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Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

Almost every morning as he sits down to breakfast, our three year-old son Logan will exclaim, “It’s a beautiful day.”

It doesn’t matter what it looks like outside, rainy, overcast or lovely clear skies, it’s always the same to him, a beautiful day.

And then throughout the day, he’ll randomly look around and make the same proclamation, “It’s a beautiful day.”

He could be feeling unwell, have just finished a delightful three year-old tantrum, or otherwise had every reason to say something else, but to him it’s always a beautiful day.

Besides being adorably cute when he says it, Logan reminds me of an important principle.

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Photo by J. A. Holland via Flickr

Some people treat their current jobs as if they are trapped there forever, going through the motions as if they are sentenced to life without parole.

It’s as if they’re stuck in quicksand, never able to escape the clutches of their current employer and too afraid to move in case they will sink deeper.

Some people treat their current jobs as if it’s a launching pad for the future, engaging in their role and learning all that they can while they’re there.

They’re using it as a stepping stone, understanding that you get out what you put in and knowing that if they maintain their enthusiasm and keep developing, then bigger, better or even perhaps just more suitable work will be available in the future.

Of course, they’re both self-fulfilling prophecies.

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I came across this story a few years ago and really like it.  I’m not sure of the origins of the story but it’s a favourite of mine as it describes the sort of positive attitude that we can choose to have despite our circumstances.

Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!”

He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, “I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?” Jerry replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, ‘Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.’ I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.”

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As a sports fan, I am conscious of how easy it can be for an athlete to fall out of form and how challenging it can be to fire on all cylinders again.

A few times this year, I have also been conscious that there are occasionally areas of my life when I’ve been out of form.  It may be in my role as a husband, parent, leader or christian, but I can sometimes get in a bad rut that can be a challenge to break out of.

Form slumps are normal and most of the all-time greats have experienced them at some stage of their careers, so it’s only natural that we will go periods of time when we’re not performing at our best.

So how can you break out of a form slump?

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On his blog, John C. Maxwell recently showed a video clip for a message that he was delivering.  He started to tell this story (or at least a derivative of it) when his own attitude was tested with humourous consequences. 

He never got to finish the original story, so I searched for it and found this version on Kent Crockett’s site.

Two construction workers had taken a lunch break and opened up their lunch boxes.

One of them looked inside his box and said, “Not baloney sandwiches again! I can’t believe it. I hate baloney.  This is the third time this week I’ve had baloney. I can’t stand baloney!”

The other one said, “Why don’t you just ask your wife to make you something different?”

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There’s a story about two brothers who appeared on an American talk show.

The first one came out and told his story.

He was divorced, broke, unemployed, angry about life, unable to control his emotions and had problems with alcohol abuse.

When asked why he thought he was this way he responded, “What choice do I have?  My father was an abusive alcoholic and I was destined to turn out like this, it’s all his fault!”

Then the second brother came out.

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I read an unusual quote from current Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson in the lead-up to last weekend’s round of matches.

“What I am hoping for is a little bit of luck so the result goes our way whether we play well or play badly.”

That sounds a lot like what many people in society do today.

Hoping for a little bit of luck so that they don’t have to worry about giving their best and performing well to be successful.

There’s a significant problem with this way of thinking.

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As I was writing this post, it was a day of celebration in Chile as the first of the 33 miners who were trapped underground for the past 69 days started their gradual ascent to freedom.

It was a long process for them, as the miners could only be released one by one, so the process took a couple of days.

As I reflected on this event, I was reminded of Viktor Frankl’s words when he said, “The last of one’s true freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”

As sad as it is that these men were trapped underground in such scary circumstances, it’s even sadder when I come across people who are trapped, not by their physical circumstances, but by their mindsets and attitudes.

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I came across this and just had to share it.

I didn’t write it, but wish I had.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to identify the original author, but whoever wrote this obviously has a terrific perspective.

The ideas presented here are a great way to approach a new day.  Try it and then see how your attitude changes.

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Sidney Poitier's image, cropped from Civil Rig...

Image via Wikipedia

Sidney Poitier is well known as one of the greatest actors of his generation, and was the first black person to win an Academy Award in 1963.

Such is his contribution to movie making that he was ranked the 22nd greatest male actor of all-time by the American Film Institute in 1999 and in 2009 was granted the Presidential Medal of freedom by President Barack Obama.

However it is the ground that he broke in becoming the first genuine mainstream black film star and the continued dignity, class and resilience that he has consistently displayed throughout his career that makes him an inspirational person to me.

Whilst he is revered today, he certainly didn’t have a glamorous start to his career and when you read about the hurdles that he has overcome you realise that people can overcome anything if they put their mind to it and work hard.

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