I'm one of the truly fortunate people. I actually love what I do for a living - working with the land, cattle and horses. Our family is healthy. I even have a hard time identifying with a lot of people who have had monumental obstacles - my parents and my wife's parents are happily married and have always been there for us.
I would guess on just about any blessing scale one could concoct, I'd be in the upper 1% of fortunate people in the world, probably even higher. With that said, I should be overflowing with gratefulness, sporting a smile that stretches from one end of the room to the next. But it isn't always like that.
The drought has a way of wearing a person down. The truck's transmission goes out. The hard drive on my laptop crashes for the second time in 8 months. Or the gate comes open on the sorted cows. Life throws challenges at you that can send you to the house at the end of the day with a foul attitude, and I've been known to take it out on family, friends, our interns, even the dog.
No one's ever accused me of being a quick study, but there are some absolute truths I've stumbled onto in my life. Few of them would be more important than the one that essentially says you and you alone are the one who chooses your own attitude.
Every motivational speaker makes that case in one way or another - it isn't the circumstances that matter but how you respond to them. The following quotes are ones I routinely reference to keep my perception in line and my attitude positive: "A pessimist is someone who complains about the noise when opportunity knocks." - Michael Levine
"The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind." - William James Compare what you want with what you have, and you'll be unhappy. Compare what you deserve with what you have, and you'll be happy." - Evan Esar "Optimism is an intellectual choice." - Diana Schneider
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." Phillipians 4:13 If we are honest with ourselves, things are probably better than they seem. -- Troy Marshall