My dad was a high school coach for DuPont High School. He loved all sports, but football was his sport of choice. He used to tell his players, “Now, men! Winning in football is 90% attitude. The other 50% is physical!” (Did I mention that Dad taught history, not math?)

Everything may be going fantastic in every area of your life, but if you choose to view it negatively, pessimistically, you will be miserable. On the other hand, everything may be falling apart and spiraling down to a very hot place, and yet, if you choose to view it positively, optimistically, then life is worth living! The key word in both sentences is “choose”. You probably cannot control over 90% of what happens in life. The one thing you can control in life is attitude.

The unique thing about attitude is that you can change an attitude in just a few seconds. Attitude is born from mindset, a perspective. Perspective is not just what you see in life, but also how you see it. Think of this way. You can either be thankful or complaining. Complaining is fruitless; it’s been said, “80% of the people you complain to just don’t care; and the other 20% are glad!” Complaining releases all kinds of negative chemicals and hormones in your body that begins a depression spiral.

On the other hand, you can choose to be thankful. Thanksgiving is not just a day in November. It is an attitude that releases some extremely positive chemicals and hormones in the body, while reducing some of the negative ones.

The key to this is choice. It is not what life gives you but what you bring life that makes the difference.

Now, apply this vital life principle to relationships. Relationships just don’t happen. Strong, lasting, meaningful, mutually satisfying relationship grow from purposeful activities. The primary activity that creates the most fertile ground is listening.

The effective listener begins with an attitude of value. You purposefully say to yourself about the other person, “I genuinely care about you. I want to fully hear what you say, feel what you feel, and understand what you mean. YOU ARE IMPORTANT TO ME!” You might even say this out loud to the person.

Guarantee: If you express this mindset, you will enter the conversation (no matter what it is about) with the listener’s attitude. What they say and how they say it is all on them. How you choose to receive it … is ALL on you!