An old farmer said, ‘The hardest thing about milking cows is they never stayed milked! – It’s the same with attitudes; they don’t stay changed; they don’t stay positive. You’ve got to work at them every day.

Bob Gass

Source: The UCB Word For Today, 20/12/2000

There was once a poverty-stricken old lady who was so poor that she didn’t have any money to buy food. The one thing she did have, however, was a positive attitude and complete faith that God would provide for her. So she did the only thing she could do. She got down on her knees and prayed over and over in a loud voice. “Father in Heaven, please send me some bread and vegetables so that I can eat.” Now it just so happened that as she was praying the local scoundrel was passing by her window and overhearing the old woman’s plea for help, he decided to play a trick on her. He dashed off to the nearest store and purchased some bread and vegetables. Then returning to the old woman’s house, he climbed a ladder and dropped the food down the chimney, whereupon it landed right in front of the woman as she was praying. “O thank you Lord, thank you,” she cried out again and again as she gathered up the groceries. Then, overcome with excitement, she ran out into the street and began enthusiastically telling everyone what had happened and how God had answered her prayers. This was just too much for the scoundrel and unable to contain himself, he fell about laughing wildly and began poking fun at the old woman. Mocking her publicly he told the people crowding around that it was he and not God who had dropped the food down the chimney. The old woman looked at him, continued to smile and without missing a beat replied, “Well the devil may have brought it but it was God who sent it!” – Now that’s what I call a positively heavenly attitude!

R. Ian Seymour

R. Ian Seymour, excerpt from Discover Your True Potential

Nothing is more difficult than praising God when nothing seems to be going right. But one of the purest forms of worship is praising God even when you don’t feel like it, because it proves that your worship isn’t circumstantial.

Mark Batterson

Mark Batterson, In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day, Colorado: Multnomah Books, p.67

“Cream always rises to the top. Why? Because it is in the nature of cream to rise.”

Colin Turner

It’s twice as hard being positive than it is being negative. To prove the point, take a pen and draw a minus (negative) sign. Easy enough, just one stroke of the pen, right? Now draw a plus (positive) sign. – How many strokes of the pen did that take? Like I said, it’s twice as hard being positive than it is being negative.

Would a fruit farmer plant his orchards in Antarctica? No! – Why not? – Because Antarctica isn’t the right environment to produce fruit in! Likewise with you: If you want to be successful and produce fruit in your own life, you must sow the seeds of positive thoughts, in the fertile environment of your own mind.

R. Ian Seymour, excerpt adapted from Discover Your True Potential

“What really matters most, is what happens in us not to us.”

John Mason (writer)

John Maxwell asks: Remember the four-minute mile? People had been trying to achieve it since the days of the ancient Greeks. In fact, folklore has it that the Greeks had lions chase the runners, thinking that would make them run faster. They also tried drinking tiger’s milk. Nothing they tried worked. So they decided it was impossible for a person to run a mile in four minutes or less. And for over a thousand years everyone believed it. Our bone structure is all wrong. Wind resistance is too great. We have inadequate lung power. There were a million reasons.

Then one man, a single human being, proved that the doctors, the trainers, the athletes, and the millions of runners before him, who tried and failed, were all wrong. And miracle of miracles, the year after Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile, thirty-seven other runners broke the four-minute mile. The year after that three hundred runners broke the four-minute mile. And a few years ago in a single race in New York, thirteen out of thirteen runners broke the four-minute mile. In other words, a few decades ago the runner who finished dead last in the New York race would have been regarded as having accomplished the impossible.

What happened? There were no great breakthroughs in training. No one discovered how to control wind resistance. Human bone structure and physiology didn’t suddenly improve. But human attitudes did.

Source: John C. Maxwell, Developing The Leader Within You, 1993, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, p.106

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”

William James (1842-1910), American philosopher and psychologist

Some people wake up each day and say, ‘Good Lord, its morning!’ others wake up in an attitude of praise and say, ‘Good morning, Lord.’ Praising God opens doors. Praising God breaks chains. Praising God, even if you don’t particularly feel like it has an impact on the spiritual realm.

There was once a pair of twin boys who were identical in appearance but who were the complete opposites in everything else. One of the boys was a prophet of doom and gloom, a despairing pessimist in almost everything he did. In complete contrast the other boy was an unmistakable optimist whose enthusiasm for life was unquenchable. The huge disparity between the twins became a cause of concern to their parents and so they decided to seek the advice of an eminent psychiatrist. The psychiatrist suggested that treating the boys differently could rectify the imbalance. With Christmas coming up he suggested the parents give the children different gifts. “Give the pessimist the best toys you can afford but give the optimist nothing but a box of manure,” he said. “This will help to balance out their attitudes.”

