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Thursday, March 7, 2013

"Attitude is Everything"

I'm going to avoid technology, politics, and economics in my blog for a while. It's Lent, after all.

As my former employer Nortel went from 100,000 employees to nearly zero over a 12-year period, the phenomenon of the "goodbye email" emerged. Some were funny, some were heartfelt, and a few were bitter. A fellow who had been my boss for six years ended his upbeat goodbye email with the phrase "Attitude is everything."

Don't take his aphorism too literally, but I agree with it. Yesterday I ran into a long-time acquaintance, senior to me in age and wisdom. I asked her how things were going, and she replied simply and definitively: "Great." No equivocation, no bad-with-the-good despite facing day-to-day difficulties of her own. I thanked her for a beautifully simple and, in her case, totally honest answer to a question that often perplexes people.

In the context of the world at large, things are not going great. Jeffrey Sachs said this week, "It does seem very strange that in this world of incredible wealth and technology, you have people dying of hunger, lack of safe water and medicine... it's nuts." He is correct. Those of us for whom life is Great -- thereby making it easy to have a positive attitude -- have the privilege and responsibility of addressing the needs of those who cannot make such an unconditional statement, until someday they can. My Bishop calls that the dream of God for humanity.