It’s All About Attitude

I took this photograph from the passenger window of a Cessna 172. What you see in the cleft between the mountains is not clouds. Rather, it’s smoke from the ongoing Pioneer Fire that’s responsible for burning more than 150,000 acres in southwest Idaho.

Outbound flight from Boise to McCall

Outbound flight from Boise to McCall

When I was in the corporate world I designed and delivered a workshop titled “It’s All About Attitude.” So imagine my surprise on a return flight from breakfast in McCall when we hit turbulence—like a zealous toddler with a balsa-wood airplane—and Len said:

“It’s okay Laurie. I’m going to make a change in attitude, not altitude.”

Len didn’t mean his emotional attitude. When hit by choppy air, if the pilot tries to maintain altitude (the higher/lower aspect), the plane can suffer damage.

If, however, the pilot keeps the attitude of the plane straight and level, you’ll keep flying, get through it, and the plane will remain in tact.

From my perspective, that’s a great analogy for life. Sometimes we encounter turbulence on the journey. When that happens—and it will—it’s important to keep a straight and level attitude. If we do, we’ll keep going, get through it, and remain in tact.

When was your last patch of turbulence?


63 thoughts on “It’s All About Attitude

  1. This is perfect timing for my present plight trying to renew my Spanish passport at the Consulate in London. I’ve been trying since the 5th September, I even went there myself yesterday and nobody would help, saying I have to apply for an appointment online, but the first available date is 17th January (passport expires on 1st Oct). They refused to let me speak to anyone in charge or even give me an appointment before end of October, when we are travelling in motorhome again. In desperation, I am going to Spain at the weekend, where I believe I can do it a lot quicker. Talk about frustration or hitting your head against the wall: Pure madness!!! GRRRRRR. I hope I won’t get any further turbulence. Watch this space…

  2. Well, Fátima, I’m in Barcelona and my ID card (DNI) is due to expire in a few days. After much coming and going with the consulate in London about getting the certificate of residence (that they couldn’t give me but eventually sent me anyway), when I got here I couldn’t get an appointment until November. I guess not having a government hasn’t helped. Laurie… I think my biggest patch of turbulence (I’ve had a few minor ones like that one of the paperwork, a broken tooth, people continually changing their minds about jobs) recently was my mother’s heart attack in June. Thankfully she is better now, but having to go through it alone was testing and has made me think (as I lost my father over a year ago).

  3. It’s not always easy to keep a keep a straight and level attitude through turbulence but it is a good idea to try. I will keep that in mind the next time I encounter turbulence. Thanks!

  4. I’ve found the current political turbulence very upsetting (won’t go into any details here). Finally, I came to my senses. I’m not abdicating nor am I fighting headwinds that break my heart. I’m flying level and straight making a difference where I can and avoiding unnecessary turbulence. Remembering too to keep a healthy attitude about it all (positive mental attractors). And, I find an increased dose of meditation helps me keep a steady attitude!

    • Audrey — You’ve found the “sweet spot” in the current political situation: “…making a difference where I can and avoiding unnecessary turbulence.” Amen for meditation; I’d be a whirling dervish without it 🙂

  5. You’re witnessing my last change in attitude. It’s happening as I type. You see, I’ve been rather negative on my blog, lately–not the entire post, just the bottom half–the section I titled ‘My Author Journey’. This isn’t going right and this disappointed me–on and on like that. But after returning to your cheerful blog, Laurie, I’m having a change of attitude. Readers have enough stress in their lives. They don’t need mine, too. So from my now, my goal is to change my attitude and try to see everything in a positive light. What every you focus on grows. If you focus on positivity your life will become more positive. : )

    • Leanne — It’s been said, “What you think about you bring about.” In light of that, you’ve got a fantastic plan. Shifting gears to positivity will be a magnet for even more. My hat is off to YOU 🙂

  6. I’m ready to board a plane tomorrow, so I’ll be thinking of both altitude and attitude in a slightly new way because of this post. Thanks, Laurie. I am discovering that even in an oasis or a monastery, turbulence can arise. My greatest turbulence right now is between action and contemplation. I want so much of both, and I can tilt so easily to the action side.

    • Shirley — I think we’re cut from a similar bolt of cloth. My bent it toward “action” as well (even when none is necessary). I’m looking forward to what I’ll learn as a result of your writing sojourn in a monastery.

      Safe flight to you 🙂

  7. Laurie, I have never seen this word applied to aeronautics, so I thank you for that tidbit. Students who came by my office saw a quote about attitude: “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.” ~ Chuck Swindoll

    As you know, we have recently gone through the turbulence of moving. It feels good to find some balance after the up and down drafts of this experience, I tell you truly. Lovely post, great comments.

