Attitude Adjustment

Zig Ziglar became a world-famous author and motivational speaker. He suffered personal tragedies, but he had a special ability to cast a positive light on those tragedies. He shared his methods with the world, offering comfort and inspiration (A).  Here's a quote by him that I heard way back in high school that's stuck with me:

"Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude" - Zig Ziglar

To me, it's amazing how much this quote is true.  I believe in it so much at we made it a core value at Crawford Landscaping.  Couple definitions before we get started:

Attitude = a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person's behavior (B)

Aptitude = a natural ability; talent (B)

Altitude = Great height (B)

So, our settle way of thinking or feeling about something determines the height of our success, not our natural ability or talent.  Pretty interesting point of view.  

A Good Story

Let me share a personal example to drive home the point.Growing up I was a huge Detroit sports fan, and I was blessed to grow up seeing first hand some special professional sport teams.  One was the Bad Boys, or the Detroit Pistons, from 1980 - 1994, who during this time frame won 3 NBA titles.  It was also during this time that one of the greatest basketball stars ever ascended to greatness, and that's Michael Jordan, who before the book was written on him he won 6 NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls.  So how does this relate to attitude?  Read on!

Michael Jordan & the Bulls defeated 3 times by the Detroit Pistons (C)
1987-88 Season: Jordan led the league in scoring, averaging 35.0 ppg on 53.5% shooting and won his first league MVP Award. He was also named the Defensive Player of the Year, as he had averaged 1.6 blocks and a league high 3.16 steals per game. The Bulls finished 50–32, and made it out of the first round of the playoffs for the first time in Jordan's career, as they defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games. However, the Bulls then lost in five games to the more experienced Detroit Pistons.  Incredible personal stats and accolades, but no championship.

1988–89 season: Jordan again led the league in scoring, averaging 32.5 ppg on 53.8% shooting from the field, along with 8 rpg and 8 assists per game (apg). The Bulls finished with a 47–35 record, and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals, defeating the Cavaliers and New York Knicks along the way. However, the Pistons again defeated the Bulls.  Incredible personal stats and accolades, but no championship. 

1990-91 season: Jordan averaged a league leading 33.6 ppg on 52.6% shooting, to go with 6.9 rpg and 6.3 apg in leading the Bulls to a 55–27 record. They again advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals after beating the Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers. However, despite pushing the series to seven games, the Bulls lost to the Pistons for the third consecutive season.  Incredible personal stats and accolades, but no championship. 

Michael Jordan finally wins
1991-92 season: In the 1990–91 season, Jordan won his second MVP award after averaging 31.5 ppg on 53.9% shooting, 6.0 rpg, and 5.5 apg for the regular season. The Bulls finished in first place in their division for the first time in 16 years and set a franchise record with 61 wins in the regular season. The Bulls defeated the New York Knicks and the Philadelphia 76ers in the opening two rounds of the playoffs. They advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals where their rival, the Detroit Pistons, awaited them. However, this time the Bulls beat the Pistons in a four-game sweep.

What was the difference?

From my perspective as a Detroit fan, and after seeing the Bulls improve every year, I knew the Bulls were the Piston's biggest challenge to winning a fourth title, so I paid very close attention to them.  After the 1991 season, and the Piston's defeating the bulls for a 3rd consecutive year by implementing The Jordan Rules, Jordan learned that he would have to change his attitude to reach the next level and win a championship.  He could no longer put everything on his shoulders and win; he had to learn to play more "team ball."  It was this attitude adjustment that rendered him and the Bulls unstoppable, and they went on to defeat the Pistons on their way to winning three straight NBA titles.  The Pistons method of defending Jordan (The Jordan Rules), was no longer effective as the they could now longer isolate Jordan because he shared the ball so well with his teammates.  He'd make a move, draw a double or triple team, and then dish the ball to a wide open teammate for an open shot.   

To win, Jordan had to change his attitude about himself (team player and leader responsible for making those around him better) and his teammates (capable support and essential ingredient to winning) before he could reach the next level.  Very few people have the ability to (a) see the need to adjust, and (b) have the courage and selflessness to do it.  

Two questions for you: First, do you find yourself in need of an attitude adjustment in some area of your life?  Second, is there someone under your charge that needs an attitude adjustment?  Take some time to think this through.  

Lastly, make it a habit to pay very close attention to your predetermined attitudes, as an attitude adjustment may be the only thing separating you from reaching the next level.

In closing, Ziglar, always looking for a positive spin, referred to his bedside alarm clock as his "opportunity clock."

Source A: Brainy Quotes,

Source B: Oxford Dictionary,

Source C: Wikipedia,;;