I asked an endurance swimmer, "How is it possible for you to swim for twenty hours? What kind of mental attitude do you have?" She said, "I believe that the water is a friend. It wants to help me. It does not fight against me and I do not fight against it. We are working together." I often think of that when I am in the 'swim' of life. The waves and currents and the tides hit us all at times, and it is not always easy to say, "The water is friendly." It requires an act of faith, a volitional act; it means work, but most of all it requires a will to believe. the more we use this will, the more it becomes a part of us and the more natural becomes its application.
Attitude is an important part of the foundation upon which we build a productive life. A good attitude produces good results, a fair attitude poor results, a poor attitude poor results. We each shape our own life, and the shape of it is determined largely by our attitude.
You must always be puzzled by mental illness. The thing I would dread most, if I became mentally ill, would be your adopting a common sense attitude; that you could take it for granted that I was deluded.
When Emerson's library was burning at Concord, I went to him as he stood with the firelight on his strong, sweet face, and endeavored to express my sympathy for the loss of his most valued possessions, but he answered cheerily, 'Never mind, Louisa, see what a beautiful blaze they make! We will enjoy that now.' The lesson was one never forgotten and in the varied lessons that have come to me I have learned to look for something beautiful and bright.