WHAT IS THE MEANING OF POSITIVE?
A positive attitude has only been around for about seven hundred years.
According to Merriam-Webster, the first known use of the word positive
was in the 14th century. That was about a hundred years before
Columbus sailed to America. Until then, people did not have a
positive attitude, because the word positive did not exist in the
English language. Before then they had to use other words to
describe a positive attitude. Probably they simply said that
someone had a good attitude.
For me, the word positive means congruent and non-ambivalent.
It's an operational definition signifying that my mind, heart, and will
are all congruent and committed to moving together in a non-ambivalent
fashion to achieve a worthwhile purpose.
All three components of my personality (heart, mind, will) are heading
in the same direction and working together to achieve the same objective.
Jesus said that no man putting his hand to the plow and looking back is
worthy of the kingdom of God. People who look back wistfully at
their old life and at the past are looking in the wrong direction.
They need to look forward in a non-ambivalent fashion into the future.
It is impossible to move into a positive future and in a positive
direction if you are ambivalent. A positive life is a no looking
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF ATTITUDE?
Your attitude is your way of looking at things, and it's a choice.
I lived outside the United States for twenty-eight years in
more than twenty countries. For sixteen years, I lived in Saudi
Arabia. As a result of living in so many dissimilar cultures, I
can state beyond the shadow of a doubt that not everyone looks at things in the same
way. In fact, cultures often look at the same thing in radically
Attitude is everything when you live in different cultures around
the world. If you have the wrong attitude, you won't survive long
in some countries. The wrong attitude makes your work difficult or
impossible, and the right attitude makes it easy. The wrong
attitude may result in deportation or even worse.
Attitude is a mind set. It's the way you choose to look at
yourself and at the
world. Jesus said, "Set your mind on God's kingdom and His way of
doing things before everything else, and all the rest will come to you
as well." Jesus made it clear that attitude is important, and that
it is a choice. He told people to set their mind on the right things.
The single most important decision you will ever make is the set of your
mind. If you get it right, you have an awesome life. If your
mind set is wrong, your destiny is failure, frustration, and
You must have the right attitude, and it must be positive. There is no other way to reach your potential and to live
God's dream for your life.
God made positive thinking to be the natural software for your mind.
He designed a positive software package that would permit your mind to
function at full capacity and maximum efficiency. He created your
mind to work best with a positive operating system.
Positive thinking is not just a good idea. It's the way God designed
your mind to work. That's why a positive attitude is important.
A positive attitude means that a positive operating system is up and
running in your mind. It is controlling the way you think.
You have a positive mind set. Attitude is everything, and when
that attitude is positive, it is exactly the way God means for it to be.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF GRATITUDE
Gratitude is being thankful for and appreciating all of the good things
in your life. It isn't something that happens. It's
something you do, and it's a choice. Gratitude is active. It
involves effort on your part to think and say grateful things.
The grateful heart is the joyful heart. Gratitude and joy travel
together. When gratitude knocks at the door of your mind, joy
always found by its side. When one comes into your heart and mind,
the other comes as well. Being grateful fills your heart and
mind with joy and makes life worth living.
Gratitude is hard for me. It's not that I am ungrateful on
purpose. Ingratitude is just the by-product of a busy life.
The reason is simple. Gratitude doesn't just happen. It's
something that I must choose to do.
Gratitude doesn't magically appear in the corridors of my mind. I
must continually put grateful thoughts into my mind for it to stay.
Gratitude is something that I renew each day by thinking hundreds
of grateful thoughts. If I don't do it, gratitude and joy will
fade away until they are gone.
Gratitude is important because it recognizes that I am not the source
of good things in my life. Every good
thing comes from God and
from other people. God gave me my mind and body, and I am grateful for
these gifts. Other people created a medical school so that I could
become a physician. The
Positive Thinking Network and
Thinking Network exist because other individuals created internet,
created domains, wrote HTML, and maintain servers for all my websites.
I have lots to be thankful for. Without other people and God, I
would be living in a jungle eating berries with the bears and cowering in
caves hiding my family from mountain lions.
