by Henrylito D. Tacio
When he was still alive, New Jersey Governor Charles Edison told a vignette about his famous father, a man of resilient, undefeatable spirit. Here goes the story:
On the night of December 9, 1914, the great Edison Industries of West Orange was virtually destroyed by fire. Thomas Alva Edison lost two million dollars that night and much of his life’s work went up in flames. He was insured for only US$238,000 because the buildings had been made of concrete, at that time thought to be fireproof.
“My heart ached for him,” Charles said. “He was 67 – not a young man anymore – and everything was going up in flames. He spotted me. ‘Charles,’ he shouted, ‘where’s your mother?’ ‘I don’t know, Dad,’ I replied. ‘Find her,’ he told me. ‘Bring her here. She will never see anything like this again as long as she lives.’”
The next morning, walking about the charred embers of all his hopes and dreams, Thomas Edison said, ‘There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.” And three weeks after the fire, his firm delivered the first phonograph!
“Now that’s the story of a man who had learned how to face the adversities and disasters of this human existence. He also knew that 67 years were in the past… that the loss of money was nothing really, because there was hat inner strength that would allow him to build again,” Charles concluded his story.
Thomas Alva Edison was a person with positive attitude. He saw that life is a constant struggle. It is a matter of choice. You have to look at both sides, both the good and the bad. And he always looked at the brighter side. As Robert Brault advises, “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”
My ever dependable Webster dictionary defines attitude as “state of thought or feeling.” Attitude is how we look at things from our own perspective. At one time, I asked a group of young people how much water was in a glass. A few said, “Half full,” but a lot of them said, “Half empty.” Foster’s law stated: “The only people who find what they are looking for in life are the fault finders.”
At one time, Hubert Humphrey told a buddy: “Oh, my friend, it’s not what they take away from you that count. It’s what you do with what you have left.” Attitude, according to Sir Winston Churchill, is a little thing that makes a big difference.
Take happiness for instance. “We can make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong,” said Francesca Reigler. To think of, either attitude, the amount of work is still the same. Annette Goodheart takes one step further: “Just because you’re miserable doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your life. No matter what happened to you yesterday, your attitude is your choice today.
“The last of our human freedoms is to choose our attitude in any given circumstances,” said psychologist Victor Frankl. Well, he was talking from experience. He survived imprisonment in a Nazi death camp, and throughout his ordeal, he wouldn’t allow his attitude to deteriorate. If he could maintain a good attitude, so can you.
Clara Barton, the founder of American Red Cross, understood the importance of choosing the right attitude even in wrong situations. She was never known to hold a grudge against anyone. One time, a friend recalled to her a cruel thing that had happened to her some years back, but Clara seemed not to remember the incident.
“Don’t you remember the wrong that was done to you?” the friend asked. “No,” Clara replied. “I distinctly remember forgetting that.” Most people have a hard time moving because they still live in the past.
They don’t want to forgive and forget the wrongs being done to them. “Let us rise up and be thankful,” urged Buddha, “for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” — ###