Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Attitude and Life

Magic of Thinking Big

David J. Schwatrz

Chapter 8 – Make Your Attitudes Your Allies

Outline

The author starts this chapter by suggesting you can read everyone’s mind simply by observing their behavior and learning their attitude. Further, “we read attitudes through expressions and voice tones and inflections.” (pg 133) These have long term implications, “for millions of years, men communicated with other men by body and facial expressions and sounds, not words.

Attitudes do make a difference.” (pg 133) He explains a whole lot of different people in different situations succeeding just by having a good attitude. He then suggests on page 134 three attitudes to grow:

  1. I’m activated
  2. You are important
  3. Service first

Activated

The author tells a story about a history class he had that was so boring because the professor was boring. He sums up by saying that the professor was not excited about history. He was not enjoying the subject. He concludes with, “To activate others, to get them to be enthusiastic, you must first be enthusiastic yourself.” (pg 134) He then makes a rather black and white statement that people who are enthusiastic never have unenthusiastic people in their midst. Results come in proportion to enthusiasm applied.” (pg 135) The author lists three steps to gain enthusiasm:

  1. “Dig into it deeper” – If you are not enthusiastic about something, it is probable because you don’t know much about it. Learn more and enthusiasm will occur.
  2. “In everything you do in life, Life it up.” (pg 137) – Work hard to put effort into being enthusiastic in everything. He mentions specifically your handshake, your smile, your ‘thank you’s’, and your talk.
  3. “Broadcast good news.” (pg 138) – It is pointless to pass on the bad, so you should only pass on the good.

You are important

The author starts this point by suggesting that every person wants to feel important. Successful advertisers know people crave prestige, distinction, recognition.” (pg 140), then the author makes the statement, “Satisfy the craving, the hunger to be important carries you forward to success. The author goes into detail to tell how if a person were in an accident or lost, no one would ask if the person is important enough to go find because everyone is important.

Of course the author then moves on to why you should make people feel important: “First, people do more for you when you make them feel important.” (pg 141) The second reason is “when you help others feel important, you help yourself feel important, too.” (pg 142) He explains that people do not naturally have a sense of importance and are thus average, as opposed to successful. He gives his three ways to develop this:

  1. “Practice appreciation” (pg 143) – Give praise liberally to all people for all things.
  2. “Practice calling people by their names.” (pg 144) – This increases sales, makes people feel important, etc.
  3. “Don’t hog glory, invest it instead.” (pg 144) – Always pass the praise for a job well done to the people below you who made it happen.

Service First

This section starts with a quote: “It’s perfectly natural – in fact it’s highly desirable – to want to make money and accumulate wealth.” (pg 146) Further, he says, “money is one of the means to living life fully.” (pg 147) The author quotes Russell Conwell about money printing the bibles, sending the missionaries, paying the pastors, etc.

The author explains that the problem why people don’t have money is the ‘money first’ attitude. The problem, according to the author, is “People with a money-first attitude become so money-conscious that they forget money can’t be harvested unless they plant the seeds that grow the money.” (pg 147) The solution placed forward is “the seed of money is service. That’s why ‘put-service-first’ is an attitude which creates wealth. The thing to do to put service first is to “always give people more than they expect to get.” (pg 150)

Christian Refutation

I first must cite him on his “millions of years” comment…prove it, buddy. The only thing constant in the theory of evolution has been evolution itself; it started with Darwinian evolution and for those not familiar with the field, has been through a series of over five different theories to attempt to explain details that fail miserably to fit any model well. Evolution is not even a theory because a theory in science is defined as a hypothesis which has been tested through a series of reproducible experiments without yielding any evidence of a contradiction (i.e. gravity, thermodynamics, substrate-enzyme reactions, etc.) On a recent creation evolution debate, the evolution people pulled out Genesis chapter 1 and chapter 2 as contradicting each other due to a difference in creation order. This is not a contradiction, Chapter 1 is the order, and chapter 2 is the focus on the creation and responsibilities of God’s greatest creation: Mankind.

The author is correct to a degree that attitude is important, he is incorrect in as much as it is the most important. I teach Sunday school to 3rd graders; no matter how excited and enthusiastic I am, some kids will simply not pay attention the whole time just because I am excited…if you want to argue that with “they are kids”, my college students in freshman chemistry were not any different. My enthusiasm did not spread like the plague through the class causing everyone to get good grades and success. Some that had great attitudes couldn’t get it. In organic chemistry in college, most of us had great attitudes about the subject. Some of the class worked for hours to get a C, I barely worked at all and got a B. Some people have natural gifts and talents and no amount of attitude will help the situation.

As for trying to instill enthusiasm into every part of your life, I would like to defer to Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

1There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven--
2A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
3A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
5A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
6A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
8A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.

There is a time for being enthusiastic, and there is a time for not being so. The culmination of this book has undoubtedly led people to try to be over enthusiastic in every situation. This is lying because you are denying true feelings that you have. We are commanded to cast off ALL of this behavior, even if the intent is to do good.

This same above argument goes for bad news. Let us discern a few things here:

Gossip – This is spreading rumors, inappropriate, or uncalled for things about other people. This is forbidden by scripture: Leviticus 19:16, Proverbs 20:19, 1 Timothy 3:11, Titus 2:3)

Persecutions, bad day at work, etc. – These things should be shared with a spouse, good friend, etc because they will wear you down if they are bottled up. In my opinion from studies in psychology, what this author suggests could lead to neurotic behavior if people take it at face value. If you read through the book of Psalms, most of them are expressing these very things to God. Even the apostle Paul experienced such things; he did not keep them secret: Colossians 2:1-3, Colossians 4:7-9, 1 Thessalonians 5:11) In Hebrews3:13, we read:

But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

The body of Christ is there to support you. The reason we are to share so much love with one another is because if you are living life with a consistent walk with God, you will not be liked by the world. The body is there is comfort you knowing what you are going through. I must also say that such things should be done cautiously. Find a small group of people within that context that become friends of encouragement. They can take this information and help you be encouraged.

Under the topic of ‘You Are Important’, I just want to say that you are because you are created in the image of God. When the author moves on to show people they are important for your gain, that is a problem. Proverbs 23:6-8 tells us:

Do not eat the bread of a selfish man,
Or desire his delicacies;
7For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
He says to you, "Eat and drink!"
But his heart is not with you.
8You will vomit up the morsel you have eaten,
And waste your compliments.

To be such a person that makes people feel all warm and gooey inside for your own gain is viewed in this text as an undesirable person, why in the world would you want to be one? This is no different than using someone, it is God that judges the heart.

The topic of Service First is an exposition on why our focus should be money. Let me repeat the famous verse 1 Timothy 6:10:

For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

This is exactly the context the author is approaching from. While it is true that money does print the bibles, send the missionaries, the complete accuracy is not there. God is in control, people, not money. I do not get paid for this site, but I have received many testimonies about how it has helped people. God is bigger than money. Our focus should be on God and his righteousness. He will supply all your needs. When you follow the authors advice to put service first for the purpose of money, you are focusing on money, not God. My focus is not on money, it wasn’t before I was in BWW, it was during the duration I was in BWW, and now it is not again. You know what? I am a lot better financially now. I am not poor, nor am I scraping to get by, but I don’t focus on money because God supplies me with what I need.

Our purpose is not the attainment of wealth. If you need to understand what our purpose is, check out the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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