Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

A is for Attitude

I was scanning my iPhone app of quotes when I came upon the following, “Ability is what you’re capable of doing.  Motivation determines what you do.  Attitude determines who well you do it.” ~Lou Holtz 

I guess we should start at the very beginning.  We definitely need to differentiate between “can” and “will”.  Just because you can do something (ability) doesn’t mean you will.  Ability implies choice, you can choose to do something because you have the ability or choose not to, once again the ball in your court.  You have the ability to choose your doctor.  You have the ability to find emotional and spiritual support so you feel more in control of your life and not alone. 

Motivation is the next piece of the equation.  There is only one motivation when faced with a chronic or other life-altering illness and that’s to get better or well.  The pilgrimage to health and healing can be a long an arduous journey.  There are very few diagnoses that are reversed by taking one pill and getting a little rest.  The motivation is what will you be able to do if you follow the treatment regimen.  How will you live your life if you get better or well.  What are the possibilities for your life if along with your medical treatment you address your emotional and spiritual needs to bring the body into alignment?   This isn’t about dangling a carrot in front of you to keep going.  The motivation is obviously internal or you would have denied treatment and allowed the body to take its course.  Paying attention and conscious of the motivation is what allows you to keep going because when you’re conscious you can acknowledge the smallest changes for the better.

Attitude is everything.  We’ve  had many discussions about the mind-body connection.  Having a good attitude doesn’t mean you’re happy all the time.  It does mean that you have integrated the possibilities based on your ability and your motivation for getting well is internal, not some external reward.  When attitude and motivation are assimilated into your being your attitude is a driving force.

Keep tabs on your attitude and if you think it’s not on the positive side take a quick assessment of your ability and your motivation…I think you’ll find the kink in the chain that’s clogging the flow of a positive attitude.


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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