What Can A Holocaust Survivor Teach Us About Attitude?

Illumination
Illumination

During my last visit to the dentist I replaced seven fillings. And I hated every minute of it. They had to give me extra shots of the local anesthetic because of my whining.

I couldn’t help it.

My wife says I’m too soft when it comes to dental stuff. And she’s right! But as the dentist was attacking my teeth with his cold metallic drill something interesting happened.

I said to myself, ‘I’m so lucky to be going to the dentist in 2015 and not 100 years in the past.

(Can you imagine going to the dentist in the early 1900s? What tools did they use? Didn’t they use hammers back then? Did they even have anesthesia? No way!)

Things are much better now, right?

So my attitude shifted.

Okay– the pain was still there, but the experience was different. But this attitude change doesn’t just apply to the dentist.  We can find it everywhere.

In fact, there has never been a better time to be alive. Period. 

  1. People are living longer and healthier lives due to medical advances.
  2. We have access to free or nearly free education (online courses).
  3. There’s never been an easier time to find a job or start a business.

We’re living in times of incredible abundance and advances. I’m not ignoring the fact that drugs, crime, poverty, and war are all around us. But if you’re fortunate enough to live in a place with relative stability,  employment, education, and, healthcare then you’re probably doing pretty well, right?

But even in the middle of all of this abundance there’s never been so much despair, depression, and hopelessness. The CDC reports that,

 “Every day, 44 people in the U.S. die from overdose of prescription painkillers, and many more become addicted.” 

That’s why it is so important that we make the decision. What decision, you ask?

I’m sooo glad you want to know!

In his book, “Man’s Search For Meaning,” Victor Frankl , a neurologist, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor, explains how controlling his attitude saved his life in the concentration camps. He said,

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Did you catch that? He said– Choose Your Attitude First.

Decide what your attitude is going to be.  Don’t let your circumstances dictate your attitude.  Take the lead, if not, it’ll be too late.  Don’t wait for your circumstances to change. That’s a trap.

We can choose to live in a world of despair or one of hope and opportunities.  A key factor seems to be attitude. Our attitude shapes our thoughts. And our thoughts create our reality. Frankl proves that attitude is a choice.

As for me, I’m choosing to focus on the positive and make a difference wherever I can. I’m not ignoring all suffering, idiots, and evil stuff happening all over the world. But I’m not going to let those things define my reality or my attitude.  What about you?

 

 

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