening that are quite positive and conducive to a good outlook. It is easy to choose a productive, upbeat attitude. But these words and this quote are still as applicable when the skies turn grey, and things happen around me that don’t go my way. On those days, as well as today, I have the responsibility and the accountability to choose my attitude, and choose it well.

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