When Christmas morning came around the parents observed the children opening their presents. The pessimist opened his first. He ripped off the wrapping paper from a very large box and discovered inside a brand new bicycle. “Oh, I don’t like it!” he immediately moaned. “It’s the wrong colour, it’s too big and I’d probably fall off and injure myself.” He discarded the bicycle and opened another present. This time he revealed the latest personal computer with several games and software packages. “I don’t like this either,” he complained, “computers are too complicated. It takes too long to work the keyboard and I’ve never been any good with a joystick! Besides, it’ll probably just keep breaking down, either that or the glare from computer screen will hurt my eyes!” The parents dismayed and turned to watch the optimist as he opened his one and only present. Excitedly, he tore off the paper and opened the box. Then, jumping for joy and throwing handfuls of manure in the air, he shouted gleefully, “Yippee… hooray… whoopee…! You can’t fool me, where is it? Where is it?” The parents looked at him with a puzzled expression only to hear him declare, “With this much manure there’s got to be a pony around here somewhere!”

R. Ian Seymour

R. Ian Seymour, excerpt from Discover Your True Potential

The saying, ‘attitude is everything’ is incomplete; it should really be ‘a Christ-like attitude is everything’.

Focus on the Positive, not the Negative

It is so easy to become discouraged and accept defeat. If all you hear are objections, complaints and every reason under the sun why something is not possible or why a customer is not going to buy, then unless you are really focused on your objective, you will almost certainly fail. In order to win, what you must do is seek out and focus on the positive elements not the negative ones.

Allow me to demonstrate the point. The following passage is something that I casually wrote some time ago for an in-house sales training session. As you read it, I want you to ignore the word “negative” but count how many times you read the word “positive”. (It is best to read it slowly, but to help you, every time the word “positive” appears I’ve written it in bold type.)

“Once upon a positive time, there was a negative young man and a negative young woman, who were so negative, they were positive that things were nearly always bad. Their job didn’t help! The negative young man and the negative young woman both had negative jobs. They worked together as complaint officers for a positive, up-and-coming company that produces the film for photographic negatives. Practically all day long the negative couple would moan and groan about how bad things were. And of course, in doing so they just made matters worse. In fact, the manager was positive that the negative couple were having such a negative effect on the overall morale of the whole workforce, that even the employees who normally had a good positive attitude seemed to be catching the negative disease. The manager knew that he had to do something positive to lift morale, even if it meant firing the negative young man and the negative young woman!

The manager, though, was reluctant to do this. He didn’t want to fire the negative couple because he was positive they both had the potential to do really well. It was obvious that something must be bothering the negative young couple, so much so that it was having a real negative effect upon them, both inside and outside of work. The manager decided to take the positive step of confronting the problem head on. So he went to see the negative couple, in order that they could discuss the problem and take positive steps to overcoming the negative atmosphere that was influencing everyone’s attitudes.

The negative young man and the negative young woman told the manager that their problem was a personal one – stemming from the fact that they were having problems starting a family. They told the manager how their doctor was positive that they would both go out of their minds if they continued on this negative course, where things just seemed to keep moving from bad to worse. The doctor suggested that they needed to relax and escape to a more positive environment; he suggested they took a holiday. The negative young man and the negative young woman were positive that a vacation would do them the world of good but they were concerned that the manager wouldn’t agree to them taking time off, due to their negative results at work lately… The manager, however, upon hearing their plight was very understanding and indeed, he agreed to the negative couple taking two weeks leave, but in a month’s time when he could arrange cover for them.

The negative young man and the negative young woman got to work straight away. They made a positive commitment and booked a romantic holiday in Venice, Italy. As the weeks passed by and the day of departure grew nearer they became more and more excited which in turn made them less negative and more positive. The funny thing is, the more positive they felt the more positive they became. It was a complete reversal. When they felt negative they acted negative, they attracted negative and became more and more negative. Now they were focusing on something positive they began to feel positive and act positive and they became more and more positive.

Well, as with all the best stories, this one has a happy ending. The negative young man and the negative young woman had a fantastic vacation. After a wonderful time in a positive and relaxed atmosphere, the negative couple returned home feeling refreshed and really positive. A day or two later the negative young woman dropped into her local chemist for a pregnancy test and guess what? That result was positive too!

Now, the moral of this little tale is simply this: You must focus on the positive not the negative. That is, concentrate on the things you want not on the things you don’t want!”

