It’s true, an object in motion tends to stay in motion
“An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” — Newton’s First Law of Motion
I was youth and drama minister at the little town’s First Baptist Church when I understood God was calling me to be a pastor. I told my pastor and he suggested I get as much hands-on pastoral experience as I could, right away.
Eight days later, the church made me associate pastor. Right after the vote, the pastor — Bro. Henry — turned to me and said, “OK, I’ll be out next week and you’ll be preaching and handling the services.”
Knowing we had our quarterly Lord’s Supper service scheduled for that Sunday, I asked him what I should do — I’d never led that type of service before.
“What do you always tell your drama team actors?” Bro. Henry asked me.
“Act like you know what you’re doing,” I replied.
“There you go,” he said. “Do that.”
So I did. As the son of a preacher and having assisted in Lord’s Supper services for many years, I knew the basics. So I acted like I knew what I was doing, and it went just fine.
I acted like I was confident and I became confident in what I was doing. And it came across that way to others.
My attitude determined my reality.
I have discovered this carries over into a lot of life.
Let me go ahead and throw out a disclaimer here. I’m not a person who believes in visualizing something into reality in general. I don’t believe that because I desire to be healthy, or wealthy or wise that it’s going to happen just because I can picture it in my head.
I’ve got a good imagination.
Trust me, I can imagine myself in great physical shape, driving my one-of-a-kind Land Rover to the bank to get stacks of hundred dollar bills to dole out to anyone nearby with bits of deep, witty wisdom.
But I will still be shuttling my rotund self in my compact sedan to the bank to see if any hundred dollar bills accidentally found their way into my account.
But I do believe this — if I act like I’m in a bad mood, I’ll stay in a bad mood. If I act like I’m in a good mood, even if I’m not, I’ll start to be in a good mood.
I’ve gone to work so many times at various jobs with a foul attitude. I didn’t want to get up, didn’t want to go to work, didn’t want to deal with people or problems. I didn’t even want to be with me, because I was no fun to be around with that kind of attitude.
But I’ve always had the belief that customers should be treated politely, with respect, and given every reasonable courtesy and assistance. Is the customer always right? I think we all know the truth about that — No. But that doesn’t mean those of us attempting to help them should be jerks.
So when I have gone into work with a foul attitude, I still clung to the belief that no customer deserved to have my bad mood projected onto them. They, by default, deserved me to be the best employee at that business so they could get what they needed and be glad to have been there and dealt with me.
If the person had a problem, I wanted to help find a solution. If I could not offer a solution the customer wanted, I tried to at least help them understand why and leave knowing that everything had been handled fairly, politely and respectfully.
I found that almost every customer who had been treated this way left in a better mood than they came in with, even if they did not get what they wanted, or did not get it exactly how they wanted or for their desired price.
I found something else, too. If I persisted in having a nice attitude toward others, I began to have a nice attitude toward myself and the day in general.
But if I insisted on holding onto my bad attitude, it would take deeper root and everything would make it worse.
When in a bad mood, the drive home took forever and the other drivers were all idiots. When in a good mood, the drive home was an opportunity to listen to good music or an audiobook or have a talk with God — and maybe call one of my children — and all the other drivers around me were just tired working people looking forward to getting home, too.
What I focused on became my reality. What I nurtured grew. When I stressed the good, I began to see more good.
Whenever my children complained they were mistreated by someone else, along with any other step I took I always reminded them that they could not control what someone else said or did, but one thing they could control was their own attitude.
And once that attitude is set in the right direction, it’s much easier to keep going. An object in motion tends to stay in motion, after all.
Brett Campbell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.