This week features "The best advice I ever got" regarding attitude.
BEST ADVICE #2: "ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST NO MATTER WHAT IT IS, NEVER QUIT NO MATTER HOW HARD IT IS, AND ACT LIKE A CHAMPION NO MATTER HOW EVERYONE ELSE IS."
Source: The two greatest role models a person could ever have, my parents, Dave and Willa Higuera.
Why I consider this some of the "Best Advice I Ever Had": Your attitude is all about your perception. It is about how you size up and look at a situation or circumstance. I was taught that you always look for the best and do the best in any circumstance. I have learned through observing my parents that when you look for the good in a situation you always seem to find it. I have also learned from many other sources that the opposite is also true.
Coach John Wooden puts it as, "Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way that things turn out." John Maxwell says, "Who and where you are today is a result of your attitude."
When it comes down to it, it is all about the thoughts you allow to enter, dwell, and live in your mind. You have developed each of these thoughts over time based on your experiences, beliefs, family, education, and association with others. It is the sum of these thoughts that constitute your overall attitude towards everything.
"Always Do Your Best": My mother went back to school and became a nurse when she was in her thirties. With three kids in a small apartment, holding a part time job, and being a mother, that is no easy task. Because my family really only had one income at the time, we struggled. Her advice of "always do your best" was exemplified as she received almost all straight A's through nursing school while never making my two younger siblings and I feel like we were not the most important priorities in her life. She "always did her best," in everything she committed too.
I'll never forget the advice my mother gave me when I displayed a bad attitude towards something or there was something I did not want to do (especially chores around the house, or things at school). She would remind me of the bible verse, Colossians 4:23-24, "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you receive the reward of inheritance." In other words, always do your best, it's bigger than you.
"Never Quit": My dad has always been the biggest advocate of this. He would tell me that if I quit once, I would be able to quit things the rest of my life. He taught me that when you make a commitment, no matter what it is, no matter how hard it is, no matter how painful it may be, you go through with it.
I've seen this in two main things with my dad: First, with the commitment and love he has for my mother and his family, and second, his commitment to fighting for his life. My father survived a heart attack and lost over 100lbs. And just recently, my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He underwent surgery and hormone treatments, but still the cancer persisted. He then had to undergo radiation.
In text messages sent between us, he would say things like, "I'm going to beat this," "I survived too many things, to let this beat me." He never quit. And about a month ago, when his tests came back, he was cancer free. He never quit.
"Always Be a Champion No Matter How Everyone Else Is": For some reason I tend to be pretty ruthless. I am a competitor. And I hate losing. I have great tendencies to think about myself before I think of others. A lot of these qualities make you think you're acting like a champion, but you're really acting like a jerk.
I was taught by my parents to treat people the right way. To this day they continue to help others and give to others who, I think, don't deserve it. This infuriates me, because my parents, who do not have much money, continue to give and support people who don't deserve it. They would give the shirt off of their back to anyone that needed it. I used to look at this as people taking advantage of them (and it's probably true), but now I understand it's a decision by them to help anyone who is in need.
It's a quality that most will never understand, and one that I am still trying to. Ultimately it's acting like a champion. A champion gives everything they have for the greater good, even if it causes suffering and pain. It's the highest level of living, and I happen to have two great role models who have showed me what this is.
As I have always seen it as them getting the shaft. Their reward is joy. The joy of the ability to give to others without thinking about getting anything in return. The joy of knowing that you are a steward of all you have been blessed with, and it is your duty to use these blessings to bless the lives of others. While most people will make themselves miserable trying to attain happiness and hold onto the things they have. My parents have taught me it's not what you get, it's what you give that brings true joy and happiness to your life.
How I Apply These Concepts to My Own Life:
1. I Try to Fill My Mind with Great Thoughts: I learned that once I stopped listening to the unrated versions of rap music, I got a little less angry. I learned that when I started reading about great minds and people my thoughts began to improve. And I learned that when I continued to put thoughts of doing my best, persevering, and acting like a champion, my life began to improve on many levels. I'm reminded of another Bible (Philippians 4:8-9) verse my mother used to talk to me about all the time, "Whatever is true, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things."
2. I Don't Shy Away From Difficult Things: In fact, my absolute favorite place to be is with my back against the wall and no way out. I have tended to put myself in these positions just to see if I could get my way out of it. This is good and bad. I learned there's a time when you don't need to sabotage your life or situations, just to challenge your ability to fight. But I look at adversity as a friend, and invite it. I like to say you have to the develop the ability to look at "fear in the face and smile." I don't mind getting out of my comfort zone. Because I learned that as soon as I'm feeling comfortable, something bad is usually around the corner. You could say I'm uncomfortable with being comfortable.
3. I Try to Be an Example of What I Want to Instill In Others: Jim Rohn affirmed, "You cannot speak that which you do not know. You cannot share that which you do not feel. You cannot translate that which you do not have. And you cannot give that which you do not possess. To give it and to share it, and for it to be effective, you first need to have it."
Talking is so easy. Doing is not. The definition of integrity is walking your talk. The foundation of leadership is your example. Leadership has simply been called influence. Thus, it impossible to instill in and lead others if you lack integrity. I understand that in order to make a difference in the lives of others I need to live a life of integrity. At this point in time I am a "B" in this. If I can get to become an "A+" in this, I know that my life will really start to significantly impact and change the lives of those around me.
This past week was Thanksgiving. I would like to give my thanks to my parents for everything that they have not only told me, but showed me. They are people of integrity. They continue to help and change the lives of others because of simply who they are. They have never written any books, they aren't celebrities, they aren't in politics, and they don't have lots of money, and they've never tried to be something they are not. They simply always do their best, never quit, and always act like champions. They will leave a legacy on this earth because of what they gave, not what they got. If I can achieve anything close to them, I my mind, I will have been a success.
I'll close with a piece from Tony Dungy's newest book, Uncommon:
"You won't always rise to the level of expectations you have for yourself, but you will never be able to rise above the imaginary ceiling you construct in your mind."
Ask Yourself this Week:
1) What areas of my life do I need to change my attitude in: My family? My team? My work? My school work? My coach? My boss? My parents? My circumstances? My work ethic?
2) What commitments do I need to practice this "Never Quit" attitude: My family? My team? My work? My health? My finances?
3) What areas in my life can I start to act like a champion, no matter how anyone else around me is acting: At home? At work? At school? At practice? My excellence? My work ethic?