What is the one “freedom” you can actually control?

I would venture to say the question I posed above made you stop and think if even for a split second. What is this one particular “freedom” that you can always maintain even in the most dire of circumstances?

If you have not heard of Viktor Frankl, I would urge you to look him up. A colleague of mine reminded me of the man that I first read about many years ago when he decided to start an after-work book club gathering at a local pub recently (and yes, you can have an intelligent and relatively coherent talk about books over a beer, wine or your beverage of choice…)

And if you want to read a short, but quite impactful work, I would get a copy, or at least download a free PDF of his book Man’s Search for MeaningThe book, which was published after World War II in 1946, chronicles Dr. Frankl’s experiences as an Auschwitz concentration camp inmate during World War II, and reveals his psychotherapeutic method, which involved identifying a purpose in life to feel positively about, and then truly imagining the outcome.

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Perhaps that is more than you are looking for today. Maybe you need a few days, weeks or months to consider what your purpose in life should be. You may not be ready to define your WHY. I get it, and that’s not WHY I am writing today.

I simply want to share this idea about ATTITUDE and how that is the one freedom you can always control.

Think about such a concept through various lenses. You have cancer (curable or incurable). You just lost someone you loved for one reason or another. You failed an exam. You lost the football game. Your house was destroyed by a flood, a fire, or an earthquake; all of these natural disasters occurred in either the US, Mexico or the Carribean over the past few weeks, and there are people out there trying to maintain their ATTITUDES about life and whether or not there could be a God after all of this.

Take any of the above examples and tailor them to fit your own life. Adversity often shifts the ATTITUDE paradigm. It is easy to wallow in self-pity. To think that we have it worse than everyone else. Just a few seconds of reflection will surely prove things can indeed be worse. Place yourself in Viktor Frankl’s world and you might decided to change your ATTITUDE immediately.

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But your ATTITUDE is at your disposal, and you should choose wisely. I look at my two daughters and the ATTITUDES they often possess. They are not always smiling, especially not in my house where they have to make their beds each morning, followed by a short exercise routine, 10 to 15 minutes of reading, some other mundane tasks and where yes, they often have to do extra school work on the weekends to get ahead of schedule. Some people would accuse me of child abuse, but I would venture to say that I am just preparing them for a life of difficulties where what they do now will make even the harshest situations seem anything but dire.

Plus, I make the work fun (the girls have taught me how to do cartwheels while making a bed, or a handstand while brushing one’s teeth…things I would have never imagined). The work assignments don’t take long. I am definitely complying with child labor laws.

And they have the rest of the day to be KIDS! I feel that the little tasks I give them now have already paid dividends in the classroom, at soccer or gymnastics practice, and especially for their teachers, since my goal is to always provide the teacher with one less child to have to discipline.

My children always seem to maintain a good ATTITUDE. Maybe it has to do with an appropriate balance. I am not really sure. But somehow, they can bounce back very quickly. I don’t think the same can be said of most adults.

Like the little one above, who has worn hearing aids since she was only 5-weeks old, we should all strive to maintain that one freedom that can never be taken away from us by anyone else. We are truly in control of our response to anything and everything that comes our way. You may not believe it, but it is certainly true. Choose how to feel. Choose how to respond. Choose your ATTITUDE, and if anything, choose it WELL.

So your task today and in the days ahead…on a piece of scrap paper, in your journal, on a whiteboard or whatever you typically make notes on:

Write out three things you are grateful for…and try this for at least 7-days

  1. I am grateful for ______________
  2. I am grateful for ______________
  3. I am grateful for ______________

What this simple exercise can do for your ATTITUDE may simply surprise you!

Thanks for joining me today. All the best as you continue to find balance in your lives, with a new focus on your ATTITUDE and what it can or cannot do for you! You may have never seen your ATTITUDE as a FREEDOM in your life, but it is exactly that.

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The journey begins

April 2019

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