C. S. Lewis was on to something when he penned this quote. “Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it.” How you react to the events in your life can dramatically affect how you come through challenging or difficult events in your life. Zig Ziglar said it in another way that reflects how far a good attitude can take you in life. “You attitude, not only your attitude, determines your altitude.” I think between these two quotes we can see one clear message. Attitude is important to your success.
When I was young, I had a great attitude. I was always positive and agreeable for the most part. My father noticed this one day while I was going about my business of doing things I was more interested in doing than my chores he had given me to do. He had just walked into the room where our family pool table was as I was practicing some shots I wanted to learn. After watching me shoot for a few moments and praising me for the shots I was making, he asked if I had forgotten about the chores I was supposed to be doing. I responded enthusiastically without missing a shot, something like, “Oh yeah, sorry about that dad! I will get right on them free I finish practicing…” or something like that.
In one of his usual nonchalant, but “it’s time to stop what you are doing and pay attention,” sort of ways he was really good at without making a person feel like they were about to get in trouble, he introduced me to the reality of the importance of initiative as a part of any great attitude in life. He explained that my great attitude about doing my chores was commendable. He said that my initiate to improve my prowess on the pool table was equally as commendable as well. And, without missing a beat, he told me that without me taking initiative to do what I had been asked to do – to get my chores done before dinner – the chores would not be done as required before dinner. I stopped what I was doing, laid my stick down, looked at him, and began to listen to him
C.S. Lewis was on to something when he penned this quote, but it was my father who first introduced me to the reality of the importance of initiative and not only attitude that made the difference
With his rather calm voice and easy-going demeanor, he pointed out that it didn’t matter how great my attitude was. I would complete exactly zero percent of my chores if I didn’t stop practicing pool shots and start taking the initiative to start doing my chores. This was when he decided to school me on his modified take on the quote by C.S. Lewis he had often quoted to me. My father told me he really liked this quote by C. S. Lewis, but felt that it fell short of what most people needed to hear. It was in this exchange between my father and I, that I learned the principle of the power of initiative in life for the first time.
Initiative makes things happen. Initiative moves beyond a thought experience and takes hold of the proverbial horns of any situation you have in life. Add it to any part of your life and progress will be made. When you take initiative in your life, it drowns procrastination in a sea of accomplishment. Initiative business, in friendships, in your marriage, with your children, in school, or in learning what you need to know in order to be successful at something – without initiative it does not matter how great of an attitude you have about it, you must take initiative to make progress or see results.
Looking back, I am thankful that I had two active mentors like my father and my stepfather. They were both passionate about their work and their life purpose. The ongoing example of these men – their diligence, work ethic, and passion for helping others less fortunate – shaped my understanding of why we are placed on this earth. It was their positive attitudes and their work ethic that had the most impact on my life as a young man. It was through their example also that helped me realize that a positive attitude – while a great asset – doesn’t make things happen. The result of their ongoing life example taught me that a great attitude without a great work ethic and the determination to accomplish meaningful goals that positively impact the world around us, is self-serving at best. These two men lived as great examples of a life principle that taught me that attitude, initiative, and purpose combined will lead a person to the success they were meant to have in life.
“All the great attitude in the world won’t amount to a hill of beans unless you take initiative to ‘get off your butt and do what you have been called to do.'” ~ My Dad
Is there something in your life that you are enthusiastic about? Is there something you have a passion for or desire to do? Is there something you have a great attitude about doing. but you never seem to move forward in seeing it through to fruition? Consider the power of initiative and take a step towards making what you are passionate about or feel called to do happen. Once you take the initiative to start moving towards your goals or aspirations, you will begin seeing life and your future in a completely different. Take initiative today. Your greatest potential awaits you.