“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms-to choose one’s own attitude  in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor Frankl

An illness left Helen Keller blind, deaf, and mute  at 21 months of age. Although she lived in a  world of silence and darkness, she became a voice of hope and a light. It wasn’t easy for her. She struggled in her mind to find a connection to others, a door to the world. When she did, she held the door for others, making it possible for many people to believe in themselves.

When Malcolm X was in prison from 1946-1952, he could have vegetated. Instead, he spent those years educating himself. He copied every word from the dictionary, learned about the Black Muslims, and became a convert. Upon his release from prison, he drew national attention for his writings and powerful speeches.

Joe Paterno, a coach of the Penn State University football team, once said after losing a game that losing was probably good for the team, since that was how they learned what they were doing wrong.

Today, “having an attitude” usually means a bad attitude (as in “He’s got an attitude!” or “Don’t give me any attitude!”). This article focuses on developing positive attitudes-as shown by the three examples you just read. Your attitude is your point of view, your outlook on life, your state or frame of mind. It determines the choices you make and how you feel about the people, things, and events around you .

If your attitude tells you “Algebra is boring,” that’s how it will seem to you, and you probably won’t do your best in that class. Similarly, raking leaves can either be torture or fun. Why not have fun? When you have positive attitudes, you can choose how to react to each situation you encounter. You can’t choose everything that happens to you, but you can choose what you think, feel, and do. This gives you enormous personal power-to control yourself from the inside out, to direct your own future.


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