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Attitude is a Decision

By Denis Korn                                                                                                                                 

Yes – attitude is everything.  So what does this mean, especially during an emergency, disaster, or catastrophic event?

After 40 years of educating, supplying, and encouraging folks for emergency preparedness, I am convinced and truly believe that the most important element in emergency and disaster preparedness is one’s attitude.

I am also aware that in our society where personal responsibility and owning one’s choices is not the essential value it should be, choosing an appropriate attitude is exceedingly difficult.  It is even more difficult during a situation where you are gripped with stress, anxiety, and fear.

One’s attitude during trying times sets the context or foundation for all the actions taken – or not taken.  Attitude often determines whether your actions and intentions will succeed or fail.  Attitude can often be the difference between life or death – hope or despair – calm or chaos – order or confusion – love or hate – selflessness or selfishness.  Your attitude is your state of mind – your thoughts, and to be able to control and choose how you are going to think and behave in challenging times requires great discipline and focus.  It requires a positive and confident outlook and inlook – a constant awareness of the consequences and results of the attitude you embrace. The benefits of a constructive and encouraging attitude should be self-evident, as are the realities of the struggle in persevering during difficult trials.

The development of a proper and victorious attitude requires determination, strength of will, and constant attention.  If you are with those who also understand the importance of attitude, mutually support each other continually.  For believers earnest prayer is essential.

To encourage you in understanding the value and the importance of developing the right attitude during overwhelming circumstances, I recommend one of the great and influential books written in the 20th century.  I use it in my philosophy classes as required reading, and the response from students is significant.  The book is titled Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl.  He was a doctor who survived four concentration camps during the Holocaust.  While there are many books written on the importance of a positive attitude, Frankl’s experiences and the conditions he endured give him an extraordinary perspective.   His insights on attitude during the worst of circumstances is invaluable.

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

“Frankl’s wisdom here is worth emphasizing: it is a question of the attitude one takes toward life’s challenges and opportunities, both large and small.  A positive attitude enables a person to endure suffering and disappointment as well as enhance enjoyment and satisfaction.  A negative attitude intensifies pain and deepens disappointments…”     William Winslade in the Afterword to Man’s Search for Meaning (2006 printing)

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