Carl Mays: One’s attitude or perspective is very significant

Aug. 29, 2013 @ 11:18 PM

I was entering the Gatlinburg post office earlier this month when I saw not too far behind me a woman plodding toward the door in the humid 90-degree weather. I opened the door and stepped aside for her to enter the air-conditioned building. With an exasperated look she said, “Where’s the snow? I’m ready for the snow!”

I had to chuckle and reply, “I know what you mean. But let’s face it, when the far-below-freezing temperature accompanied by snow and ice comes our way we’ll be saying, ‘Bring on some sunshine and warm weather!’” She exclaimed, “Not me!” I thought, “Yeah, right. Just wait ‘til we get to December, January and February.”

My encounter with the woman brought to mind my conversation with a young man from Texas back on June 30, 2012. I had keynoted and served as emcee at the Tennessee Walking Horses of Today Equine Conference, Embassy Suites Conference Hotel/Miller Coliseum, Murfreesboro, Tenn. (As an aside: this conference was interesting – and challenging. It brought together owners, trainers and veterinarians from across the nation, along with representatives from the USDA and independent testing labs. Even though it had been planned far in advance, it occurred shortly after the atrocious “soaring” activity by a relatively few trainers had been featured on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”)

My part in the conference concluded Saturday afternoon, and I departed for Gatlinburg at about 4 p.m. Central time, 5 p.m. Eastern. It was probably the hottest day of the year in Murfreesboro. Television news reported 107 degrees. When I left the black-topped parking lot, the thermometer in my car read 112.

About halfway back to Gatlinburg I stopped at a convenience store/gas station in the Crossville/Crab Orchard area. I noticed a motorcycle near the store entrance and thought, “Man, what a hot day to be riding a motorcycle on I-40.”

When I exited the store, the motorcyclist, wearing a black-leather jacket, pants and boots, was at his motorcycle preparing to strap on his black helmet and put on his black gloves. I stopped and shared my earlier thought with him. That’s when he told me he had departed Dallas before sunrise that morning and wanted to reach Abingdon, Va., before he ended his day’s journey. It was now about 7:30 Eastern.

Folks, Jean and I have a little house just outside Dallas, close to where our son, daughter-in-law and grandson live. From our Texas driveway to our Gatlinburg driveway is 932 miles. From Gatlinburg to Abingdon (home of the historic Barter Theatre) is about 140 miles. Not only was the dressed-all-in-black-leather motorcyclist riding on such a hot day, he planned to drive approximately 1,072 miles on such a hot day!

And here’s the kicker: he was planning on making the return trip to Dallas on Monday – and he had made the same round-trip the last weekend in May! (It would be a great story to discover what was drawing him to make the trips, but I didn’t go there.)

When I told Jean about the motorcyclist, probably in his 20s or early 30s, she remarked, “You gotta’ be young!” I responded, “Yeah, and in great shape!” Earlier that year, I left Texas (in a car, not motorcycle) at 5 p.m., drove about 300 miles and spent the evening in Arkadelphia, Ark. Next day, I drove about 430 miles and spent the night in Mt. Juliet, Tenn. I drove on to Gatlinburg the next day, a distance of about 210 miles.

When I compared the woman at the post office, the motorcyclist and me, once again I considered the statement of Scottish author, poet and Christian minister George MacDonald (1824-1905), a statement greatly emphasized by renowned American psychiatrist Dr. Karl Menninger (1893-1990): “Attitudes are more important than facts.” One’s attitude or perspective is of great significance.

© 2013 by Carl Mays, National Speakers Association Hall of Fame member and author, whose mentoring site is based on his book and program, “A Strategy For Winning”