Sunday, February 22, 2009

Changes In Latitude...Changes In Attitude

Can a change of physical space really change our mood, our outlook and perception of a effect: our attitude?

I admit that while I am a normally a person with an overall sunny disposition, the gray skies of Northeast Ohio this winter has been especially trying on me. I can take the cold. But I can't get used to day after day of gray. However, I know that a positive attitude is crucial for survival in any situation...whether it is surviving a Northeast Ohio winter, or a trying situation personally or professionally.

The last 2 weekends, I've been blessed enough to have been able to get away; first to visit my daughter in San Francisco, and the second to visit my sister in Fort Myers.I have to say the sunshine has had a therapeutic effect on me. San Francisco's weather was not remarkably warm, and even Ft Myers was cool by their standards, but the sunshine and blue skies made all the difference. I laughed as the temperature fell into the 50's and everyone turned their heat on. When it hit 50 in Akron 2 weeks ago, I saw a man driving with the top down on his convertible!

I am contemplating how to I am going to keep this attitude of sunshine with me when I land. I've been listening to the audio version of the book "The Secret" on my Ipod, and I believe the overall message, that how we think affects how we feel. Further, our thoughts can have a profound effect on the outcome of our lives. The idea that attitude is everything.

This is not a new concept. It's been written about in many books including Norman Vincent Peale's best seller "The Power Of Positive Thinking". The Secret, however, is a slightly different expression of this age old theme, perfected.

The Secret explains the Law Of Attraction. The Universal Concept that "like attracts like".

Think about it: aren't there some people who exude an energy that just feels good to be around? They smile, they make you feel good when you talk to them; they light up a room when they are in it. Often, if you spend any time getting to know these people you may find that they have had challenges in life that, when compared to your own, are at the very least the same, and often, worse. Conversely, there are people who exude negative energy. They complain about everything, even things that in context, don't seem to be as bad as others face with a better outlook.

Negatively surrounds some while others positivity surrounds others because, The Secret explains, within the The Law Of Attraction; energy, like a magnet, will attract similar energy. In effect, you will get what you put your energy and focus on, whether wanted or unwanted, whether you are thinking good or bad. Your thoughts (both conscious and unconscious) dictate the reality of your life. So, essentially if you really want something and truly believe it's possible, and you put positive thought and energy into it, you'll get it. If you focus on the negative, putting attention and thought onto something you don't want means you'll probably get that too.

While much of what is in this book gets a bit ethereal and new agey...I have found these overall concepts to be true. When things go wrong and I am focused on how wrong they are going, the day gets worse. If I can switch my attitude, and focus on how things will go better, things do improve.

You may not be able to control whether the sun comes out in Northeast Ohio, but you can control you sunny disposition. A smile can light up a room. Praise can counter a harsh word. Calm can diffuse tension. Empathy is salve on a wounded soul.

Hanging on my refrigerator at home, and the door of my office as well as the bulletin board of my co-worker and friend Chuck Collins,( which is why we get along so well :-) is the best quote I have ever ready about Attitude. It is by Charles Swindell, who said:

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes."

Surround yourself with people who have a positive outlook on life. Extricate from your life those who suck the life out of you with their negative outlook.

Think sunshine and it will come...even if in our hearts and minds.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

We're All In This Together

If you can find a silver lining in the clouds of our long cold snowy winter, it would be that there is some sense of unity that forms in our collective misery. On my drive home during the big 24 hour snowfall this past week, I saw a number of examples of this. I saw cars stuck in driveways or parking lots and neighbors or even strangers helping out. We live in Northeast Ohio and we all have the comradarie of being in this together. A big snowstorm tends to bring out the helping gene in people. My silver lining came in the form of a special gift.

A brand new "kinky" shovel.

If you haven't heard about the kinky shovel you are not alone. My morning show partner, Scott Wynn began to extol its values earlier this month when I was complaining about my sore back from shoveling snow. He said "you should get a kinky shovel!" He explained that this modern marvel was ergonomically designed with a kink so it eased the pressure on the back when shoveling; or something like that. Trying to take his advice, I went to the store and couldn't find it. There was no brand called the kinky shovel and the next day, I told Scott that. When he stopped laughing long enough, he explained that the kinky shovel was HIS description of the bend in the handle ---not a brand name. What did I know? He kept calling it "the "kinky shovel". I was picturing Billy Mays solving my problems with this brand new device that practically shoveled the drive for you for only $19.95!

I was not alone. Several callers--all female--also went to the store looking for a kinky shovel; but could find none! That prompted Scott to write a blog about the miscommunication between meant and women.

When I came in next morning, there it was: a beautiful blue kinky shovel. I'm not quite sure if Scott was trying to ease my shoveling pain, or my save me the embarrassment of asking the men in the store where the kinky shovel was. (I had joked that I may not have come home with a shovel, but I sure might have come home with a few phone numbers!)

As you might imagine, the snow continued to fall, and boy was prepared! I had the chance to use that shovel quite a bit. Yes, the "kink" is in a spot where you aren't required to bend as much. Problem is, I am all of about 5 foot 1 and it, like most things in the hardware store, is designed for a man, or at least a taller person in general. So, not only did they extend the length of the handle to account for a bend, the bend, or kink in my shovel is in a location that is a little different that my body type calls for. Like a too-short batter at the mound, I had trouble with the length of the handle, and found I had to to choke up on my kinky shovel to get it to work for me, which as you can imagine, as I tried to describe it on the air, opened up a whole 'nother can of worms!

Maybe its time to move to a condo!

Note: you can read Scott's version of the kinky shovel story when you click on his link (to the right) Scott Wynn's Window.