Attitudes are transparent

Column by Michael Norton

Posted 12/29/12

The other day I was speaking with my friend Otto up in Beaver Creek, and since it was the night before my first day of skiing for the year, Otto was …

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Attitudes are transparent

Column by Michael Norton


The other day I was speaking with my friend Otto up in Beaver Creek, and since it was the night before my first day of skiing for the year, Otto was sharing his experiences as he had already been on the hill a few times.

Now Otto is one of those guys who is always smiling and in a good mood; he makes my day every time I just run into him. As he was telling me about how the mountain changed with the recently fallen snow and how much the ski conditions had improved, his eyes became brighter and his smile even bigger. In a ski town snow changes everything, including and maybe even especially attitudes.

Jimmy Buffett sings about it right, “It's these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes, nothing remains quite the same. With all of our running and all of our cunning, if we couldn't laugh we would all go insane.”

So what changes your attitude for the better? Is it the snow? Is it your latitude or location? Is it another person? The funny thing about attitudes is that they are so transparent. People think they can do a good job of hiding their feelings or try and put on their very best poker face, but the reality is that our attitudes are seen in our faces, noticed in our body language, and heard in the tone of our voice.

And I think what I enjoy most about this is when someone approaches me and says, “You look like you are having a good day.” Has that ever happened to you? I am sure it has and I am sure you beamed even brighter and continued with a positive attitude and great day.

Now there are those things that change our attitude for the worse. And the problem with this is that it is not only our good attitudes that are transparent; when we are wearing an angry, upset, envious, or selfish attitude, others will see that immediately too. And when this happens, the whole dynamic of a room, conversation, or a relationship can change.

So what does this all mean? Obviously we are all influenced at some level by outside forces like snow and vacations or locations that bring out our positive side. And we are also hurt or disappointed by things outside of our control that bring out the negative attitude. So we have to find that inner strength, that inner solace and peace, and an internal positive attitude that we can rely on in any circumstance or during any change.

I am fairly certain that if I met Otto anywhere, in the market, at a coffee shop, on the mountain, in the gym, or while he was working I would always see him smiling. He has a superb inner positive attitude.

In a ski town snow changes everything, even for people who already have an optimistic outlook and positive attitude. We first need to recognize the important role that attitudes play in our own health and well-being as well as the impact that our attitude will have on others. Then we must identify what gives us our unflappable inner strength and resolve to maintain the right frame of mind and positive outlook. And lastly, we should allow ourselves to find and embrace those things in life that take our attitudes to an even higher level.

I would love to hear how you manage your inner attitudes and all of the things that change your attitude for the better at And trust me, a positive outlook and attitude will certainly make this a better than good week.

Michael Norton, a resident of Highlands Ranch, is the former president of the Zig Ziglar organization and CEO and founder of



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