This I believe—attitude matters. I know from experience that you can plunk three different people into the same difficult situation and one will complain about it, one will face it with courage and seek to transform it, and one will exploit it or turn it into something for personal gain or power. I know which one I want to be even if I don’t always succeed.
I believe in hope. Recently my good friend Samm died after a long battle with cancer.
I think hope is the secret ingredient that gave Samm the courage to work on making decisions about her own death. She didn’t have false hope, the kind that thinks one can get well even in the face of death. Instead, she transformed a place of pain into a deeper bond with those she loved. She never made anyone afraid.
I believe in risk-taking. When we open ourselves to one another, it is always risky. Beginning with an attitude of belief and adding hope allows one to take risks and also on occasion to fail—even to fail on many occasions. On those occasions when I have not taken a risk, it is usually because I did not want to look foolish in my own eyes. Samm helped me get past that fear.
This I believe—that the world needs more people who are courageous, hopeful and able to take a risk. Perhaps if we could curb our personal anxieties, we could begin to create an atmosphere that would encourage both hope and risk-taking, even at the expense of a reduction in our personal comfort. I believe that it is possible to change our attitudes and, in so doing, to empower ourselves, and each other, to work for the common good. It has happened before. It can happen now.
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