This I Believe

Marie - Orem, Utah
Entered on May 23, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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Attitude according to Webster: a complex mental state involving beliefs and feelings and values and dispositions to act in certain ways.

Attitude according to me: The way a person views the world around them, and how they respond to what they see.

I believe in choosing one’s own attitude. And as such, I define my level of happiness. As Martha Washington once said, “The greatest part of our happiness depends on our dispositions, not our circumstances.”

I consider myself a relatively happy person. I used to say, “Have a great day!” to everyone. As I said “hi”, I thought I was having a good attitude and helping others on their way. Then I met Mr. Clinton. As in “Mr. Clinton-the-assistant-principal”. One day, as we were talking in the hall I said, “Have a great day, Mr. Clinton!” and he said, “No, I’m not going to have a great day,” (and at first, I was quite shocked by this response as it was unprecedented), but then he continued, “I’m going to MAKE a great day!”

This seemingly simple dialogue had a profound effect on my paradigm of happiness. I used to think, just “having” a day was good enough and that whatever came would be fine. That is, until Mr. Clinton taught me a lesson far more powerful than any sit-down hour lecture in the principal’s office could ever be. I create my life by choosing my attitude. It’s not enough for me to just “have” days, I need to make them my own. I can’t choose what is hurled at me everyday, but I can decide my attitude, and therefore my happiness.

Viktor Frankl, a holocaust survivor, said, “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. ” If a man who lost his family, home, loved ones can still be happy, so can I.

Because I believe in the power of choosing one’s own attitude, and therefore one’s happiness.