Post Mortem

The only disability in life is a bad attitude?

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 9/16/2019 11:28:42 AM IST

 I recently came across this quote from Scott Hamilton: “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” As a person with a disability, I reposted it, thinking to myself, “Wow. How true is that?” My outlook on life is that “attitude is everything.” I know many people who are perfectly able-bodied, but have a bad attitude, causing them to miss out on all of life’s positive opportunities and thus, “disabling” them in life.

I believe that each of us is as limitless as we allow ourselves to be, in spite of physical limitations or disabilities we may have. Yet, at the same time, it sparked my interest in how other people, both differently-able and able-bodied, view disability and how they interpret the meaning of this quote. What are your thoughts?

What is a disability? Disability – a physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities.” Taken literally, how many people do you think could apply that to an area or areas of their life?

What is a victim mindset if not a disability? What is hatred and prejudice, if not a disability?

What is a sense of entitlement if not a disability? All of those things can and do have as much, and in many cases more, of a negative impact on a person’s life as more obvious disabilities such as a lack of sight, paralysis and chronic pain, Or just different from the kid next to him? The vast majority of the performers don’t want to be seen as being disabled.

Disabled’ people can lead happier, more fulfilled and more productive lives than people not given that label. Can be the happiest people and has an amazing attitude toward life for the majority of the time and never fails to put a smile on my face only if given chance and opportunity. If a person is disabled is he not one among the millions? Is that a label we really want to give somebody who is happier with their life than 99% of the population?

And if we do, then shouldn’t we be saying people with a victim mindset (and there are hundreds of millions of people likes that, maybe billions) are disabled too? Isn’t a strategy (and that is what being a victim is, a strategy for dealing with life) that works so poorly and stifles so many people a disability?

A bad attitude defines you more than a disability: Many people are happy to admit to friends and colleagues they are stressed senseless. Few are as happy to say, “I’m scared to death” This is the same. Feeling like the world is against you, good things never happen to you and your life is shit is one thing, because you can always find reasons to justify such beliefs.

However, accepting you’re imposing a real disability on yourself by having such thoughts is a different matter altogether. That isn’t a label many people want to adopt. Of course I realize many people with attitude problems like those I have described don’t even know they have them, but some do and maybe if they shift their thinking they will realize they have an opportunity to change.

By the way, if you know somebody with a serious attitude problem, think of them as being disabled. Not in a patronizing kind of way, but as a way of being more empathetic and compassionate toward them. 

Attitude is the most important thing in life: One should approach everything with a positive attitude. Malini Chib, Founder Chairperson, ADAPT Rights Group, said “The journey began with my birth... I am a special school survivor! Special schools overprotected and don’t let us develop... I began to study how to transform the Spastic Society from a charity approach to a right approach... knowledge helped me as I moved onto Higher Studies... We don’t need to be shut away! Disability is not measles...The question, however, I always ask is how inclusive are we? “With a disheartening beginning as a child who got singled out, life not always been a cakewalk. Yet I have surmounted many obstacles. The doctor who said I would be a permanent vegetable has had to eat his words. I have two Master’s degree. I travel, write and lecture across India and abroad. I was asked to leave shops and canteens because I was in a wheel chair, but today I go shopping on my own in London, and regularly eat out with friends at restaurants in Bombay, Delhi, Paris and London. They said’ I think these people should be locked up’ Today we are visible everywhere! Malini Chib also said a relationship between a normal and a disabled person should be like all other relationship- based upon mutual respect rather than pity. I move away when it is the latter. Life is challenge- there are many mountains to climb. But for me the most important thing to climb with a smile. This is a good example of changing having a positive attitude.

If a man has a positive attitude and has a tent to live in, he might not be comfortable but will still thank for at least having a shelter and a place to sleep in. Or, if a man buys a car, he’s just thankful for having a car whether it’s luxury and expensive or not. But, if he is the type of person who complains all the time, he/ she might become greedy to have more cars. In that case, he will keep buying cars to make oneself happy and keep buying it until he finally realizes that he can’t get happiness from wealth.

Scientists researched and found out that the world’s happiest countries are not the wealthiest countries with good technology, but poor countries that have fewer resources. When one approaches things positively, you are mostly happy with what you already have. It is said, “Money can’t buy happiness.” Everybody knows that happiness is not a thing one would go to a store and buy it. Happiness is a thing that one gets by having a positive attitude. However, if a person uses the money in a good way, like donating some money to poor families or giving money to charity, he would get happiness from it. Except that this quote means just being rich won’t bring happiness. Scientists also researched and found out another interesting fact: people who won lottery are suddenly 120% happy (happier than usual) after they get the news, but they will go back to their normal happy range after a few weeks later.

Is money more important than attitude? If not, why do people want to be rich rather than have a positive attitude? The simplest answer to these two questions is that people think that money is the most important thing in life. They think that they can do anything if they have a lot of money. But, there are many things you can’t just buy with money. Some things like hope, happiness, love, friendship (friends), sympathy and even sadness have to be gained by many experiences a person gains in their life. And those things that can’t be bought are much more important than money itself.

The best way to think positively is to think that nobody knows when they die and one might suddenly die today or tomorrow. In that way, people can always thank for being alive and healthy when they wake up in the morning. Think of everything one possesses and thank for it. Try to have a positive attitude and the person’s life is going to change. Let’s think positive and smile. Everything is going to turn out good.

Ameno Catherine Rolnu, ADAPT, Mumbai

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