Gratitude is a statement of trust. It isn't necessary to worry about the
future. The God who supplied my needs in the past is dependable,
and He will give me everything I need as long as I trust in Him.
Gratitude puts everything in its proper perspective and reminds me that
God is the source for my life.
The best way to develop a positive attitude and positive gratitude is to
make a list of the things for which I am grateful.
Gratitude is like reading the movie credits on a major motion picture
called MY LIFE. God and other people made MY LIFE happen, and if I
am smart I will give them the credit and let them know how grateful I
It's time to roll the credits for my life.
Here is my partial list of credits:
First and foremost, I am grateful for God's love. Whatever good
in me, and whatever I accomplish is because of His love.
If I had choose a title for a movie about my life, I would call it
"Sailing On The Ocean of God's Love", produced and directed by God.
If it wasn't for God's love, my life would have no meaning,
and I would be adrift without a purpose or plan. Because of His love, I
have direction and purpose. He is the source of my life and guides
me through the storms. God supports and sustains me as I
sail on the ocean of His love.
I am grateful that I have been transformed by God's love. Each day
I jump into God's ocean of love and have a life transforming experience. I
am born spiritually and become a new person. Old things pass away and
all things become new. I look at the world through new eyes and listen
with new ears. I think new thoughts, take new actions, and have a new
God's love changes the way I think and feel. His love washes the toxic
waste out of my mind and gives me a clean mind and a pure heart. My old
way of thinking and feeling is gone. My mistakes and failures are cast
into His ocean of love. I dare to call God my Father, and I live as one
of his children. God's love heals my damaged emotions, and my negative
feelings and guilt are washed away in a tidal wave of love.
I am grateful that I live in a
world created and sustained by love. The Creator of the
universe surrounds me and fills my heart with love. His
love is unconditional, and there is nothing I must do to earn
it. Itís an eternal fact that sustains the world. It forms the
foundation for my self-esteem, and His love makes me worthy.
When my heart is full of Godís love, itís full of His presence
I am grateful that God loves
and accepts me the way I am. I am also grateful that He
loves me too much to let me stay that way. This is my
ultimate reason for hope. God is on my side. He
wants to fill my heart with his love, banish my limitations, and
wash away the plague of negative thoughts from my mind.
Godís love carries away my burden of guilt. His love not
only wipes the slate clean, it also throws the slate away.
God has a plan for my life that is better than anything I can
imagine. There is no limit to how good my life can become
when I max out on His love.
I am grateful that God takes all my choices, mistakes, and
failures, and turns them into something good. My mistakes
and failures are the launching pad for God's master plan.
I am grateful that God is the source of all good things. I don't need to figure everything out or worry about
the future because my trust is in God.
I am grateful for good health. Healing is a gift from
God and is an expression of His love. When God created me,
He built healing into my body as a reminder of His love.
Every time I am healed, I experience God's love.
If God did not care about me, and I became sick, it would be the
end of me. The world would throw me on the trash heap and
let me die. But that isn't the way God made things work.
God is in it with me for the long haul, and He will heal my body
thousands of times until my work on planet earth is done.
It won't be over until God says it's over.
I am grateful that I
can walk. I was once in a car accident and broke both of
my legs. It required three surgical procedures and six
months of physical therapy to be able to walk with a limp.
It required years to walk normally once again. Walking is
an enormous blessing. Going up and down stairs is awesome.
Skipping and jumping are a reason to celebrate.
I am grateful I can breathe comfortably without shortness of breath.
I once fractured five ribs and punctured a lung. I learned
for the first time what it's like to have difficulty breathing.
If you want to experience how it feels to have breathing
problems, try to breathe through a soda straw for a couple of
minutes. You immediate discover that normal breathing is
an uncounted blessing.
