Advice and Attitudes

I’m tempted to initiate our conversation by saying, “There are two types of people: ….” Since my plan is to talk about advice and attitudes, I think it will suffice to simply remind us that there are people who ask for advice and those who actually follow it only when the advice we offer is an exact fit with what they wanted to hear. They are usually the same people. Hannah Whitall Smith understood the key to advice giving when she pointed out, “The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not, and never persist in trying to set people right.”

If that adequately sets the stage for both of us, let me suggest that attitude matters, and quite often, attitude is all that actually matters. If you doubt the truth of this putative fact of life and living, let me share the perspectives of some other folks who have given a lot of thought to the notion. From there, you can and of course, will draw your own conclusion. In turn, I will remain perfectly indifferent to your personal conclusion and will not persist in trying to set you right.

The first point about attitude is that attitude is nothing more complicated than knowing that we always get to decide what our attitude is today. It’s just a state of mind that we impose on our current situation or circumstance. It works like this.

From Annie Gottlier, we get this. “It’s so hard when I have to, and so easy when I want to.”

Publius Terentius Afer puts it this way. “There is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when you do it reluctantly.”

Leland Val Van de Wall makes the same point like this. “You only have to do something until you want to do it, then you won’t have to do it any more.”