This I Believe

Matthew - Port Matilda, Pennsylvania
Entered on May 1, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

Attitude is Everything

“You cannot tailor-make the situations in life, but you can tailor-make the attitudes to fit those situations.”

– Zig Ziglar

Attitude is everything. I believe that attitude and the mind are the most powerful things that humans possess. In every situation, there can be many outcomes, both positive and negative. The outcomes could involve competition and coming in first or last place. Or the outcomes could involve negotiation and getting something I want or something I don’t. However, I do not view outcomes as a zero-sum game, where I win and the other loses, or vice versa. Like the motivational speaker Zig Ziglar mentions, attitude can take any situation and assure a positive outcome.

My father constantly made me aware of my attitude growing up. Whether I was playing a basketball game or simply doing my chores, he would always encourage me to improve my mind-set by saying things like “don’t shake your head out there on the court,” or “giving those dirty looks isn’t helping the situation.” Although several events have shaped my belief that attitude can create positive outcomes, my ongoing “battle” with diabetes has influenced my outlook more than anything else.

Type 1 diabetes has been a part of my life for the last 18 years. There were times growing up where I might have felt different then my peers. I couldn’t eat birthday cake at a friend’s birthday party all the time. My mom came to school around lunch time to give me one of many daily injections. Since age 4 I have sometimes wondered, “What would life be without the constant hassles of Diabetes.” There have been countless incidents and situations over the years where I almost folded. Like the cliché of two angels on the shoulders, one bad and one good, the “don’t-shake-your-head-out-there-on-the-court” attitude has been on one shoulder and the positive attitude on the other. By seeking out the “good angel”, I’ve found that the last 18 years with diabetes have taught me much about discipline, self-control, and independence.

Checking my blood sugar up to 6 times a day and logging the results teaches me discipline. Being aware of what I eat and drink continually teaches me self-control. Setting up doctor appointments, traveling abroad by myself, and living on my own with Diabetes teaches me independence. I now know that making a conscious effort to pull something positive from every situation completely depends on the attitude I bring to the table. Concentrating on the positives that come from situations in my life makes all the difference.

As time goes by and I mature, I realize that maintaining a positive outlook is both difficult and simple at the same time. My mood and my surroundings are just two of many variables that affect my attitude. Yet, thirty seconds of reasoning might be all it takes to enter a situation with a bright outlook. All said and done, trying to find “the good” in a situation and keeping a positive attitude through all of life’s struggles allows me to combat unfavorable situations. At the end of each day I am who I am because of my attitude.