The above passage is a little complicated to read, which means that you have to really concentrate on looking and listening. If you counted correctly, you will have noted the word “positive” appears 24 times. Now I have another question for you. Without going back over the passage, how many times did you read the word “negative”? I expect that you’ll have no idea, which is exactly what I wanted you to say. The reality is that there were far more “negatives” than there were “positives” – just as there are often more negatives than positives from a customer in a sales presentation! (There word negative actually appears 37 times.) My point, again, is this – you must not listen to negatives or focus on problems; rather, you must remain focused on the positive and search out solutions.

R. Ian Seymour

Sam and Jed, hearing that a $5000 reward had been offered for the capture or killing of wolves, promptly became bounty hunters. Waking up one night, Sam saw they were surrounded by 50 pairs of gleaming eyes – ravenous wolves, drooling from the mouth and moving in for the kill. “Jed, wake up,” he whispered to his sleeping friend. “We’re going to be rich!”

Source: Adapted from Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets, p.256

I once heard about a new salesman who went to work for a company selling office stationery. After the initial week of training the salesman was allocated his territory or sales area, but before he hit the road, so to speak, he was ushered into the office of the sales manager for some last minute instructions and a pep talk. The sales manager told the new salesman that they, the company, had great hopes for him. Furthermore, to get him started and give him some first-hand experience in the processing of the an order, the Sales Manager was going to send him to an account nearby, that the company had been doing business with for many years. The sales manager went on to say, “Now, this man I’m sending you to is a very difficult person. He can be stubborn, awkward and very obnoxious but, unfortunately, that’s just the way he is. We know from years of experience, that if you hang in there, don’t let him rile you or get at you, if you persist in a friendly manner and keep asking for the order, then eventually he’ll give it to you. He always does.”

With that the new recruit, armed with a positive attitude and full of enthusiasm, sets off down the street to make his first sales call and become initiated. Just as the sales manager had said, the customer was indeed very obstinate, but the new salesman did as he was told: he stuck it out and kept trying for the order. Sure enough, his enthusiasm, positive attitude and persistence paid off, and eventually he walked away with a very sizeable order indeed.

Upon returning to the office, the new recruit began to process the order and handed a copy of his sales report to the sales manager’s secretary. Moments later the sales manager bounded up to the salesman’s desk, frantically waving the sales report in the air and exclaiming that the sizeable order was, in fact, the largest single order ever written in the history of the company to date. The sales manager congratulated him and asked how he did it. Somewhat taken aback, the salesman related how the customer had given him a really hard time, just as the sales manager had said he would, but the salesman just let it all brush over his head. He remained positive and was expectant, and so kept plugging away for the order, which eventually came, just as the manager had said it always did.

The sales manager seemed puzzled and looked again at the copy of the order. Then it was his turn to be taken aback. With a sudden gasp of astonishment the sales manager blurted out, “My goodness, you went to see the wrong chap! For over twenty years we’ve been trying to find a way in to this account but we’ve never before been able to get so much as a look in. I’d given up on this fellow years ago.”

Now, the new salesperson was full of enthusiasm and had a positive mental attitude, there is no doubt about that. But success was not determined nor was the sale made in front of the customer. Success was determined beforehand, in the mind of the salesperson before he had even met the customer. The new salesman simply didn’t know any better and so he had already decided that the customer was going to buy. You see, when it comes to business and especially to the profession of selling, attitude is the kingpin of success. The following phrase just about sums it up: “If you don’t have a P.M.A. (positive mental attitude) when you meet your customer, then you’ll be D.O.A. (Dead On Arrival)!

R. Ian Seymour

R. Ian Seymour, excerpt taken from Maximize Your Potential.)

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can and for as long as you possibly can.”

John Wesley (1703-1791), English preacher and founder of the Methodist Church

As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.

Proverbs 23:7 KJV

I’d rather be a Could-Be
If I cannot be an Are;
Because a Could-Be is a May-Be
Who might be reaching for a star.
I’d rather be a Has-Been
Than a Might-Have-Been by far,
For a Might-Have-Been has never been
But a Has was once an Are!

Milton Berle

“Success is an inside job, to that the extent in which you take control of, and accept responsibility for your attitude is entirely up to you.”

Keith DeGreen

If you could kick the person most responsible for all your troubles, you wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week!

Some people need to hear some home truths… One day a cranky old grandpa lay down to take a nap. To have a little fun, his grandson put some Limburger cheese on his moustache. The grandpa woke with a snort and went through the whole house saying, “This room stinks!” – Some people go through life with the same attitude when in reality the stink is closer to home!

