Recently I was flying from Boston to Charlotte and I was reminded of something that I believe will be very helpful to anyone who reads this. When the plane is on the ground it is subject to whatever weather is happening at the time, but as soon as the plane breaks through the clouds it is no longer held under the circumstances going on below.
If you have never flown before you wouldn’t know about this, but if you have then you have experienced this phenomenon. You see no matter what the weather may be below the clouds, once you get above the clouds, the sun is always shining. You see if planes were to travel below the clouds they would be subject to the turbulence going on around them. In order to experience smooth sailing, they must break through the clouds and rise to a higher altitude.
The saying goes “Your attitude determines your altitude.” In other words, your attitude directly affects your altitude. You can’t expect to fly above the clouds if your attitude is in the gutter. My college baseball coach always told us the only things in life you can control are your attitude and your effort. Legendary football coach Lou Holtz once said “Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.” You can’t control what takes place in life but you can control how you react to it. The way you respond to the circumstances and situations in life will ultimately determine your results.
Recent studies show that severe prolonged stress and chronic negative thinking can compromise the immune system. By the same token, studies have also revealed that individuals with a positive attitude toward life tend to become sick less often than those with a negative attitude. It is also believed that a healthy upbeat attitude can in itself mobilize and stimulate the body’s defenders. For example, in a study of women with breast cancer, Dr. Sandra Levy at the University of Pittsburgh’s Cancer Institute found that women who were more depressed had lower natural killer cell activity than those with a hopeful, positive outlook. It was also noted that the women who had experienced a great deal of joy and happiness in their lives also had a higher survival rate.
In the beginning of the apostle Paul’s third letter to the church in Colossi he writes “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:2) In other words quit your lowly thinking. Get your head in the clouds. Your thoughts will either keep your plane in life grounded or they will elevate it above the clouds.
How are you going to respond if you get a bad report from the doctor? How are you going to react the next time you receive some bad news? Are you going to choose to make lemonade when life gives you lemons? Are you going to continue to walk through life with the attitude “Woe is me”? The decision is up to you.