‘Attitude can be symbolised by weather conditions’, I pondered this morning.
Yesterday had been a squally, overcast, downer of a day, or so it seemed it could be, first thing in the morning. Our family went to a winery to enjoy a sensational Christmas in July charity lunch, yet my step-son’s first words as he grumbled his way from the front door to the car were, “Looks like a terrible day to be going out anywhere.”
The fact is that he’s not a morning person, so even a bright blue sky would merely have given him one less thing to whinge about. He takes a lot of medication for a rare, genetic epilepsy condition, so having to get out of bed before he feels ready to is always sufficient cause for muttering and griping. That tends to be his default attitude to life in the morning.
‘A red sky at night is a shepherd’s delight; a red sky in the morning is a shepherd’s warning’ is one of those little rhymes I remember from childhood and for some people that would shape their attitude towards a day that hadn’t even arrived yet. What I noticed this morning again though is how a beautiful blue sky, void of any clouds at all (and we’re very lucky to enjoy many such days in Perth) has the capacity to lift your spirit instantly and thus affect your attitude in a positive way as a new day begins.
A while ago though, I heard the great Scottish comedian, Billy Connolly espouse the view that, “There is no such thing as ‘bad’ weather – there’s only ‘bad’ choice of clothing”. The inference was that the weather was neither good nor bad; the determining factor was your preparation for either extreme and your attitude towards your environment.
Do you have a default setting for your attitude?
To go back to my step-son, protesting his way to the car yesterday, I responded by quoting Billy Connolly in a bright and chirpy fashion and pointing out that he’d be mostly indoors anyway but would have escaped the darkness of the dungeon (young man’s bedroom) that he inhabits. Have you ever noticed though, how the last thing a person who’s decided to fester away in their grumpy darkness needs, is to be confronted with a cheerful, happy person?
He continued to grumble about the weather and the road conditions as we made our way through a spectacular valley near our home. Even as the rain gave way for a burst of sunshine and the raindrops glistened and sparkled as they ran down the leaves of the picturesque gum trees, and even as we passed by the breathtaking vineyards and saw alpacas munching with delight on the moist, vibrantly green grass, his attitude of grumpiness continued unabated.
We were listening in the car to a CD we’d bought at a show the night before, recorded by a jazz/swing singer, Cathrine Summers, who is blessed with the kind of voice that gives you goose-bumps. My partner and my mother-in-law were enraptured by her dulcet tones and we all found ourselves slightly disappointed as we arrived at our destination that we’d have to stop listening. The two ladies had been singing along in the back of the car. Our very own misanthrope chipped in, almost predictably, with, “Why do you always listen to such depressing music?” I simply smiled.
A rainy attitude in an overcast workplace
I remember way back when I used to work at ‘Big W’ as a retail manager and I’d walk into my sales office first thing in the morning to be confronted by the daily ritualistic mutterings of two ladies whose demeanour reminded me of Shakespearian witches. Most of their gloomy, pessimistic sentences ended with the words “…this bloody place.” I used to clap my hands loudly as I bounced into the office, muster the biggest, cheeriest smile I could wear and exclaim loudly, “Good morning ladies and how are you this wonderful morning?”
“What the bloody hell’s wrong with you?” they’d snarl, ever more resolute in their mission of misery and discord.
“I was just thinking how wonderful it is to be alive.” Or something equally provocative, would be my typical response. My favourite though was, “If it’s that bad, why don’t you leave and do something else, something that makes you happy?” They insisted that they couldn’t because they had bills to pay – thus their attitude of misery was entrenched.
I found a strange solace in their determination to stay miserable, just as I find a strange solace today in looking at Mother Nature and her choice of ‘clothing’, i.e. the weather, and choosing to see the beauty, no matter the conditions.
Attitude can be like the cloud that moves above you or like the sunshine behind it
You see, some people choose to take ‘their weather’ with them. They see the warm weather as ‘too hot’, the cooler days as ‘too cold’, and the rainy days as ‘shitty’, as if raindrops had been somehow replaced with a downpour of excrement! The weather is simply a metaphor for their attitude towards life.
It is my contention that attitude is a matter of personal choice in any given moment, no matter your location. Two people can look at the same weather conditions and the same vista and one will choose to see beauty and light; the other will choose to see ugliness and darkness. “Can it really be that simplistic?” you ask.
Attitude is not controlled by your problems – you can ignore the forecast!
“Ah, but you don’t know what problems I’m dealing with?” insists the pessimist. “If you had my problems, you’d be miserable and overwhelmed too.” It’s possible that I would, of course, but only temporarily.
I’ve had many problems in my life, just as we all do, but I’ve always fostered the belief that no matter what happens to you, no matter what problems you face, maintaining a negative attitude will only disempower you, whereas looking for the positives, even within the depths of a crisis, will help empower you to seek solutions, to find a way of picking yourself back up and to move forwards again with a sense of renewed purpose and an extra layer of resilience.
Just as I wrote these words, I heard from through in the loungeroom, my partner exclaimed, “What a beautiful sunny day!” My mother-in-law responded with her gloomiest Birmingham accent, “Bit misty!” To use the modern vernacular, I LOL’d at the timing.
There’s an old saying that ‘Your attitude will determine your altitude’. I wish for you today, and from this day forwards, that you enjoy a day that is driven by a great attitude and you soar like an eagle. Have an awesome day!
If you’d like any help with defining some strategic solutions to areas in which you feel ‘stuck’, feel free to contact me for a coffee catch-up.
Other blog posts you might like:
- What do You, Arjen Brandsma and Eleanor Rigby Have in Common?
- To Greet or Not to Greet – ‘Why?’ is the Question!
- Opportunities are Disguised as Problems – Cliché or True?