The statement I am about to make will not make sense. I want you to know that before I say it.
It’s true, unequivocally so, but you will think I’m making it up. Just know that I’m not.
Here is the statement: The most excited I ever felt going to work was for the shittiest job I ever had.
See, you think I’m making it up. I knew you would.
But I’m not.
And I couldn’t have done it without Sam Cooke.
The Shittiest Job I Ever Had
The shittiest job I ever had was selling promotional coupons door-to-door.
It was also one of the greatest jobs I ever had because of what it taught me. The #1 lesson I learned: have and maintain a positive attitude.
More than teach me to have a positive attitude, the job trained me how to keep a positive attitude.
Peddling coupons around major metropolitan areas (I was in Miami) is a mentally and physically challenging job. You get told “No” a lot. You get justifiably weird and angry looks.
But you also get stronger.
You build up your attitude like a muscle, working it out every day, strengthening it, toughening it, and learning how to make it work for you rather than the other way around.
I ultimately had to leave that job behind, but I’ll always be forever grateful for what I learned by doing it.
What Sam Cooke Can Teach Us About Having a Positive Attitude
Having and maintaining a positive attitude is far easier said than done, and it’s easier for some people than others, and it’s easier in some situations than others.
If it weren’t, everyone would do it all the time.
And this is where Sam Cooke comes in.
Well, for me at least.
There are certain Sam Cooke songs that I simply cannot hear without feeling better immediately. Good Times and Having a Party top the list. They are simple, they are positive, and they of course feature one of the greatest voices in music history.
How can you not feel better after listening to this?
Another is A Change Is Gonna Come.
It certainly does not have the happy-go-lucky feel of the others, and it’s references to intolerance and injustice and struggle harken back to a very real and very shameful past, but the overall message is one of hope and an expectation of optimistic outcomes despite immediate struggles.
Talk about a positive attitude.
So to sum it up: even in the worst of times, a change is gonna come…so keep thooooose records playyyyyying.
That’s having a positive attitude.
Any of us can do it, on any day we want to.
And on the days when it’s harder, you might just need a friend like Sam Cooke to help pull you through.
The Most Important Decision of Every Day
Some days having a positive attitude does not even seem like a choice. It’s automatic. I love those days.
Some days we wake up happy, excited, vigorous, vitalized, and nobody’s gonna stop us now…oh no…we always keep on moving.
But those days aren’t when we need our attitude.
We need the armor of attitude on the days when we wake up feeling the opposite. When something has us down, when we’re dreading something, or when optimism seems further out of reach than it should.
It is on these days that we need friends like Sam.
The aforementioned Sam Cooke tracks, some of Jason Mraz’s cheesiest and most the-world-is-wonderful! songs, and more recently some of the tracks from Of Monsters and Men’s new album, always make me feel better after I’m done listening to them.
(Note: when I was in Miami, the sweet sounds of Shakira filled this role whenever, wherever I needed them to. When in Rome, right?)
And maybe it’s not music that does it for you. Maybe it’s working out. Maybe it’s talking to a specific friend. Maybe it’s playing with your dog. Maybe it’s praying or meditating. Maybe it’s reading a motivational quote.
The point is to know where you can turn to for a boost of attitude adrenaline on the days when you really need it…and then to actually do it.
No decision we make on a daily basis is more important than the decision to have or not have a good attitude.
But we can’t let foolish pride prevent us from asking for help on the days when the good attitude does not come at the snap of our fingers. Instead, let’s be humble and turn to our trusted attitude advisers on the days we need them most.
For me, it’s Sam Cooke, et al.
Who or what is it for you?
Know the answer, and then stay there ’til you soothe your soul…
Even if it takes allllll night long.