By Martin E. Willoughby, Jr.
I have a friend and business colleague who lives out of state that has the best attitude toward life of anyone I know. Whenever you exchange a regular greeting with him—like, “How is it going?”—his quick response is “SUPER FANTASTIC!” When you first meet him, you hear that somewhat skeptically. How could anyone always be doing that great? Life is just too hard. There are deadlines to meet, dirty diapers to change, illnesses, broken relationships to deal with—let’s be real! However, it is not just a greeting for him, but an attitude for living. I can say that in every interaction I have ever had with him he has always remained positive in his outlook and genuine in his faith and caring for others. I later learned that the late Keith Harrell first influenced him. Harrell, who died way before his time from cancer in 2010, was a world-renowned motivational speaker who always had a similar greeting of SUPER FANTASTIC!
Harrell, who was a high school basketball standout with an imposing 6’ 7” frame, went to work out of college with IBM and became one of their top salespeople and trainers before embarking fulltime on his speaking and writing career. Harrell spoke to millions of people around the globe. I distinctly remember my wife, Nicki, returning from a conference where Harrell spoke, and she brought back his book, Attitude is Everything. I was encouraged and inspired by the book and Harrell’s perspective on life. Harrell’s outlook was not a result of pop psychology or a new age feel good message—it was rooted in a deep faith and understanding of who we are as Christians in relation to a mighty and loving God.
Best-selling Christian author Chuck Swindoll once said, “Words can never adequately convey the incredible impact of our attitudes toward life. The longer I live the more convinced I become that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I respond to it.” His words remind me of Stephen Covey who taught people to think about the choice we have between the stimuli in our lives and our response. In Scripture, Paul gives us guidance as he writes from a prison cell. He wrote, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ,” (Philippians 1:27). Paul certainly had his share of troubles—beaten, imprisoned, shipwrecked, and exiled to name a few. However, in spite of all that he said, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 2:5)
Jesus modeled for us a life of peace and security in knowing who He was, why He was here, and where He was going. He maintained a perfect attitude even in the most trying circumstances because He prayed about everything and worried about nothing. As followers of Christ, we have the incredible gift of perspective. We can take the long view. Our life and troubles are just fleeting matters. We should keep eternity in mind. This does not mean that we won’t have weighty problems; it just means we have the Creator of the Universe as our Father, and we are his children. Whatever your problems may be today, I hope that you will have the peace and grace of God wash over you and have a SUPER FANTASTIC day!