How attitude changes everything

“Two men looked out through prison bars. One saw mud and one saw the stars.” — Anonymous

“Your attitude determines your altitude in life.” — Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie once said that attitudes are extremely contagious, and not a day goes by when I do not see this truth in action. My guess is that you know certain people who light up a room when they come in. They always seem to be the bearer of good news. They always have a smile on their face. They are interested in other people. They are positive leaders whom people want to follow.

Then there are the other folks. The room lights up when they leave. When you find out they will be on your team, there is a noticeable drop in enthusiasm for the project. You know they are going to bring down the rest of the group. They will constantly be asking “why?” when the appropriate phrase is “why not?” You know that just one person from this group can poison an entire team.

Here is a story about someone who lights up the room. I have known this individual for almost 20 years and consider him to be a very good friend. Over the years I have known him, he has been recognized in his community as a leader, as someone who gets things done and who deals with people better than anyone I have ever known. He practices the principles from Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People as well as Mr. Carnegie himself did.

About five years ago, he found out he had a very serious form of cancer. In the last five years, he has had good days and very bad days. Every time his chemo got his cancer numbers down, another negative symptom reared its ugly head. On a good day, he would go to work and inspire his team. His whole office had a different vibe when he was there. And even when he was not feeling 100%, his attitude never dipped below 100.



I just talked to him last week. When I asked how he was, he said “okay,” but I could hear the weakness in his voice. As we talked, he let me know of some more complications in his medical condition. However, even with the weak voice and his medical situation, I realized I was talking with the most positive person in the state of Wisconsin. Without question, he is one of my heroes. I can only look up to him because his attitude is always up, regardless of the situation.

Dale Carnegie once said, “It is not what you have that counts, but what you do with what you have.” So here is the question as you live this exciting adventure called life: If attitudes are extremely contagious, as Dale Carnegie said, is yours worth catching?

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