Lemons or Lemonade—What’s Your Recipe?

A lot has been written on the personal benefits of having a pleasant outlook on life—from being happier and healthier to even being wealthier. People with good attitudes seem to enjoy more blessings all the way around.

What, though, if you are a “realist” and lack the formula for turning lemons into lemonades? Create your own recipe! In this respect, life really is like lemonade—you must sweeten it to your taste to enjoy it.

Here are three helpful questions to ask yourself as you go about creating your personal recipe for a good attitude:

#1-Think of something you feel positive about. What elements of this situation please you?

#2 – How can you apply those elements to other situations, “mixing in” these ingredients, so to speak?

#3 – What do you believe that makes you feel your attitude puts you “in the right”?

That last question is all about focus. It’s easier to cook up a good attitude if you can discern the aspects of something to which you are giving the greatest share of your attention. Whatever they are—that is, whatever you choose to focus on—will be the ingredient that determines whether your recipe yields a positive or a negative attitude. And you can change that ingredient by shifting your focus.

For example, to say my father was a cynic with a bad attitude about much of life would be a gross understatement. He was a curmudgeon of the highest order. Nonetheless, Dad viewed artists in a wholly positive light. When he witnessed a great performance, whether by an Olympic ice skater or his favorite singer, his eyes welled with tears of admiration.

Dad believed (Question #3) that artists were outstanding, and he looked for proof that he was right. When he found it, it supported his good attitude. Greatness was his focus and therefore the main ingredient in this recipe.

On the other hand, Dad felt total disdain for the Veterans Administration. A frontline infantryman in WWII, he only had eyes to see where federal aid to veterans fell short. You can understand, then, how this exclusive focus on what he saw as mistreatment of veterans shaped Dad’s feelings about the VA.

What if Dad could have extended his admiration for great performance to the handling of veterans affairs (Question #2)? There are people who work with veterans who perform as brilliantly as the Olympic skater or as flawlessly as Frank Sinatra. They do great work every day, but they are not heralded in the media. You must focus and search for them.

My Dad focused on greatness when it came to artists and his recipe turned out to be delicious. He focused on mistreatment with regard to veterans and his recipe produced a bitter taste that stayed in his mouth until the day he died. In both cases, he was proving his beliefs to be right. In both cases, he was the cook.

Whether you develop a good attitude or a bad attitude all depends on what you add to your recipe—sweetener or bitters. By your choice of what to focus on to prove your beliefs correct, you determine whether you wind up with lemon juice or lemonade.

As long as you are the one stirring up the attitude with which you are going to drink down life, why not make it sweet to your tongue?

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