Attitude a Life and Death Difference

Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted.
~ Albert Einstein

The title of this blog tries to capture the sentiment of the Einstein quote above.  There are things we do, behaviors if you will, that while they are hard to measure in units their output makes all the difference in our lives and our businesses. One of these attributes is our attitude.

Thanks to a recommend from a friend in my Toastmasters Club, I just read the book, “We Thought We Heard the Angels Sing”, by Lt. James C Whittaker, (Ret). It is the story of eight Airmen, that crash and land in the Pacific Ocean, in 1943. It tells the story of how seven of them survive for 21 days in three very small rafts (2.5 ft x 5.5 ft.).

The story is really about the power of the human spirit fueled by an attitude. When the plane crashed they ended up in these rafts with 4 oranges and a few fish hooks and no water. (8 men/4 oranges). It was four days before they caught a small bird to share. It was eight days before rain and it was 21 days before rescue, and one of their party passed during the ordeal.

I have always been inspired by heroes, both the archetypal and the real ones. When I read or hear stories like this I wonder what reserves of strength do they reach down into to survive? In this case on several occasions they started down into despair. One of them tried to drown themselves (to escape or to conserve resources?) In each instance a passenger on this flight not a member of the crew took charge. Each time he would curse, yell and make such a stink and challenge the men as men “Real Men don’t whine and complain.” (This exhortation can be applied to members of either sex). Each time the men pulled out.

This passenger would let no man say a negative thing. Every negative thing he heard he countered with the positive opposite. When planes flew by towards the end of their ordeal and did not see them and the men were ready to give up; he would point out, “We are close enough to land to see planes there must be a base, we will be found.”

  • So what challenges are you facing where the temptation to give up is right there and you’ve thought about it?
  • What are your people thinking and more importantly what are you doing to help them manage what they are thinking.?
  • Many people are talking about what a challenging time we are in. The way we talk to ourselves and our team will make all the difference in how we come out of this down turn.

Be of good spirits

One Comment:

  1. Hi John,

    When I read your article I’m taken back to that old adage:

    “Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
    Watch your words, for they become actions.
    Watch your actions, for they become habits.
    Watch your habits, for they become character.
    Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

    I don’t know who wrote that, but I do know that we do control our destiny through our thoughts. We cannot always control what happens to us in life, but we can control how we react to it. Too often people encounter obstacles in life and they are ready to give up. But if we give up too easily we miss the possibility of great advancement.

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