Charlie Jones

Source: Charlie Jones, 1968, Life Is Tremendous, Wheaton Illinois: Living Books, Tyndale House Publishers, p.13

When he was president of the USA, Abraham Lincoln once turned down the advice of his colleagues to appoint a particular man for an important position within the government. His reason, Lincoln said, was because he didn’t like the man’s face. The advisors objected, saying, “How can a man be responsible for his face; for the way he looks?” Lincoln replied, “Every man past the age of forty is responsible for his face.” You see, Abraham Lincoln knew that you could tell a lot about a man (or woman’s) attitude by looking at their face! – Make sure your face portrays what you want others to see.

It’s your attitude and not your aptitude that determines your altitude in life.

Talking of attitude, the story is told of a small businessman – a retailer – whose shop was threatened with closure because of competition from a large department store. The big store had plans to move into the area and so they began to buy up all the surrounding properties. The local businessman, however, was adamant that he wouldn’t sell. In fact, he wouldn’t even enter into negotiations, so the larger department store got heavy handed and threatened to put him out of business. Eventually, they attempted to make good their threats. They went ahead and built around him extending out far and wide on both sides until the little shop was completely hemmed in and practically lost. When the big opening day arrived the department store put up great big banners announcing, “Store Now Open.” The local businessman countered with a banner of his own. His stretched the entire length of his store and in big letters it announced, “WAY IN.”

“Attitude determines whether you are on the way or in the way.”

Keith Harrell

It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice!

We’ve all heard the expression ‘he must have got out the wrong side of the bed this morning’ – meaning that someone is being a grouch! Well, guess what: As human beings we can chose which side of the bed to get out of. Every morning as your feet touch the floor, it’s as if you have two pet dogs waiting to greet you. One of the dogs is friendly, full of beans and fun to be with; the other is cold, solemn and prone to making vicious attacks for little or no apparent reason. Whichever dog you greet first is usually how the rest of your day ends up.

R. Ian Seymour

Taking the above analogy one step further: How can you change your attitude from negative to positive when you don’t particularly feel like being positive? How can you remain upbeat and optimistic when things go wrong? Of course, it’s not easy, but let me explain it like this: It’s as though we have two dogs inside our head – a good dog and a bad dog – and both of them are constantly fighting for the same piece of meat. What we must do, in order to remain upbeat and positive, is to feed the good dog and starve the bad dog. In other words, when your (negative) inner-voice creates anxiety, doubts and fears by rabbiting on and on about why this won’t work or why you shouldn’t attempt to do this or what would happen if you did that etc., this is like the bad dog. You must starve the bad dog (get rid of the negative self-talk) by taking away its food. And exactly how do you do this? Simply by doing the opposite and feeding the good dog with positive self-talk. In other words, use positive affirmations to starve the negative thoughts to death.

R. Ian Seymour

Our attitude to Jesus in this life will be the same as His attitude to us in the next. If you accept Him now, He will accept you then. If you reject Him now, He will reject you then.

Think of your mind like a garden: to enjoy the benefits and get the most from your garden it needs to be well maintained and managed properly. If you weed out the negatives and feed the positives only for a day, well it just won’t have that much of an effect, but do that same behaviour every day, day in day out, and you’ll end up with a beautiful garden. Stay positive. Every day think positive and you will attract positive things and outcomes. Let me give you an example of how it works.

Take a look around the immediate area where you are just now, and find ten different things that are green in colour. Please go ahead and do this right now; look for ten different green items. After completing this exercise you’ll now have a green mind-set and for the immediate future what you will find is that anything green jumps out at you. That’s because you have conditioned your mind to notice green. Imagine if you did this every day; looked for ten different things that are green. If you did that the colour green would become a major influence in your life; everywhere you went you’d notice things that are green. It is similar with our thinking (positive or negative): Take a look at the immediate situation where you are right now, and where you hope to be, and find ten different things that are positive. Train yourself to look for the positive, to think positive and you will develop a positive mind-set and attract positive outcomes. That’s because people find what they are looking for. It really is WYSIWYG (WIZ-E-WIG): what you see is what you get!

R. Ian Seymour

A man purchased a newspaper at a newsstand every day. He always greeted the vendor very courteously, but in return received very gruff and discourteous service. The vendor would rudely shove the newspaper in his face. The man, however, would politely smile and wish him a nice day. This went on for several days until a friend asked, ‘Does he always treat you this rudely?’ The man replied, ‘Unfortunately, he does.’ The friend asked, ‘Are you always so friendly and polite to him?’ ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘always’. The questioner continued, ‘Why are you so nice to him when he’s so rude to you?’ And the man replied, ‘Because I don’t want him to decide my attitude or how I am going to act.’

