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A Case for Platitudes on Attitude - Thoughts and Stuff

A Case for Platitudes on Attitude


Your attitude, not your aptitude, determines your altitude. Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Attitude this, attitude that. You’ve probably heard attitude quotes countless times from countless people.

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I have heard them too, especially after I was old enough to understand what an attitude was. My high school principal was the ultimate crusader for positive attitude . She even read to us the entire Who Moved My Cheese? during parade, a chapter at a time, for a whole term. Cliché or not, all these attitude parables and quotes are as true as it gets. Just because something is a cliché, a platitude, it does not mean it is false.

My thoughts on attitude reached an all-time high last Sunday. I woke up bent on making it to church early, so much so that I could not let anything or anyone get in my way. We rarely get to church early. Somehow, I have come to learn that seven people of different ages and temperaments cannot get ready for church in time together. Anyway, just when I was about to leave, it began to rain. Oh no! Rain on a Sunday, in my Sunday best against all the mud that characterizes my village during this time. It looked like I was going to have to wait for the whole family to get ready so as to get a ride to church. Otherwise I was going to have to wade through puddles of rainwater to get to the bus stop.

To cut the long story short, I did not wait. I was not going to get late. Umbrella over me, I walked to the bus stop. Here I am feeling all achieved and out of nowhere a matatu splashes brown dirty water all over my clothes, my Sunday best. Wow. All I could do was laugh; laugh so hard that the other three people standing beside me were clearly wondering what was up with me. Just as I was recovering from the newfound wetness with uncontrollable giggles, another charged matatu showered me with a murky splash.

Why was I laughing? Clearly everyone else at the bus stop was not sharing in the emotion. The normal Caroline would not have laughed. Far from it, I would have endlessly complained; gone on and on about how matatu drivers are the worst on the roads. I would even have decided that now that I was soaked, my day was going to be horrible. But I didn’t. I laughed it off and waited for the bus. Eventually, I arrived at church, slightly dirty but early. And the day went on.

Later I realized that the difference between normal Caroline and the one I was last Sunday morning was attitude. No matter how farfetched it sounds, it’s the truth. Whatever it is that drove me to that bus stop, I had a positive attitude. Now this is a simple example of what attitude can do, it can make a big difference in a day.

Jesus was a crusader of positive attitude too. Remember the beatitudes? Some people have even suggested that the word beatitude is a combination of ‘be’ and ‘attitude’, the be-attitudes.

In that high altitude on the mountainside, Jesus taught a multitude to “rejoice and be glad” no matter the circumstances. The message he spoke from the first “Blessed are” to the last was humility, gratitude, peacekeeping, modesty and joy.

If I always expect mum to come home from work and scold me for not having done something, she will do exactly that. My negative attitude will find a way to ensure I don’t do it. A positive attitude makes it easier for me to be around people.

Platitudes or not, Jesus’ parables on attitude will get you to the altitude you desire. Zig Ziglar and all the other famous people were also right with their attitude quotes. The right attitude will keep solitude away too. Multitudes will want to know the secret; except there is none. It’s attitude; not just any attitude, but a positive attitude.

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