Friday, August 5, 2011

The Magic Word

Have you listened to Earl Nightingale’s audio series, Lead the Field? If not, well, you just must.
The first of the 12 sessions is titled “The Magic Word.”
Those of us who grew up watching Captain Kangaroo are likely thinking that the magic words are Please and Thank You. Those are wonderful words (when we really mean them); they can work wonders and open doors. Earl Nightingale’s magic word is Attitude.
Here’s a quote from the program: To ask “What is the role of attitude in the success or failure of a human being?” is like asking “What is the role of water in the Pacific Ocean?” or “What is the role of granite in the Himalayas?” It is almost everything.
Wow! What if he’s right? I hope (and believe) that he is right. That’s great news for you and me because we can choose our attitudes. The single most vital ingredient in our success or failure is something we can control! Cue the balloons! Strike up the band!
You might not believe this, but I have known people who do not believe that they can control their thoughts or their attitudes. I invite them to recall the last time they looked in the rearview mirror and saw the blue lights flashing. “Did you continue daydreaming? Did you make a mental note to pick up some Cheez Whiz at the store? Or were you in the moment and on your best behavior?” We most certainly can control our thoughts and attitudes when it’s important. Our attitude is the single most deciding factor in our success? That makes it important.
When I was teaching Learning Skills at the University of Arkansas, I invited them to listen to “The Magic Word.” One of the students loudly pronounced it the biggest bunch of $#!+ she’d ever heard. She was so negative and so hateful. It was one of the very few times I’ve wished a student would stop coming to class. As the semester wore on, she did calm down and quit making snide comments. She quit commenting altogether.
During the last week of school, she brought me what she called a “bonus essay.” The cover page was colorfully and artistically designed. The title of her essay: “Attitude: It Really Is The Magic Word!” In her essay, she explained that things in all areas of her life had fallen apart. She tried some of the typical harmful remedies. Nothing helped. She got so desperate that, with almost every other solution exhausted, she was willing to try that attitude stuff. It worked—as it always will with a sincere effort, when it’s important. I still have that essay. I take it out and read it every now and then. It cheers me and it reminds me.
Hey, if you want to, you can download Lead the Field, one session or all 12, for $5.99 each.

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life simply by altering his attitude of mind. ~William James

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