    • Marian — I resonate with Chuck Swindoll’s quote. And yes, a move is one of those life events that tends to generate MORE turbulence than LESS. I’m glad you’re settling into your new digs 🙂

  8. So enjoyed reading all the comments and you great post, increasing my definition of Attitude. Thank you My recent turbulence is a muscle spasm in my left leg which radiates down to my ankle and up to my hip – all night long, denying sleep. 16 days now….I am tired – attitude not so nice right now…..I am hoping the Chiropractor and Acupuncturist will return some balance today?
    Isn’t that smoke amazing…oh these fires

    • Patricia — Here’s something to try for those spasms, and you have nothing to lose. Slip a new bar of Unscented bar soap beneath the fitted sheet in the leg area. Just give it a whirl and report back after a night or two. I’ll be curious…

      • Laurie, It took 2 days but I did find unscented soap and tucked it between the fitted sheet and the mattress. I slept with no screaming moment of pain to wake me up and the muscle spasms were much milder. Then 4 nights of the same milder, non-sleep interrupting spasms – so there was improvement. I then had a deluxe pedicure with a great massage and the calf muscle cramp went away for 9 hours and I have not taken any pain meds for 7 nights now. The bursitis in the hip joint is fairly unchanged. Thank you so much for the soapy suggestions…hoping you are enjoying you trip. My life and turbulence is improved 🙂

  9. I’m hurtling through a very physically painful turbulent time right now! Keeping a calm level attitude is major problem and I’m not doing so good most of the time. But trying to cultivate a positive can do, will be OK and this is not the end of the world even if it does feel like it sometimes😔 Or very good at it but trying hard to improve and ride the storm in the face of adversary!🙄

  10. It’s so interesting to see the smoke from above! It’s beautiful from up there, and yet we know how destructive it is. (There’s probably a pretty good analogy in that, too!) Than you for providing a new perspective not he word “attitude” and I think that will stick with me. I am very grateful that right now there aren’t any large upheavals in my life, but we know there’s always something around the corner that can throw us off if we aren’t feeling steady and alert. Next time, I’ll think of you and Len in that plane! 🙂

    • Debra — It was, indeed, beautiful to see. I can’t imagine, however, being a “smoke jumper” (male and female firefighters who parachute into smoke covered areas). If I were one, I think it would start looking pretty scary. I’m so grateful for people who risk life and limb to keep the rest of us safe.

      I’m glad you don’t have any turbulence. Here’s to continued smooth flying for a long time to come. Cheers!

  11. I suppose the minute we step out of bed in a morning we risk a little turbulence . If myself or my loved ones have something a little difficult to do , something that in our mind could cause turbulence , I just tell them , or myself , to imagine the next day when everything is calm again . Imagine the colours , the smells and what the next day feels like . Hopeful turbulence free .🤔🙄😊

  12. Laurie, can’t help but laugh! When we were flying with you and Len and we hit that turbulent area over Nampa, I felt that my attitude was fine, it was my stomach that was off the charts! Last patch of turbulence encountered was resolved this evening when our cable and internet service was restored after 3 days without. Because of a clerical error made by one their representatives we have been in techno-limbo for days. I, with my lack of patience, was all for storming the Castle with torches, rakes, scythes, and other implements of destruction. Dennis, who after 30+ years of teaching has the patience of a saint, was quietly and calmly waiting for it to be resolved – until this afternoon when he told customer service he would discontinue service in the morning if things were not rectified by tonight. All better now!

    • Sandi — I love it, “…torches, rakes, scythes, and other implements of destruction.”

      This turbulence was something else again. I speed-dialed God and then literally sat on my hands so I wouldn’t accidentally grab the yoke 🙂

      • Honey, I feel for you! I wasn’t feeling too Mary Poppins-like either when we had that rough day…I was ready to grab anything umbrella, yoke, whatever!

  13. That’s a wonderful lesson, Laurie! I am just out of turbulence and it feels great to sail in smooth air. And I notice a much greater appreciation for the smooth ride 🙂

  14. I went through a bad ‘turbulence’ when my daughter’s life was in danger. There was nothing I could do, so I just did what she expected me to do at the moment: I took care of two eldest grandchildren and carried on our daily routine. I didn’t have a luxury to cry much. Don’t we just have to focus on the things that are in our control, and carry on?

  15. Reminds me of pulling a travel trailer in crosswinds. The tendency is to correct for the swaying of the trailer. My arms got so-o-o tired and I was so-o-o tense after my first high crosswind experience. After several different occasions of pulling a trailer in high winds, I realize if I simply keep the car going straight, the trailer MUST follow behind me, no matter how much it tries to go sideways.

    Keep heading in the direction you need to go (in life) and don’t overcorrect for every little gust of wind that knocks you sideways and tries to get you to deviate from your goal.


  16. Great post and as you said there are always patches of turbulence coming at us in life. Last week I was slammed by a few different things with a troubled teenage boy neighbor on our property but decided my attitude would remain calm and straightforward rather than the quick emotional “altitude” change I normally take. Less stress on the mind and body and I made it through getting my point across without the turbulence and remained on friendly terms with his parents!

  17. Great life lesson, Laurie and I’m going to have to run it over in my head a few times to make it sink in. I spent a few hours in the sun this morning and “gone troppo!” I think that’s a phrase they use in Queensland..especially further North but I could be wrong.
    The last time I hit turbulence, was on Wednesday morning. Aside from a repetitive cough and the usual chesty things over Winter, I’ve been doing really well for the last 2.5 years, aside from a broken foot 1.5 years ago. Indeed, I’ve been doing so much better that I’ve dared to not only lift my chin off the tarmac, but I’m out there standing on the runway getting my bearings.
    That’s when I was hit by what must’ve been an invisible aircraft and my ankle flipped over and it was like I dropped out of the sky and smack on the concrete. I hurt all over but immediately identified that my ankle was sprained and my other knee was grazed but my jeans had survived.
    I looked all around for assistance but there was nobody. Great! So, I picked myself up and staggerd to buy the bread and drove home. It’s knocked me about a bit but I’m trying to see it as a minor sideswipe and not let it interfere with the main game…whatever it is. So, now I’m sitting on the tarmac watching the other planes fly and taking notes. When I finally take off, I’ll be flying like a concord.
    xx Rowena

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