High Prairie Branch,
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Ada Bitner Hinckley, often said that, “A happy attitude and smiling countenance could boost one over almost any misfortune and that every individual was responsible for his own happiness.”
Her husband, Bryant S. Hinckley, was quoted as saying, “Cynics do not contribute, skeptics do not create, doubters do not achieve.”
It is no wonder then that their son, Gordon B. Hinckley, would grow to be a great promoter of the adage “attitude is everything”. Gordon once counselled, “There is a terrible ailment of pessimism in the land. It’s almost endemic. We’re constantly fed a steady and sour diet of character assassination, fault finding, evil speaking of one another …”
Does this sound reminiscent of the world we live in? We can hardly leave our homes or turn on TV or use social media without being exposed this ‘steady and sour diet’. Once we get a little, it’s often difficult to not portray a negative attitude ourselves.
But Hinckley also taught the remedy.
“I come … with a plea that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I’m suggesting that we accentuate the positive. I’m asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, and that we more generously compliment virtue and effort.”
Imagine the difference in the world if we would each look for the chance to point out the good in others and the world around us! Many have referred to this positive attitude as seeing the glass half full. It is the ability to find the good at all times and in all places.
The Psalmist taught, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
The purpose of life is to find joy. Does this mean everything is always easy? That nothing in life ever goes wrong?
Of course not!
But our very attitude in our circumstances can make the difference in how we handle each day – be it good or bad.
Jenkins Loyd Jones once said, “Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed. Most putts don’t drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise … Life is like an old-time rail journey — delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.” [Deseret News, 12 June 1973]
One of the simplest ways to improve our attitude is to count our blessings and give thanks for all we have been blessed with.
In one of his darkest times, the Lord told those He lived, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” [John 14:27]
God has not put us on earth to have the spirit of fear or pessimism. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured. We can choose to cultivate an attitude of optimism and hope.