I am grateful that
I can see. For my entire professional career, I have
helped preserve and restore vision to patients who have ocular
disease. I have seen the devastating effects of blindness
in my travels around the world. I have also seen inner
blindness where people cannot see the hand of God at work in
their lives. I am committed to the restoration of vision
so people can look at the world through eyes of possibility
grateful that I can hear. One of the great joys of sailing
in paradise is to hear the sound of the waves on shore
and cries of sea birds in flight. The wind blows through
palm trees and coconuts thump on the beach as they fall to the
ground. Waves lap against the hull and gently rock me to
sleep in the soft silence of the tropics. I listen
to sails pulling in the breeze as I sail on the ocean of my
dreams. Hearing is awesome.
grateful to have a job. Some jobs are more interesting
than others. Climbing into a King Air 200 turboprop and
flying to work on the Indian Reservation is more than a job.
It's an adventure. I sit in the cockpit watching the
instruments as the altitude reaches 14,000 feet and the speed
hits 250 knots. Being a flying doctor rocks my
grateful when my plane lands safely on the runway. Flying
to work would be a disaster if we landed in a canyon. When
I land at Fort Apache, there is a gaping canyon at both ends of
the runway. Landing in the canyon is bad form and is to be
avoided. Landing on the runway is clearly superior to
landing in a canyon.
I am grateful that
I survived my trip though pirate alley on my sailing
voyage up the Red Sea. Not everyone was so lucky.
Two yachts passing though the same area engaged pirates in a gun
battle three days after we made our passage. Fighting with
pirates is not in my skill set, and I am thankful that the
pirates left us alone.
I am grateful that
I sailed safely around the world in an eleven year voyage on my
catamaran Exit Only. We had a few lumps and bumps along
the way, but we survived. It was an excellent family
I am grateful to the physical therapists who taught me to walk
once again. After a car accident in which I broke two
legs, I required six months of physical therapy to get back on
my feet. My right knee would not bend and taking even
small steps was a major ordeal. Hard working physical
therapists made a major difference in my life.
grateful to the blood donors who saved my life. After a
car accident I received seven units of blood because I had
internal bleeding. Without out those blood donors I would
not be here today, and the
Positive Thinking Network and the
Christian Thinking Network would never have happened.
Because of blood donors, my message of hope goes around
I am grateful to orthopedic surgeons who rebuilt my broken life.
They put metal in two of my legs and cared for my broken ribs
and fractured shoulder blade. Because of them I can walk,
skip, run, jump rope, and go up and down the stairs. They
gave me my life back and made it possible to continue my sailing
voyage around the world. Totally awesome.
I am grateful to the nurses who cared for me when I had a broken
body. The ICU nurses labored for nine days to keep me
alive, and I can't even remember my time in the ICU. Ward
nurses worked around the clock keeping me comfortable and
administering the treatments ordered by my doctors.
Because they did their job so well, I maintained a positive
attitude while I was in the hospital.
grateful to cricket players and to the eternally long game of
cricket. I didn't know anything about cricket until I was
hospitalized for two months in New Zealand. Cricket came
to my rescue during the long nights in the hospital. Being
in the hospital is easier in the daylight hours.
Bright light streams through windows as visitors and staff pop
in and out of the room. Nights are dark, gloomy, and
stretch on for hours with no end in sight. During my
hospital stay, the Cricket World Cup started at midnight and
continued to three or four o'clock in the morning.
Although I didn't know anything about cricket, I quickly learned the rules as I watched during those long night hours. Cricket
taught me an important lesson. Small things can have big
Even a simple game of cricket can get people through their hard
times. You never know when you are making a
difference in someone's life.
I am grateful for my
wife. How many wives would hop on a thirty-nine foot
sailboat for an eleven year sailing voyage around the world?
How many wives would be willing to camp for two to three months
a year in the deserts of Arabia and Australia? How many
wives would allow their husband to create more than 100 positive
thinking websites after they came home from work? How many
wives would accompany their husband down into the Grand Canyon
two weeks a year to treat Native American patients? How
many wives don't use drugs or alcohol? How many wives
stick by your side when you have been run over by the Mac Truck
of Life? My wife does all those things and more. I am grateful
for my wife.
I am grateful for my children. Sometimes they seem like
prickly cactuses, but usually they are more like fragrant
flowers. My children taught me much about God. Until
I had children, I never understood a father's love. I did
not know that a father would do nearly anything to see that his
children receive love and that good things happen in their
lives. I have invested more time, money, and effort in my
children than in anything else in my life.
