No. 462



Do you ever have flashbacks? This is to say that your current thoughts provide the catalyst for your memory to flashback to some event or experience that happened months or even years before. We see this all the time in the news, or maybe even in person, where soldiers return from the horrors of war and the recurring mental images are so vivid and real that they cause deep emotional and psychological pain. When I began to think about todayÕs column, I had a flashback that happened over 30 years ago. While this flashback was certainly not as dramatic as those from the battlefield, it was nevertheless, real to me.

Sometime after 1970, my former business partner, the late Bob Gannaway, and I took his grandson Randy on a trout fishing trip up to the White River in North Arkansas. We stayed in a motel in Mountain View and early the next morning, as we were getting set to leave for the boat dock, Randy said to his grandfather, "Grandpa, it's your attitude early in the morning that makes a difference about your day." Randy was so right, and some thoughts along this line are what I want to share with you, but thinking about this caused my mind to flashback to the time when we were in the boat catching trout.

The limit was six, which meant we could have a total of 18 in the boat. We were catching so many fish and having such a great time that we lost count, but only for a little while. About this time the Game Warden pulled alongside our boat and wanted to count our fish. Would you believe we had 19, one over the limit? Since there were two licensed fishermen in the boat, this meant we both got a ticket. I told the Game Warden that I had caught the extra fish, hoping I would be the only one who got a ticket. When I made that comment, Randy said, "Did Not." Anyway, it was a good lesson that cost each one of us $28, and that was a long time ago. No telling what the amount of the fine is today.

Randy's comment, "It's your attitude early in the morning that makes a difference about your day," is certainly something we would do well to think about. A while back a friend sent me a short piece by an unknown author that really hits the nail on the head in this regard. It begins, "I woke up early today, excited over all that I get to do before the clock strikes midnight. I have many responsibilities to fulfill today. My first and most important job is to choose what kind of day I am going to have." As I said, I hope you will give some real thought to your early morning attitude, because it's much more important than the old joke we have all heard. When someone asked this fellow, "Did you get up with a grouch this morning?" He said, "No, I let her sleep." Sorry about that!

We really do have a choice, so please consider this from a first-person perspective, and that first person is you. "Today I can complain because the weather is rainy or Ü I can be thankful that the grass is getting watered for free. Today I can feel sad that I don't have more money or Ü I can be glad that my finances encourage me to plan my purchases wisely and guide me away from waste. Today I can grumble about my health or Ü I can rejoice that I am alive. Today I can lament over all that my parents didn't give me when I was growing up or Ü I can feel grateful that they allowed me to be born. Today I can cry because roses have thorns Ü or I can celebrate that roses have thorns.

Today I can mourn my lack of friends or Ü I can excitedly embark upon a quest to discover new relationships. Today I can whine because I have to go to work or Ü I can shout for joy because I have a job to do. Today I can complain because I have difficult things to do or Ü eagerly open my mind and fill it with rich new tidbits of knowledge. Today I can murmur dejectedly because I have to do housework or Ü I can appreciate that I have a place to call home. Today stretches ahead of me, waiting to be shaped. And here I am, the sculptor who gets to do the shaping. (That's a terrific thought!) What today will be like is up to me. I get to choose what kind of day I will have. Hope you have a GREAT DAY Ü unless (of course) you have other plans."

While it's not original, there is an old saying that would be appropriate to share with you here. It's your attitude and not your aptitude that will determine your altitude. In life, about 85 percent of our success is determined by our attitude and only 15 percent is determined by our skill and knowledge. If you are having serious problems just now, why not examine your attitude. It's true. It's your attitude early in the morning that makes a difference about your day. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)