Win Today with Christopher Cook

Get Unstuck. Reclaim Your Purpose. Win Today.

The Most Powerful Key to Unlocking Your Potential

I hate heights. I always have. In fact, I get jittery thinking about standing on the edge of a tall building (my stomach just dropped because I thought about it). But there’s actually something quite beautiful and powerful you gain by gazing across a city landscape from high atop a mountain or skyscraper: advantage. In fact, the advantage of altitude allows you to see things others cannot see, understand things from a perspective others cannot understand, and operate on a level of proficiency and excellence others may never experience. Metaphorically-speaking, I believe there is one factor—one key—that unlocks the door to experience your fullest potential and determines the altitude of your life, and that’s attitude.

When the reins of life slip from your grip, your attitude is indeed one thing you definitely have total control over. And to that, the advantage of altitude is only available to those who strap their screaming emotions and unmet expectations in the backseat while driving over mediocrity on their way up the proverbial mountain of personal potential.

Will you join me on the journey?

That’s Not Mud

On Easter Sunday, I let my precious 12-year-old puppy outside to take care of her business before we had to go to dinner with the family. Because we were running a bit late, I was mostly concerned about getting her into my car so we could be on our way. What I failed to do in process was wipe off her paws before she leapt into my backseat. If you know anything about me, I’m meticulous about keeping my car clean.

Dang it. Mud on my seats. Or so I thought. About four seconds into our drive, I realized mud doesn’t smell like that.

Thanks to some stupid animal (probably a cat), my dog brought a little surprise into my ride. At that moment I only had one choice: windows down, attitude up.

Making the Choice Makes the Change

Our attitude, whether positive or negative, is a choice. You’ve heard me say this before, but it bears repeating: nothing can stop the person with a good attitude, but nothing can help the person with a bad attitude, other than an adjustment of attitude. Friend, we must learn how to take responsibility for our feelings and the expression thereof.

One of my favorite writers, Jon Acuff, echoes this principle: “Choose your attitude everyday until eventually it chooses you right back.” The point is that feelings are completely unreliable. I like to say that choosing our attitude ahead of time is like making an intentional emotional investment before inconvenience has the opportunity to displace it and ruin the day. The psalmist, in Psalm 118:24, did just that when he wrote, “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Attitude Expands or Constricts Your Vision

The person with a good attitude sees opportunity amidst trial. How much possibility and hope do you see in your future? Psalm 16:8 (AMP), one of my personal favorite verses, embodies this principle so well. In it, the psalmist wrote, “I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” And the only way to set the Lord before you is by living life forward by deliberately choosing to do so. What happens to your vision when you walk through life looking backwards through the lens of regret, cynicism, and defeat? You crash into a lot of obstacles.

No One Made You Mad

It’s true. Circumstances don’t make you mad. Circumstances pull “mad” out of you because you choose to react emotionally to a negative circumstance. Stay with me because there’s something deeper. See, everything in life stems from a fear response or a love response. It’s the case of two drivers stuck in the same morning traffic. One driver is on the verge of road rage and the other is at complete peace. What’s the difference? Certainly not the external circumstance. It’s the internal dialogue of each driver.

Practical Tips for You, Your Team, or Your Family

Often, we plan our course of action, but fail to plan our course of attitude. As such, emotional train wrecks are more likely to occur when experience falls short of expectation. So, how do you set yourself (or your team, staff, or family) up to win?

  • Formulate a plan to win, preparation to win, and an expectation to win, and then choose to maintain a winning attitude even if your expectation isn’t met.
  • Keep stock of your emotions.
  • Choose your attitude for the day before your feet hit the ground.
  • Don’t take things personally.
  • Forgive quickly, clean up the mess, and move on.

Is that list exhaustive? Certainly not, but it’s a great start. Make the choice to follow through and you’ll see the difference it makes!

As for my backseat, it’s perfectly clean again. And I still love my puppy.