In return, I now understand more completely how God loves and
cares for me. God is my Heavenly Father, and God doesn't
hold anything back if it is good for me. God is in it with
me for the long haul, and His love and help never fails.
Jesus said that even as an earthly father loves his own
children, our Heavenly Father loves us even more and wants good
things to happen in our lives. If we get out of the way
and suspend our disbelief, He will work miracles in our lives.
And to top it all off, God gave me two great children to teach
me those lessons. I am a lucky man.
grateful that I survived the global tsunami.
My catamaran, Exit Only, was in Thailand at the time of the
tsunami. We pulled up our anchor and sailed out of the bay
just minutes before the tsunami struck with horrific force and
devastating results. About an hour after the tsunami, we
sailed back into Nai Harn Bay and surveyed the destruction.
If we had been on the beach or in our dingy close to shore when
the giant wave struck, we would have been killed.
Fortunately we were in deep water beyond the reach of the
tsunamis destructive grip. That was too close for comfort.
I am grateful we are still alive.
I am grateful for each new sunrise. It means God has given
me one more day to live my dreams. I made it safely
through the night, and today there is no limit to how good my
life can become.
I am grateful for each sunset. I have been sailing
all day on the ocean of God's love, and the God who cared for me
during the day will sail with me into the night. I made it
through another day and lived God's dream for my
I am grateful for my sailing dreams. For more than ten
years I had Bora Bora on my mind. Putting my anchor down
in French Polynesia was a major life goal. I wanted to
swim in turquoise waters and feel the trade winds blowing on my
face. I wanted to hike to giant waterfalls in the Nuku
Hiva jungle. I wanted to bask on the beach in the Isle of
Pines. I sailed on the ocean of my dreams, and there was
no limit to how good my life could become.
I am grateful for flowers because they remind me that God
created a beautiful world. God doesn't do ugly.
Beauty is God's fingerprint. Every time I see something beautiful,
I know that God cares about his world.
I am grateful for rainbows because they mean the storm is over
and better weather is on the way. I've been through
hundreds of squalls and more than a few gales sailing offshore.
It's never fun to be in a storm at sea. At the same time,
it's always a joy to see a rainbow; it means there is hope, and
better things are on the way.
I am grateful for my websites. They allow me to send a
message of hope around the world in a cost effective way.
For a few thousand dollars a year, I can publish my books and
thoughts on the world wide web. I can also use color
graphics that would be prohibitively expensive if I published the
same material on glossy paper with four color printing.
There aren't any distributing or printing costs to complicate my
life when I publish on the web. I can reach my arms around the world with more than
140 websites found in the
Positive Thinking Network and the
Christian Thinking Network.
I am grateful for helicopters. They are an awesome way to
see the Grand Canyon. Twice a year I spend a week in the
Grand Canyon examining the eyes of Native Americans who live
there. I have a choice. I can make an eight mile
hike to the village at the bottom of the canyon, or I can take
an eight minute flight in a helicopter and enjoy spectacular
views during the trip. I choose the flight because I have
to carry supplies with me for my week in the canyon. The
other option is to ride a horse, but to do that I would have to
learn how to ride. Such is my dilemma. If you have
to have problems, that's the type of problems you want to have.
grateful that I have two Land Rover Defenders kitted out and
ready for a driving trip around the world. I have the
Defenders parked in Australia and New Zealand ready for the
trip. It's never over in a Rover.
I am grateful I had the opportunity to become an eye surgeon.
For more than thirty-five years I have helped protect and
restore vision in curably blind patients around the world.
Now I am focusing on inner vision as I teach people to look at
the world through eyes of possibility and love.
I am grateful that
I live in a place and time where I am free. I have the
personal freedom to live my life as I please. I don't need
to ask the king, the sheriff of Nottingham, the local warlord,
or the dictator of the decade for permission to live my dreams.
grateful for the opportunity to sail on God's Ocean of Love.
His love knocks the wind out of my sin sails. God's love
points me in the right direction and gives me the power to make
MAINTAIN A POSITIVE ATTITUDE WITH POSITIVE
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