Source: The UCB Word For Today, 8/05/2016

Before the days of antibiotics, Robert Louis Stevenson, the great Scottish novelist and author of Treasure Island, was bedridden with consumption [tuberculosis] a great deal. But the disease never stifled his optimism. Once when his wife heard him coughing badly, she said to him, ‘I expect you still believe it’s a wonderful day.’ Stevenson looked at the rays of sunshine bouncing off the walls of his bedroom, and then replied: ‘I do. I will never permit a row of medicine bottles to block my horizon.’

Source: John Maxwell, 1993, The Winning Attitude, Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, p.114

P.M.A. says, “I’m never down; I’m either up or I’m getting up.”

It’s A Frog’s Life

Two frogs fell into a can of cream,
– or so I’ve heard it told.
The sides of the can were shiny and steep,
the cream was deep and cold.
“Oh, what’s the use?” said No. 1,
“’tis fate – no help’s around.
Good bye my friend! Good bye sad world!”
And weeping still he drowned.
But No. 2 of sterner stuff,
dog paddled in surprise.
The while he wiped his creamy face
and dried his creamy eyes.
“I’ll swim awhile, at least,” he said,
– or so it had been said.
“It wouldn’t really help the world,
if one more frog was dead.”
An hour or two he kicked and swam,
not once he stopped to mutter.
But kicked and swam, and swam and
kicked, then hopped out – via the butter.


Mark Batterson writes: I don’t know how I missed this memo my entire life, but did you know you have a dominant eye? Make a triangle with your hands, fully extend your arms, and find an object to focus on. Now close one eye, then the other. With one eye, the object will move – that’s your weak eye. If you aim with that eye, you’ll miss the target every time! But with your dominant eye, the object will stay in the triangle. I’m [left] eyed, so I close my [right] eye to shoot. – I think many people are looking at life through their weak eye! If you have a critical eye, you’ll find something wrong with everything.

Mark Batterson, The Grave Robber, 2014, Grand Rapids: Baker Books, p.225

Graffiti seen on a restaurant’s blackboard: Under the heading ‘Today’s Special’ someone had chalked, ‘So is Tomorrow’

Attitudes are infectious. Is yours worth catching?

There is an old story told about a professor who was studying man’s different attitudes to work. One day the professor went to a construction site and spoke with three labourers who were laying bricks. “What are you doing?” he asked the first man. “Hey, I’m just a bricklayer. I’m only doing what I’ve been told to do, “ came the reply. “If you’ve got a problem with it go and see the foreman over there!” The professor smiled politely and moved on to ask the same question to a second man. “Well I know it’s a bit mundane and it’s not much of a job, but it pays £10 an hour and I’ve got bills to pay just like everyone else so I’m not complaining.” The professor thanked the man and moved on to ask someone else. In the distance he noticed a man intent on his work so he walked over and said, “Excuse me. Do you mind if I ask… what are you doing?” The bricklayer looked up, smiled and with a gleam in his eye said, “Why can’t you see? I’m building a cathedral.”

Remember, ‘your attitude in life almost always determines your altitude in life.’

R. Ian Seymour

R. Ian Seymour, excerpt from Discover Your True Potential

“The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”

Dr Viktor E. Frankl, (Nazi holocaust survivor, psychiatrist, writer)

“Things turn out the best for those who make the best of the way things turn out.”

Zig Ziglar

I heard this tale about an arrogant businessman man but it makes a good point:

A middle-aged and successful businessman was carefully reversing his top-of-the-range 7 series Mercedes into a tight parking space. Out of nowhere, a young man driving a clapped out old Ford Escort recklessly dashed in and stole the space. Locking his car, the youth looked over to the Mercedes and with a smirk on his face, he shrugged his shoulders and mockingly shouted across, ‘Sorry old boy, the world belongs to the young and quick!’ Seemingly unperturbed, the businessman didn’t say a word. Instead, he continued to reverse his car slowly into the parking space and pushed the Escort up onto the pavement and out of the way. The businessman then locked his Mercedes with an exaggerated blip of his key, and then reaching into his shirt pocket he took out a business card and handed it the dumbfounded youth. ‘No doubt your insurance company will want to contact me,’ he remarked. Then turning to walk away, he looked over his shoulder and added, ‘Oh! And you’re wrong, by the way: It belongs to the winners in life who are willing to go the extra yard and do whatever it takes!’

Winners are grinners!

“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 than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, 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 that 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% how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.”

Charles (Chuck) Swindoll

If you have a crummy attitude you’ll never be a smart cookie.

“The greatest pollution problem we face today is negativity.”

Mary Kay Ash (1918-2001)

“Two men looked out through the same bars; one sees the mud and one sees the stars.”

Attributed to Frederick Langbridge (1849-1923)