Character and Attitude Does Matter

By Andre Bland

There are times when life just seems to spiral out of control. Due to circumstances at times, it seems as if there is absolutely nothing we can do to prevent the chaos. Who has experienced a car crash or maybe a pipe bursting in one’s house? Who’s had a family member die or had three tests and a ton of schoolwork all due around the same time? I’m sure most people can relate to the levels of stress that each event entails, and this stress meter skyrockets astronomically if we let it, especially when more than one seemingly bad thing is happening all at once. Like the old saying goes, “When it rains, it pours.” But I’d like to argue that there is a solution to the problem, it is maintaining the right attitude and solid character. I’m sure it sounds as if what I am presenting is very cliché. 

Bear with me though. Let’s reflect on one of my favorite movies, Pirates of the Caribbean. There is an iconic scene in the movie in which Johnny Depp playing Captain Jack Sparrow responds to another character with “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?” 

Consider a parable. A gardener decides to plant some flowers. In this flower garden five little leaves begin to sprout. Four begin to bloom early. One is black, one is red, and one is white. The last two are still a little leaf. The three flowers begin to pick on the two leafy sprouts. They tease them for being all green and for lack of beauty. One of them accepts the hurtful words and bitterly bottles up all its beauty until eventually it lashes out with hateful words back before being burnt up by the sun. The other one maintains inner peace knowing that one day it too will sprout. Even though the flowers said some mean things, the little leafy friend forgave them, and just focused on personal growth.

After a few weeks, the three flowers started to wrinkle and wither some due to age. Then the little leaf bloomed, royally fully clothed in the most elegant purple and pink petals! The three flowers represent the circumstances and people around us that may weigh us down. Many times others may shine brighter than us, they may achieve success before us, and they may even slight our own shortcomings while boasting of their greatness. But as does everything, the beauty will fade; change comes swiftly as the wind. The first leaf represents people that respond to the negative with negative. They let the circumstances get the best of them, and in doing so, they become drained, age quicker, and die. The last flower represents people that embrace the negative and positive, but do not let hurtful words pierce the heart, do not let circumstances bring them down. These people, when they wrestle through the storm, come out even more beautiful than before. They come out as kings and queens recognizing the inner beauty within them.

The fact of the matter is we are all beautiful inside. It’s just that some people don’t realize this. Maybe they’ve forgotten. Maybe they never knew. But life is a process of dropping all of the baggage that we’ve picked up through the years and not becoming something new, rather becoming what we always were! And this can only be done with a proper perspective and attitude. Character goes a long ways. Through troubled times, it doesn’t hurt to ask for help. We’re all in this together. One thing people should not do though is let the anger get the best of us. Keep the peace!

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