Mentor Tip: Keeping a Positive Attitude

Send this message to the mentors only.

Subject: Keeping a positive attitude

A positive attitude is often key to a successful life. Described below are ways that a positive attitude has enhanced the lives of people with a wide variety of disabilities. Contributors also share factors in their lives that helped them develop a positive attitude. Reflect on these responses as you mentor protégés in our e-community.

  • Most of our society is "average." As far as I can tell, "average" is a wide gap, and as far as I'm concerned, I fall somewhere in the middle of it. (adult with a mobility impairment)
  • I can attribute most of my positive attitude to the support system in my life—most importantly my parents. They've helped me to see the light and laughter in tough situations and have always been supportive with endeavors that help me to be successful in life. Most importantly, they've raised me to be an independent and outgoing individual, which goes hand in hand with having a positive attitude. They expected me to do on my own everything that was possible for me to do on my own. (college student who is paraplegic)
  • I spent a lot of my childhood in a hospital bed, so I would have gone crazy had I wallowed in the disease of self-pity. I've tried to refrain from wallowing in self-pity or self-righteousness. Both paths lead to nowhere. There were times, of course, when I absolutely hated being "disabled" and wished the struggles away. There were many things I wanted to do that I didn't really see myself doing from the "confines" of a wheelchair. For example, I wanted to dance....I mean REALLY dance....floating through the air. You just can't do that from a four-wheeled object, and, besides, I have quite a large ego and I'm pretty much a perfectionist, and I couldn't do it the way it was "supposed" to be done. But I DID dance, in my dreams....and so I learned to play the music that others danced to....and that was OK. (adult with a mobility impairment)
  • For me, being with the same peers all through my schooling gave me confidence because my peers learned to look past my disability. I was also active in Boy Scouts, earned my Eagle rank, and am still active as an assistant Scoutmaster. This gave me purpose and fun with a group. (high school student with a mobility impairment)
  • Sometimes I fall into the bad habit of negativity. I am, however, successful at swimming upstream, where I find myself able to catch my breath, gain some of my strength back, and carry on with this thing called "life." I still look forward to tomorrow, because I know there is something that I've yet to complete, some place that I've yet to discover, and some person that I haven't met who needs to see me smile or feel my touch or hear a bit of cheer. (adult with a mobility impairment)
  • I have a positive attitude, and I am optimistic about my future. This attitude was developed through a great deal of encouragement by adults and through my own experiences growing up. Also, the many new advances in technology that have given me opportunities in life contribute to this optimism. Doors are now open to me as far as jobs are concerned. (college student who is blind)
  • I think I have a positive attitude because all my life I've been around positive people. My parents know that there is no limit to what I can do, despite my disability. When my brother was born, I couldn't walk or even crawl, and I was three at the time. Now, I'm able to walk, with help from a walker or a cane. I feel optimistic about my future because I know I can do anything that I set my mind to. (high school student with hearing, speech, and mobility impairments)
  • Whenever I find myself not being positive, I try to put into perspective how fortunate I truly am, and usually what I'm upset about ends up looking pretty trivial. (college student who is paraplegic)
  • Whenever my positive attitude gets deflated, I always think that things could be a lot worse than they are, and that makes me thankful for what I do have and have to offer to others. Another key factor that helps to develop and maintain a positive attitude is finding something physically that I enjoy doing and am good at. For me, I love exercising and being in shape. So in my spare time I work out, run, and go rock climbing. (student who had a stroke)