This blogpost will be a bit different than my usual posts, but let’s face it; sometimes life is full of good luck, and other times it’s the other way around. Below are two excellent things to consider the next time you’re down on your luck. The first is a quote from Charles Swindoll:

The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday 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 one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

The second is from The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz M.D.

Don’t Take Anything Personally Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

When my luck is down, I try to envision a hypothetical conversation with Clint Eastwood that goes something like this:

Clint: Are you paralyzed?

Bret: No

Clint: Do you have cancer?

Bret: No

Clint: Do you have AIDS?

Bret: No

Clint: Did any of your friends or family recently die?

Bret: No

Clint: Are they safe and healthy?

Bret: Yes

Clint: Then man the hell up son! Your life is going pretty well.


According to this site, half of the world lives off of $10 per day or less, so if you’re earning far more than that be appreciative. In this study, researchers showed that happiness is not just having what you want, but also wanting what you have. Start focusing on what you do have rather than what you don’t have. Most of us are pretty darn lucky if we take a second to realize it!

14 thoughts on “Attitude

  1. Lynda Lippin

    Nice post Bret! The truth is that most of us do not appreciate what we have. We focus on what we lack instead, which is just a waste of time and energy.

  2. Neal W.

    I too try and think about all the poor people around the world today and the lives of those who exist only 100 years ago when I feel down. I often tell people to think about this and how they don’t realize how good they have it. The comedian Louis C.K. has a bit about this that I think you would enjoy.

    Unfortunately, research shows that people compare their situation with those in their immediate area – the people they actually interact with. You may have seen the recent headlines about the study that found areas which are the happiest also have the highest suicide rates.

    1. Bret Post author

      Neal, I have seen this before and it’s great! I just watched it again and appreciated it even more. In fact, I’m going to embed this video into the post. Didn’t know about the happiest areas and highest suicide rates. That’s very interesting (and sad). Thanks bud!

  3. Marianne

    Wow great post, just what I needed. And, evidence-based as always Bret ;)

    While it is good to view your life from the eyes of others in a “worse” situation, it is also useful to understand that each person’s experience is relative to them. Something tragic for me, might be nothing to someone else. Guess what I mean is, never down-play someone elses troubles too much.

    Having someone say to you “ah, sure, you have it easy”, isn’t always the most welcome thing to say, when they are in the midst of a crisis LOL! Guess that’s where empathy comes in handy.

    However, perspective is also a healthy thing to highlight – without it, we would never snap out of it :D

    Don’t beat yourself up too much, we are all entitled to wallow a little, shit happens to us all.

  4. Nick Efthimiou

    Often you (we) only see the good in others’ lives and focus more on the bad in yours (ours).

    It’s really easy to get caught up in this. I know I catch myself doing it occasionally.

    A tip I read on Charles Poliquin’s blog was to, before bed, write down a list of things you are grateful for.

    I do this whenever I can’t get to sleep, and it helps (with sleeping) immensely, as well as makes you realise how good you have it.

  5. Nick Horton

    Great stuff, my brother. A number of those quotes and lines are big drivers for me, too. But, the Clint Eastwood conversation is particularly nice!

    My own inner conversation is usually with Ghost Dog :)

  6. Echo

    I’m a regular lurker but never comment being a mere mortal possessing less than steller glutes (but I’m deadlifting ‘em into the stratosphere, straight up). Wanted to thank you for the reminder of just how great our big world really is. Video was hilarious, even my teenage twins chuckled (and they usually only sit with me for the great bum pictures). My mental conversation is always with my grandma who raised 6 kids in a small trailer while granddad worked whatever midwest mine that was hiring. Nothing puts perspective on our sadass little inconveniences like talking with someone who was making do 50 years ago. Great job with the site, many thanks for making such useful and honest information available…uh, and for free!

  7. Pingback: Your Monday Moment of Zen #17 | The Iron Samurai

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