The other day, I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes, a quote by Charles Swindoll that says: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
Think about how this quote applies to your life. Think about any time you have been stressed, or upset about a certain situation that you thought you couldn’t control. Personally, I think about the other day when it was pouring rain and I was stuck in traffic, knowing I was going to be late for work. I knew I couldn’t change the situation, but still my heart was beating fast and I became more and more frustrated at every red light.
I was in fact late for work, but it really wasn’t a big deal. My employer understood because the city goes haywire anytime it rains, making cars one of the least reliable modes of transportation. But none of that matters; what matters is how I responded to the situation I perceived as stressful. After getting to work, I wished I could take back all of the stress I felt in that car ride. Since my lateness ended up being no big deal, I had stressed out for no reason!
But what if my lateness WAS a big deal? Would my stressing have changed that?
What if I missed something important or (worse case scenario) what if I got fired? You see, the quote remains true: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” If the worse case scenario happens and you can still maintain a positive attitude and look at the bright side (because there IS always a bright side), think about what benefits that has on you mentally, physically, and spiritually.
I think we often get stressed about the littlest things, and rarely look back on them and say “wow, that really wasn’t a big deal.” As someone who finds myself stressing about trivial things from the past, present, and future, it’s extremely therapeutic for me to ask myself 3 questions any time my mind wants to worry:
- Am I still breathing?
- Is my heart still beating?
- Is the ground under my feet?
Yes to all 3? Then I’m okay.
If you ever find yourself in a stressful situation or something “unlucky” happens to you, remember that your attitude puts you in complete control over the situation. If you have a negative attitude, the situation will be negative. If you admit that you’re truly okay in this moment, the situation will not be so bad. You might even be content.
“The longer I love, 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 successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness 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 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. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.”