Yesterday I gave you the first four attitudes that help to keep me on the growing edge: humility, positivity, expectancy, and generosity. Here are the final three, plus a personal story...
Perseverance – no matter how many times I fail, I try, try again. I used an old phrase with my kids hundreds of times as I raised them. I used it whenever they tried something and failed. When they would come to me and announce that something did not work, or that they had failed at something, I would say, “Try, try again!” It became somewhat of a joke between me and them. It’s no joke today. They know that failure is not the end, just a redirection of effort. They have succeeded in many things because they just keep trying. I grow when I look failure in the face and declare, “Try, try, again!” As a 200church pastor, my attitude of perseverance helps me look forward to the next Sunday!
Appreciation – I move toward those who are different from me, appreciating and learning from our differences. When I say attitude of appreciation, I mean for those who are different from me. Small people say, “I wouldn't do it that way!” Big people say, "I've never done it that way, I'll have to give it a try!" I want to appreciate people who are different from me, and who do things different from me. I also want to learn from them.
Excellence – Some days my best is not as good as other days, but I’ll do my best today. To have an attitude of excellence is to appreciate what God has given you to do today. It is to expect that you are going to be human, not superhuman; good, not perfect; giving your best, not someone else’s. Excellence is more about not giving up, always improving, and staying vertical. It’s not setting the world record, but maybe your personal best. Pursuing excellence won’t make you perfect, but it will keep you growing.
I can learn from anyone! I am in Rochester, NY on vacation this week. My heart was warmed and I felt right at home yesterday when I got yelled at by a Rochesterian. I pulled the wrong way into a gas station and got reamed out by the guy trying to exit. “What’s wrong with you! Why do you have to make my life miserable! You idiot!” he screamed. In what was likely the first time I’ve ever done this, I rolled down my window and yelled back, “Look at the IOWA license plate Pal and give me a break!”
He averted his gaze and I rolled up my window, thinking he might be giving me at least half a break, when even through the closed window I heard him shout, “What’s the matter, can’t they read in Iowa?!” I chuckled to myself as I pulled up to the pump. I can learn from this guy, I thought. I can be gracious and kind and prefer others better than myself. It’s more fun actually.
If I had it to do over again, I’d pull into the same exit, but this time just bump his fender a little, maybe his driver’s door so he couldn't get out. That would fix him! I’ll give him “miserable”! Think I wouldn't? I’ll keep you wondering… When in Rochester…
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