There are countless stories and anecdotes about how perspective on situations impact how we see them: You know, the glass half full versus the glass half empty, or if life gives you lemons make lemonade. It is more than philosophy; it at the core of who we are and in many ways it is about how we choose to view the world. In others it is about fighting our innate tendencies to see things from the negative perspective. Just this morning, I was listening an author of a biography of John Lennon. He spoke about how John Lennon’s self-perception as an unwanted child. To some degree, he appeared to be unwanted by his birth parents: Lennon’s father gave him to his mother so he would have a more stable life … his mother gave him to his aunt, possibly for the same reason. But his aunt loved and raised him (she obviously wanted him), as did an extended family. He saw that his parents didn’t want him, but he didn’t see that there were lots of people who did. Perspective.

We all do it. We get out of bed thinking how bad the day already is. We can get out of bed thinking how great the day is going to be. Right now I’m sitting writing about perspective after a colleague has been delayed to a meeting with me, an early morning meeting that was scheduled because he needed to postpone from a meeting that we had squeezed into my schedule last week and was postponed at the last minute to today. I could be really irate about it or disappointed or be taking it personally; instead I’m using the time to write. I could note that today is my birthday and I had planned to sleep late and generally start the day slowly (I am not a morning person), be totally and completely in a “rip roaring mood” for the rest of the day, but I choose not to be. Perspective.

I can’t claim to always have perspective, but today of all days, on my birthday, I’ve chosen to have a good day. I have resolved to have an attitude of gratitude and to believe that everything today is going to be great and going to contribute to my success. I may have had one plan, but God has inevitably had another and his always wins … ultimately for the better.

Changing perspective can be like changing the channel on the radio or the television, like tuning into a different song from your favorite artist: YOU! You have to (yes I mean HAVE to) learn to stop the old tune that has been playing in your head and life that says “can’t,” “won’t,” and all the other negative perspectives. Now, I’m not saying that is going to suddenly make the witchy next door neighbor get an attitude transplant, but it will change your response to her. Think how much fun it will be to sing out a joyful smiling tune and smile happily!

Success and Happiness: Make It Happen

Bad things do happen to good people. The reality is that attitude alone won’t prevent bad things from happening, but attitude will go along way toward helping you to make it through whatever happens and to overcome the obstacles. People who ultimately succeed and who find happiness are those who keep going, those who try and persevere no matter what. When bad things happen, when life keeps raining on their parade, they get drenched and keep looking for the positives. They believe there will be a pot of gold even if they never see the sun or find a rainbow.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not talking about maintaining an oblivious attitude or ignoring reality. I am talking about facing reality and saying “So what? Who cares? I’m going to deal with it, go around it, wade through it, take on all challengers and succeed anyway. Someone tells me I can’t, then I’ll say I can…and then I do!”

Can do, Will do … Do!

The ultimate difference in perspective that determines whether you succeed or not is that no matter what you don’t see a different option. Giving up isn’t an option. Stopping, surrendering, or saying something can’t happen isn’t in your vocabulary because you just don’t believe it is up to someone else to make it happen for you. Perspective is the power to change how you live your life and what you accomplish, and how you see what you accomplish. Everything works toward preparing you for success—if you only see it that way.

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