There seems to be so much in life that we don’t have control over even in the midst of the best made plans. Given this uncertainty the opportunities for frustration, disappointment and distress abound. But what is important to remember is that even in the midst of uncertainty and plans gone awry you can be the master of your attitude.

Here’s an example. At this very moment, as I am writing this article, I am sitting in my house in Arizona surrounded by packed boxes waiting for the movers. In a flurry of activity my house sold during the past two weeks. Since I live in New York I have spent the past two weeks in the throes of paperwork, phone calls and making arrangements to get to AZ and have my furniture, etc. packed and picked up by the closing scheduled for tomorrow.

I was so pleased with how smoothly everything was handled. . .until yesterday when I found out - after more than an hour on the phone - that the movers were not coming at the agreed upon time. Frustration: Round 1. I was assured that the movers would be here today between noon and 5:00pm. I complained to a moving company supervisor, was assured that there would be compensation for my inconvenience and I made shuttle arrangements to make sure I got to the airport on time to return to New York. Now I had a choice:

1. continue to complain, feel victimized by the inaccurate information I had been given OR
2. move on, acknowledge that I had easily made a new plan and make a phone call to have dinner with an AZ friend.

I chose to move on. We had a great dinner and a wonderful visit and planned a walk in the morning in plenty of time for me to be home by noon, in case the movers arrived then. My simple attitude shift acknowledged my frustration and allowed me to move on since I am the master of my attitude!

Frustration: Round 2: At 12:30pm today I got a call notifying me that the movers wouldn’t be here until between 5:00pm - 8:00pm. This meant they were going to be a day later than our agreed upon pick-up time and I didn’t know if I would be able to get ride to the airport - 90 miles away - if they movers first arrived at 8:00pm. I experienced an instantaneous transformation - from mild mannered Self-Esteem-Expert to a clearly frustrated and angry customer. I called customer service and after being on hold for 14 minutes and 38 seconds my attitude was far from exemplary!

When I hung up, I heard a quiet voice in my head saying, ‘Remember, Susyn, stress is not healthy.’ So I took a deep B R E A T H and the phone rang - the supervisor I had spoken with yesterday told me he spoke with the movers and they would definitely be here today. Yes, later than I thought, but today. His calm, I’m going to help you attitude was reassuring. I got off the phone and called the shuttle company and was told, ‘No problem, we’ll be on call and will drive you to the airport after the movers leave.’

By the time I got off the phone I was calm and asked myself, ‘What’s the best use of my time right now?’ And immediately a lot of good ideas popped into my mind. ‘I’ll write an article about how empowering it is to be the master of our attitude and after that I’ll go for a swim in a neighbor’s pool. Doesn’t sound like a bad way to spend the afternoon!’

Clearly, this was not a life or death situation nor was it an emergency but my expectations weren’t met and I was knocked off center. This happens in life. I was clearly frustrated and angry. This too happens in life. But what is also true at each and every moment is that we have a choice about how to view the circumstances we are presented with. While I did initially feel victimized yesterday and today, I actually did not give those feelings, and the thoughts that were fueling them, a long term lease in my mind. I acknowledged what I was feeling. Noticed I was being tempted by an attitude of victimization to indulge in a long term pity- party and I chose to be the master of my attitude.

Each of us has this choice before us at every moment. Am I victim of my circumstances or do I use my potentially frustration circumstances as a springboard, asking myself, ‘What is the best use of my time right now, given the goal I want to achieve?’ Use the following steps to be the master of your attitude when frustration, anger and disappointment are knocking on your door, or have even stepped inside:
1. Acknowledge what you are feeling. Sometimes it helps to vent to someone, who does not add fuel to the fire of your frustration.
2. Choose the feeling you desire. (I choose to feel peaceful, I choose to feel confident, etc…)
3. Ask yourself, “What is my intention, what is the goal I want to achieve? and listen to the answer.
4. With a clear outcome in mind ask yourself, “What is the best use of my time right now to feel ________________ and be successful?” and listen to the answer.
5. Take action consistent with what you desire.
6. Acknowledge yourself for being master of your attitude.

This article may be reprinted with the following acknowledgment:
©2009 Susyn Reeve & Joan Breiner. All Rights Reserved –

Author's Bio: 

Joan Breiner & Susyn Reeve, the creators of The Mind Manual System, have transformed their lives by using the tools and techniques presented on their website They know that maintaining a positive attitude starts with making a conscious choice and then knowing using the information, exercises, worksheets and Daily Inspirations, on their site, to support you in developing and maintaining a positive attitude no matter what is going on in your life.  Susyn is the co-creator of and the author of Choose Peace HappinessThe Gift of the Acorn and WITH Forgiveness Personal E-Workbook.

Additional Resources on Attitude can be found at:

Website Directory for Attitude
Articles on Attitude
Products for Attitude
Discussion Board
Joan Breiner, M.Ed. & Susyn Reeve, M.Ed., The Official Guides to Attitude