When pilots are flying planes in conditions where visibility is low, they have to use their instrument panel to give them information about the plane’s position in relation to the earth. One of the most important instruments is the attitude indicator. It shows how the aircraft is tilted during flight, i.e., nose up or nose down. Depending upon airspeed, an aircraft with its nose down is typically in a descent, while an aircraft with its nose up is typically in a climb. So, attitude helps determine altitude.
Know where I’m going with this? What a great analogy for life! Your attitude determines your altitude (how high you’ll go). You can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond to it. Responding with a great attitude helps you rebound faster from disappointments; it helps you start problem-solving faster; it helps you build relationships; it helps you handle things with grace. Respond with a bad attitude enough, and you’ll find that problems pick up speed as you hurtle downward, that people steer clear of you, that you get fewer opportunities. Pretty soon, nothing seems to be going your way.
Thomas Edison, the famous inventor, lost his Phonograph Works plant to fire on December 9, 1914. His daughter, concerned for his safety, rushed to the plant while it was still blazing to make sure he was okay. When she arrived, Edison turned to her and said, “Where’s your mother? Go get her. Tell her to get her friends. They’ll never see another fire like this as long as they live!” The next morning at 5:30 a.m., he called his employees together and said, “We’re rebuilding.” To reporters, he said, “I am 67, but I’m not too old to make a fresh start.”
Edison treated the disaster as nothing more than a setback. Better, it was an opportunity to fix some problems that existed in the old plant and rebuild the plant the way he wanted it. His attitude allowed Edison to continue thinking about possibilities. His attitude determined his altitude.
So, next time you’re in a tail-spin and headed for a crash, check your attitude and get your nose up!