By Teresa Morrow
In his book, The Difference Maker, John C. Maxwell offers tips and tools for not only living differently but questioning our attitude toward life.
He challenges the reader to discover a new way to define ourselves in this world. He shares that “much of what we do every day comes from habitual behaviors. Over the course of time, we have developed a way of approaching life”. This book is described as “one-on-one coaching” from one of the nation’s top leadership experts, John C. Maxwell.
Here are just a few segments in the book that struck me (there are many):
Your Attitude is Your Responsibility
Maxwell is talking about taking responsibility for your attitude. He shares a story from the singer Roberta Flack and how her parents didn’t make it far in school. She continues to say that despite this, each of them was literate, spoke well, and their values were high. She says, “they drummed into our heads that the situation you live in doesn’t have to live in you.”
Teresa’s Tip: Don’t allow what happened to you in your past define who you are today. Those things in our past can be like a weight dragging us down; however, we have a CHOICE to let go of the weight.
Negative Breeds Negative and Positive Fuels Positive
Maxwell offers a simple but poignant idea. Negative thoughts leads to negative action. He says, “…negative thoughts lead to negative beliefs. Those beliefs become the basis of wrong decisions, which lead to wrong actions.” He goes on to state that it can be a vicious cycle. However, we can break the cycle by forming better thoughts and positive habits.
Teresa’s Tip: This is the basis of law of attraction– what you put out, you get back to you. It doesn’t mean you will never have a bad thought or not do something wrong. However, this can help you understand that you can change your thoughts and not allow them to linger on. You can turn around a bad thought or belief and make it a positive one.
Change; it’s a Part of Life
Maxwell shares tons of great information in this section on change. He offers this quote from Andy Warhol, “they always say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – Andy Warhol
Maxwell adds five reasons people resist change: 1) People resist change because of personal loss 2) people resist change because of fear of the unknown 3) people resist change because the timing could be wrong 4) people resist change because is feels awkward 5) people resist change because of tradition.
Teresa’s Tip: He’s right about change—we don’t enjoy it. But what if we (and I include myself in here) don’t fear it but embrace it more. Let’s try and see change as an adventure to new possibilities. I’ve embraced change in my life (when I met the love of my life) and it was a great experience (we have been married for 10 years!) But I’ve also been resistant to change (recently my mom passed away and it is hard to live without her physically in my life). But one thing is true about change—it is going to be a part of our life whether we like it or not. It’s better to find a way to work with it instead of pushing against it.
Failure is an Opportunity
Near the end of the book, Maxwell shares his thoughts on failure. He offers this, “most people don’t need to learn more about how to overcome their rivals. They need to learn how to get out of their own way.”
He goes on to talk about how to profit from failure. He talks about an earlier book he wrote, titled, Failing Forward. The focus of that book was “that the difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.”
Teresa’s Tip: Hey, it’s going to happen–you and I are going to not succeed at something. But I like the last line of the above statementÂ .”their perception of and response to failure.” Again you and I have a CHOICE in how we deal with what happens to us…including when we fail. We can have our time to react initially—be angry, be sad, be disappointed; however, we don’t have to dwell in the failure but use it to fuel us for the next stage of what is going on in our life.
In this book, The Difference Maker, the author John C. Maxwell challenges us with the question, “Is attitude everything or nothing?” What do you say?
To get your copy of The Difference Maker by John C Maxwell go to Amazon The Difference Maker: Making Your Attitude Your Greatest Asset (Affiliate link)