Lebron, Michael, Manny and Verna:

The Asset That Makes Them Great


Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any other social media feed you don’t have to go very far to run into a motivational quote.  Heck, I grew up before that time and recall walking into a sales office to see framed posters on the wall that said “INSPIRATION”, “COURAGE” or “TEAMWORK”. You know what I’m talking about. The one poster that stuck with me for years had a picture of a mountain climber at the summit of a mountain with the quote saying “Your attitude, not your aptitude will determine your altitude.” For years we know that mastering the mental game is the key yet many of us struggle with this.

I remember I was hiking up a trail with a few friends one summer. Beside me was this gentleman who would have been about 55 years old (give or take years as the beard threw me off). To try to kill time and make this hike more enjoyable, I decided to make some small talk with him. In our conversation, I started to complain about how my legs were burning and how this hill was so steep. Perhaps this wasn’t intentional but this gentleman said something that gave me a huge reality check immediately. He turned to me and said, “You can’t climb uphill while thinking downhill thoughts.”  In an instant, I said “You’re right” and sprinted to the next checkpoint.

The reality is that it’s easy to think negatively. We are what we think. Have you ever thought about what separates the best from the rest? Why are Lebron James and Michael Jordan the best of their era? What separates multiple gold medal Olympian Michael Phelps from the other silver medalist? How did Manny Pacquiao become the only 8 division world champion in boxing history? And what separates successful entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs from those who fold after a few years? The answer is simple. It’s ATTITUDE.


The Winner’s Edge

Denis Waitley once wrote in his book The Winner’s Edge, “The winner’s edge is not in a gifted birth, a high IQ, or in talent. The winner’s edge is all in the attitude, not aptitude. Attitude is the criterion for success. But you can’t buy an attitude for a million dollars. Attitudes are not for sale.”

I read all about amazing people and understand that their success is based on attitude. There were times when I felt that those people are anomalies and that regular people like me don’t have it in me. In the summer of 2018, I decided to seek out amazing people that I could connect with and see whether it truly was their attitude that elevated them. I came across an article on Facebook about a lady by the name of Verna Marzo. Verna was what you call a thrill seeker and world traveller. 18 months before I met her, Verna was diagnosed with sepsis. If you were like me and didn’t know what Sepsis was, it is a nasty life-threatening disease that can take your limbs and kill you.  Verna was faced with the decision to either give up or go under surgery and have the doctors do what they must for her to live. She chose the latter option. One day she has all her limbs and the next moment she awakes from surgery without any arms or legs. When I asked Verna, how she can go from skydiving and bungee jumping to having no arms or legs, she simply said “When I wake up in the morning, I know that God still has a purpose for me to be alive.” That is a champion’s mentality. Those are the words of someone who has meaning in her life. To this day, Verna and I remain friends and I view her as a reminder that attitude is everything.


The Greatest Difference

This is not to say that I am always winning the attitude game. I am human and have my down days.  However, for years, I have tried to live by the following statements, “I cannot always choose what happens to me, but I can always choose what happens in me.” There are things in our life that are beyond our control. You may get sick, lose a loved one, get downsized at work or simply get rear-ended on the way to work. These are things that are beyond my control yet some things are within my control. John Maxwell once wrote “My attitude in the areas beyond my control can be the difference maker. My attitude in the areas that I do control will be the difference maker. In other words, the greatest difference my difference maker can make is within me, not others.”  This is why it is our attitude that can either make or break you. It is the difference whether we see a loss or a lesson. It either lifts you above adversity or holds you down when things do not go your way. A positive mental attitude will not let you do everything. However, it can help you do anything better than you would if you had a negative attitude. This is why it is your greatest asset or your greatest liability. Be like Lebron, Michael, Manny, and Verna and choose to harness your greatest attitude to manifest the greatest life you can live. Remember you can’t control what happens outside of you but you can control what happens inside of you!

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