“It’s your attitude, not your aptitude, that will determine your altitude.” Zig Ziglar (1926-2012)

Dr. Vincent Amanor-Boadu at Kansas State University says, “No one can ever take away from me the power to interpret my circumstance. Even if you take away everything I have and put me in jail, you cannot take away from me my power to interpret that in a positive manner.” Is you glass half-full or half-empty?

glass half full

Regardless of our difficult circumstances, we alone possess the power to interpret them.  The power to interpret means:

  • We narrate our own story – It is dangerous for us is to give someone else the pen with which to write our life’s story. I want to narrate my own story.  Joseph interpreted his brothers selling him into slavery this way:  “You meant it for evil; God meant it for good.”
  • We frame the cause-and-effect – I recently went through a trying experience and have two letters from two different people who give two entirely different cause-and-effect interpretations. One is very positive and gives me courage; the other one is very negative and makes me want to go screaming into the night.  I alone determine which one influences me.
  • It puts us outside looking in– Realizing that I am choosing to interpret my circumstance helps me to step outside of myself and ask this question: “If I was someone else, what advice would I give me?”
  • We decide the value of other people’s opinions- It is very dangerous to let others interpret our circumstances for us because they can easily bring their junk to our situation. Frankly, I don’t need someone else throwing his or her junk in my yard.
  • We choose who edits our story – Every author needs editors they trust and I have learned whom I can trust and whom I can’t. Therefore, I only allow editors I trust to help me write my story.
  • We take critics to be what they are: critics. A critic and a dollar-fifty will buy you a cup of coffee.
  • We write a positive outcome to the story – My future is a blank sheet and I intend to take pen and paper (or at least a keyboard and monitor) and write a very positive outcome to my story.

What are methods or principles that help you interpret your own circumstances?  How cautious are you about allowing other editors into your own story?

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I also blog on the topic of solving global hunger at these sites:

Universities Fighting World Hunger – Hunger:  A Conversation That Matters

Universities Fighting World Hunger Summit 2013