Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Attitude and Effort: The Two Things We Control

There are many life lessons I have learned through playing and coaching sports. 

There is one lesson I share with students, teachers, and/or people in my life almost daily. 

This is the lesson: 

When it comes to our part in life (sports, situations, practices, classrooms, etc...), there are only two things we can control:

Attitude and Effort

I've written once before about learning to "control what we can control, and letting other things go." 

It can be difficult to recognize those things that we DO have control over and the things that we do not have control over.

I believe that effective leaders, whether they are leaders in a school or classroom or world leaders, recognize the two things that they can control, and they try to have a positive attitude and give maximum effort to whatever challenges they encounter. 

Attitude and effort

Here are some ways to have a positive attitude:

1. Believe in yourself first. Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady believed in his ability to teach Eliza "proper English" with an upper class accent. "I CAN is 100 times more important than IQ." -Max Lucado
2. Be Intentional. When your actions are purposeful and not aimless, you don't waste time and energy. You are rejuvenated by purposeful work, and your attitude will improve as a result.
3. Practice healthy habits. Make healthy food choices: limit sugar and processed foods and increase vegetable intake. Exercise several times a week. Set aside quiet time for reflection. Drink lots of water.
4.  Have an "attitude of gratitude." Be thankful of others and their gifts that they share with you and/or the world. 
Winston Churchill quote

Here are some ideas to improve effort:

1. Prioritize your work. Use a quadrant like the one created by Steven R. Covey to evaluate your work priorities. Give the most effort to the most important tasks. (See quadrant here: Work smart.
2.  Do what successful people do. In your organization, identify who the high performers are. Learn from them, and do what they do. 
3. Create a successful team. As a leader, spend time/effort planning, dreaming, planning, training, and developing your team. The amount of effort that a leader gives will have a direct impact on the effectiveness of the team.
4.   Focus on the process not the outcome. Gardeners know that they can't control WHAT or HOW MUCH grows, but they increase their chances by taking care of the watering, soil preparation, nutrition, and weeding of their plants. Focus on the process.

What other ideas would you add to the lists?

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Attitude and effort


  1. I need to read this today. :) Isn't it funny how even though you wrote this years ago it's still spot on.

    1. I'm so glad this landed with you, Debbie! This is a message that has no expiration date, and it finds its way to those who receive it when they need it. :-)

  2. i love this article and im only a teen!