Here is an inspirational short story of an attitude test. I came up with the story when I was musing one day how to really see our own attitude towards life.
When my brother and I we were children we spent a few weeks each summer in the countryside. Our childless uncle owned a big house there and didn´t mind having children around, so of course our parents were happy to loan us for a few days at a time.
Our uncle was a geologist and loved to go on long walks to find stones to his collection at the university. More often than not we followed him. He had a housekeeper who could cook like an angel and always gave uncle a big basket full of good food for those trips. We didn´t mind sharing the goodies so we eagerly waited for those excursions.
One day we left early and this time uncle had bought us backpacks.
- You can help me carry the samples, he explained.
Sure, why not. The whole day we then walked around the countryside and every now and again uncle put stones in our bags. We were a bit surprised he also took some stones out from our bags at times, but figured he had just found better samples than the ones we already had.
Still, when we reached the house in late afternoon, we were beat. The backpacks were so heavy we gave a big sigh of relief when we thumped them on the porch. Yet uncle´s backpack was half empty.
- Why did you give us so many stones? we asked.
- I didn´t. You did, he said cryptically.
He waited for a while before continuing:
- You did not know it, but I made you go through a little attitude test today.
- What do you mean with attitude test? we wanted to know.
- It is something someone once did to me - and I shall always remember it. You see I listened to every word you said. And when ever you were complaining about anyone or anything, I added a stone to your bags. And when ever you talked about something in an attitude of gratitude and positive thinking, I took off a stone. And now look at your backpacks.
We did. They were almost bursting at their seams.
- I hope you remember this little attitude test. You see your negative thoughts are like stones. You carry them on in your mind just like those stones in a backbag. The more negative thoughts, the heavier your mind is. A positive thought, however, cancels a negative one. So look at those bags and start paying attention to what you say and how you say it.
This little lesson was one of the most important I ever had and I remember uncle with great love for teaching us one of the most important lessons in life - the power of attitude.
What if you tried this little exercise too for one day? No need to use stones or backpacks- you could buy little plastic pearls (you know - the kind you can use to make your own jewelry). You might put the pearls in one pocket and move to the other when you recognize a negative thought. And then take the pearl out when you think positively.
And I don´t mean that if you pay attention to something in your life that doesn´t work that would be counted as a negative thought. No - the point is not to avoid difficult subjects.
Instead pay attention on your emotions - when you think of the thing, do you approach it with "this will never work"- or with "I´ll figure this one out" -attitude? It might reveal do you see yourself as a victim or as someone who is actively doing something about your life´s issues. (We all have issues, so that in itself is not alarming or a sign your life would be any worse than someone else´s).