"Hellooo Aunty", I said, with exaggerated mirth, but I
was filled inside with suspense and tension. For the
past four days I couldn’t reach the landline or the cell phone.
All I could do was helplessly stare at the relentless stream
of pictures on TV, images of flood water inundating the entire
city of Chennai and causing unimaginable human misery.
With every snippet of news I grew more anxious.
My aunt’s voice at the other end was chirpy like a bird, in
complete contrast to my tension. Not only did her calmy
fears but her positive attitude in the face of hardship, actually
set me thinking for a long while after I hung up.
Some people have an indefatigable optimism that equips
them to face tough situations head-on. Some others specialise
in sucking the joy out of life by being pessimistic without
any rhyme or reason. With no electricity, no drinking water
supply and no newspaper, my uncle and aunt still talked
excitedly about how they marshalled their resources and a
memorable time of neighbourhood camaraderie. It reminded
me of the legendary Thomas Alva Edison, whose laboratory
was up in flames, his entire life’s effort destroyed. While
the smoke was billowing out, Edison was delirious with
excitement pointing out the beautiful pyrotechnic display
to his friends saying that they may never get to watch a
burning lab in their lives.It was undoubtedly this positive
attitude that helped him rebuild and reach greater heights in
his research as the most prolific inventor in history.
It is plain common sense that a negative attitude actually
makes life more difficult. We know this truth so well and
yet we try so hard to trudge up the mountain with loads of
unnecessary baggage packed with gloomy negative attitude.
All we need to do is to examine the trends of our own
thoughts. Clearly there are some thoughts that weigh us down and others that lend us wings. We need to shed the damaging
burdens from our lives and grab the wings of positive
thoughts that help us soar to the skies.
Victor Frankl is a classic illustration. His life is one loaded
with meaning just like his book, Man’s Search for Meaning.
As a popular psychiatrist in Vienna, Austria, he diverted
thousands of people from the path of suicide. His entire
approach revolved around influencing their inner attitude.
“When we are no longer able to change the situation”, he
said, “the challenge is that we need to change ourselves”.
Unexpectedly he was imprisoned and was hurled into the
deadliest Nazi concentration camps. He saw this as an
extreme opportunity to practise his psychology of success.
Through the worst torture imaginable, Victor maintained an
incredibly positive attitude. “Everything can be taken from
man”, he said, “except for one thing, the last of human
freedoms, the ability to choose our attitude…”
Victor’s life forces us to think deeply. How easily we become
prisoners of circumstances and how predictably our mood
vacillates with the minor bumps on the road. How tamely
we surrender to stress and its debilitating demands on our
health and happiness.
Isn’t it time to re-look at our attitude? A little smile, a few
positive thoughts, a bit of attention to our dreams and
suddenly the clouds clear up to let in the sunshine. The
greatest positive thought that can transform our attitude -
the feeling that God, our loving, caring, friendly God is
firmly in control. Cheer up!
[The writer is a Leadership Trainer and Coach based in
Hyderabad, India. He can be reached at
A mother has a natural bond with a child but a father has to build one.