Attitude – You have to DO what you want to BE

Definition: Displaying a positive or “can do” attitude in all circumstances


13. 666. 2020. Three numbers that could be the worst numbers ever. 2020 was out of control. Viruses, police shootings, civil unrest, hurricanes, wild fires and a crazy election. As a guy who is usually the “glass half-full” guy, I felt like Rocky Balboa in his first fight against Clubber Lang! Do I get up off the mat again for another punch to the head, or do I stay down?


Recently, I spoke to a West Point classmate and told him how I had struggled with my attitude during parts of 2020. He responded, “Dave Anderson! You never seemed to have a bad day when we were roommates! I would have never guessed this would have gotten to you too. It just goes to show, everybody needs help seeing their circumstances in a positive way sometimes.”


2020 was a year I truly had to practice what I preach. I had to keep looking up and saying “I choose my attitude – my circumstances don’t.” In March and April of 2020, I watched business evaporate before my eyes. After taking time off in 2019 to care for my dying mother, we had refilled our pipeline and were ready for a big year in 2020. Then in a seven day period, we watched our entire projected second quarter revenue disappear.


What did I do? The first thing I did was complain, then I panicked, then I resorted to self-pity. The circumstances of 2020 were out of my control. What could I do? Fortunately, I had friends and colleagues who let me vent then pointed me back to my own words. “Your attitude is a choice. Make a different choice.”


A positive person adds to the lives of others. When we are with them, they bring much needed perspective and leave us filled up. A negative person drains us. They drag us down and take energy away from everyone they encounter. The difference between the two is not in their circumstances. The difference is their choices in the midst of those circumstances.


Who we are – our character – is made up of our habits. Our attitude is a habit. Each time we choose to be negative, it makes it easier to make that same choice again, again and again. With each choice we are getting closer to becoming a person who adds to the lives of others or takes away from them.


Lord! I hope 2021 is more like Rocky’s second fight against Clubber Lang! In that fight Rocky took the best shots Clubber had, and kept getting up until he finally stood victorious. How do we keep getting up? How do we become the Leader of Character that fills people up instead of the “Negative Nancy” that takes away from others? Well, we have to DO what we want to BE. We have to choose to exercise Positivity in the midst of our circumstances.

  • Turn conversations away from things we can’t control.

  • Think about and talk about the things we are thankful for today and every day.

  • Give other people’s motives the benefit of the doubt.

  • Leave everyone in a better place emotionally then where you found them.

The mirror is a great tool for all of us. Even a guy who writes books on Positivity and Character needs to pause and look in the mirror. The circumstances of 2020 were rough. There is no doubt I had it better than a lot of people and worse than some others. But who I was being in the midst of the circumstances of 2020 needed to change.


I learned an important lesson when I looked in the mirror. I was not doing what I wanted to BE. But thanks to someone who was exercising Positivity and holding a mirror up to me, I got off the mat and kept fighting. I just needed to make different choices in the midst of my circumstances.


What about you in 2021?


Dig Deep Questions:

  • What choices do you need to make to exercise Positivity in 2021?

  • Who can you lift up today with your attitude?

Exercising Positivity takes work and is a lifelong journey. We want to partner with you as you practice the habit of Positivity daily, which is why we have created FREE tools and resources to guide your journey.


To make it easy to keep the definition of Positivity visible on your screens and devices, we would like to share our FREE Positivity backgrounds for desktop and mobile available for download at: https://www.becomingaleaderofcharacter.com/tools-resources







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