How Do You View Life?

I remember hearing a story that goes something like this:   A grandfather was sleeping on a couch one day when his grandson decided to play a joke on him.  He went to the refrigerator and pulled out some limburger cheese, extra smelly.  He went over to his sleeping grandfather and gently rubbed a little of the cheese on his mustache.  Hiding around the corner, he noticed his grandfather twitching and finally waking up.  He bolted upright, took a deep sniff and said, “Something in here stinks!” He immediately got up and moved into the kitchen, took another deep breath and again said, “It stinks in here, too!” Looking for some relief, he went outside, took one more deep breath, and finally said, “The whole world stinks!”

Of course grandpa will eventually determine the real source of the stink and quickly get rid of it with a little soap and water, making things seem sweet once again.  Anyone with this foul stuff on the inside, however, has a much more difficult task. 

In his book, Winning With People, John Maxwell says that we all have a personal frame of reference that consists of our attitudes, assumptions, and expectations concerning ourselves, other people, and life. He states that these factors determine whether we’re optimistic or pessimistic, cheerful or gloomy, trusting or suspicious, friendly or reserved, brave or timid.  These factors tend to color how we view life.  Ultimately the only way to change the way we view life is to change ourselves from the inside out. 

This is no easy task and certainly not a one shot deal.  Change in attitude can be relatively easy in the moment, but very difficult (though simple) in the habit.  This change is best accomplished the way it started– through small, consistent, daily decisions and influences.  The simplest answer, in my humble opinion, is found in Charlie “Tremendous” Jones’ famous statement, “You’ll be the same in five years as you are today, except for the people you meet and the books that you read.”

So who are you associating with most frequently and consistently – in terms of people and books?  Does their view of life and overall attitude reflect the change you want?  This question is the answer.