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A story from The Dash... Making a Difference with Your Life

Over a century ago, William James, one of the founders of modern psychology, said "The great discovery of this generation is that a human being can alter their life by altering their attitude." Each day we wake up in the morning, we choose our clothes, we choose our breakfast but, most importantly, we choose our attitudes.

One of the most wonderful things about having a positive attitude is the number of people it touches, many times in ways you'll never know.

In my book, The Power of Attitude, I told the story about going to a convenience store to get a newspaper and a pack of gum. The young woman at the check-out counter said, "That'll be five dollars please," and as I reached into my wallet, the thought occurred to me that a newspaper and gum didn't quite make it to five dollars.

When I looked up to get a "re-quote," she had a big smile on her face and said, "Gotcha! I got to get my tip in there somehow!" I laughed when I knew I'd been had. She then glanced down at the paper I was buying and said, "I'm sick and tired of all this negative stuff on the front pages. I want to read some good news for a change." She then said, "In fact, I think someone should just publish a Good News newspaper - a paper with wonderful, inspiring stories about people overcoming adversity and doing good things for others. I'd buy one every day!" She then thanked me for coming in and said, "Maybe we'll get lucky tomorrow; maybe we'll get some good news," and she laughed. She made my day.

The following day, after my business appointments, I dropped by the same store again to pick up bottled water, but a different young lady was behind the counter. As I checked out I said, "Good afternoon," and handed her my money for the water. She said nothing - not a word, not a smile...nothing. She just handed me my change and in a negative tone ordered..."Next!"

It hit me right between the eyes: Two people, same age; one made me feel great, and the other, well, made me feel that I had inconvenienced her by showing up.

By the choices we make, by the attitudes we exhibit, we are influencing lives every day in positive or negative ways...our family, our peers, our friends, and even strangers we've never met before and will never meet again. So when you brush your teeth every morning, look in the mirror and ask yourself..."Are there things I'd like to change?" How will you choose to live your Dash...as "the grouch" or as "the good-news girl?" Your answer will go a long way toward determining the joy and happiness that you will experience in your life.

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