Attitude: The key ingredient in resiliency

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Tiffany Warnke
  • 786th Civil Engineer Squadron Commander
"There will be demands upon your ability, upon your endurance, upon your disposition, upon your patience...just as fire tempers iron into fine steel so does adversity temper one's character into firmness, tolerance, and determination" - Sen. Margaret Chase Smith.

As we've gone through the past couple of resiliency days, I, like many other people, have pondered how to improve my own personal resiliency. I've read and understood the existing instructional information on the importance of physical, mental, social and spiritual fitness. I get it -- from a basic standpoint. Unfortunately, however, I still struggle with being able to articulate the "how" of truly changing and improving my own physical, mental, social and spiritual fitness. It seems very simple on the surface -- you can workout more, you can talk to others, you can lean on your spiritual foundation...that's all easily said. But something seems to be missing. What is that key ingredient, the factor that enables us to build the necessary resiliency for our challenging military lives.

Then it hit me -- attitude!

Attitude is the vital factor that can make or break one's quest for resiliency. A strong, positive attitude is the one aspect that cannot be missing as we develop and build true resiliency within ourselves.

There are a number of different kinds of attitude. Obviously the good kinds are those that will lead to positive enrichment. The old adage, "attitude will determine your altitude", directly applies in developing personal resiliency. Probably the most basic, and yet important attitude trait is optimism. Military members are continually called upon to perform a multitude of personal and professional tasks, to an overwhelming extent. Through optimism, we have the necessary approach for dealing with the trials and tribulations thrown our way. A true optimist is seldom surprised by troubles and typically has the capacity to identify a partial solution for the situation at hand. Furthermore, optimists believe they have control over their future and deeply appreciate most aspects of their lives. Throwing a little optimism in one's approach to a problem set is bound to build one's resiliency.

Hand in hand with optimism is the value of having a spirited attitude. Spirited individuals tend to accept what cannot be changed, and invest their energy into things that can make a difference. Spirited individuals thrive on the journey of making things better and immersing themselves into the world around them. A relentless spirit for life can be an unstoppable resiliency trait.

Lastly, each of us should strive for an altruistic attitude to round out our wingman culture. Altruism entails unselfishly giving back to others and focusing on making the world a better place. Altruism is probably the reason most of us choose to pursue the profession of arms and service to our country. Placing that altruistic attitude at the forefront of one's development will not only benefit personal resiliency, but also the resiliency of those around them.

I personally vow to never forget the role that attitude can and should play in my personal resiliency development. For others, the answers to resiliency likely lie inside of you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust. You can have a negative attitude or a positive one. With an optimistic, spirited, altruistic attitude as your compass, you have all the tools and resources you need.

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference -- it is the key.