Choose your attitude – don’t kick the cat

Don't kick the catWent to the store today. When I came back to my van, I found a note on my windshield.

It said

You will go TO HELL if you park so close to me ever again

Despite the obvious pun on my license plate “I WILL GO” (ironically based on a Christian worship song), the anger in the note was palpable. [More ironically, it was written on note paper from the Humane Society!]

As I walked the note to the trash can, I started seething. How dare anyone write a note like that! Especially when I was right in the center of the painted lines of my spot! I wasn’t sure who’d put the note there, but I started trying to figure out who was to blame.

Then I remembered Zig Ziglar’s story about kicking the cat. You see I grew up listening to Zig. And he had a great story that went something like this:

A man is angry because he got a late start for the office so he drives like a maniac and cuts off Frank. This ticks Frank off so when he gets to his office, he snaps at his assistant about a report at that is late. His assistant is now upset that the person responsible for the report, Joe, is making her look bad to her boss so when she calls Joe, she takes out her anger on him. Joe gets the report but is upset all day. He’s still upset when he gets home. His cat, who’s has nothing to do with Joe’s day, bumps the door and Joe, in his anger, ends up kicking the cat.

Don’t Kick the Cat

The cat had nothing to do with Joe’s bad day, or the assistant’s stress, or Frank’s being upset, or the first guys getting a late start to the day. But the cat takes the brunt of that frustration.

Zig’s point was that at any point in the chain of events each of the people had a choice over their attitude. They could choose to react in kind, or respond more positively.

Each of us have the choice to not kick the cat. To not pass on the negative crap we get by hanging around people like us.

Obviously this lady was having a rough day. I’ve never received a note like that. Think of the effort involved in finding the Human Society note pad, finding my license plate, and hand writing such a venomous note. She must’ve been fit to be tied.

And really…it had nothing to do with me.

Sure, it was wrong. But did my kids really need me to lash out at them as I’d been lashed out at? Obviously not.

So I tried making up a story in order to fight of the anger that kept trying to get me. I decided it was the woman who’d parked into my space and went into the cell phone store. I know how frustrating that can be. And I tried imagining what happened to her on the way to the store and why those people did what they’d done.

Because, her anger really had nothing to do with me. And I didn’t want to kick the cat.

Attitude

This quote reminds me of what I spoke about on Sunday when talking about the importance of the stories we believe about ourselves.

Attitude to me is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think, say or do. It is more important than appearance, gift, or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.

– Charles Swindoll

I could’ve just got up, read that, and said, “Yeah. What Chuck said.” ๐Ÿ™‚

To hear the sermon yourself, go to the Vineyard Church of Waterville sermons page.

What are you selling?

Last Sunday, we had an brave soul give the sermon at the Vineyard Church of Waterville. I make it a point to not be in the pulpit every Sunday. It’s healthier for the group if others are being raised up.

Before Janice spoke, I gave everyone a primer on how to be a good listener. I even helped them loosen up their smiling muscles and the muscles that help the head move up and down in agreement. You can hear the warm up routine on the VCW podcast.

Today, I read a post by Seth Godin that reminds me of my warm up exercise. Go and read his post Always On (everybody markets). He points out that we’re always sending a message. “And more often than not, you get what you put in.”

Classic quote on attitude

This is one of my favorites:

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than gift, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you, we are in charge of our attitudes.
–Charles Swindoll