The Power of Attitude: A Reflection on Charles Swindoll’s Wisdom

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

– Charles F. Swindoll


Charles Swindoll, a renowned author and educator, lived by his statement “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.” This statement encapsulates a profound truth about human existence and our journey throughout life, and highlights a principle that is often overlooked, yet is fundamentally transformative: the power of attitude.

Attitude vs. Facts: A Paradigm Shift

Swindoll’s perspective offers a paradigm shift: in a world where we are often overwhelmed by facts, data, and the tangible aspects of life, he instead emphasizes the supremacy of attitude. This bold statement, which suggests our internal mindset holds more weight than external realities, is not to undermine the importance of facts or education, but to elevate the role of attitude in shaping our experiences.

Beyond Circumstances: The Role of Attitude

Swindoll asserts that attitude is more crucial than our past, education, financial status, or circumstances. This view challenges the common belief that our life’s trajectory is primarily shaped by external factors. Instead, it places the power back into our hands, highlighting that our reaction to events is what truly defines our journey.

Attitude in Success and Failure

In success and failure, attitude plays a pivotal role. It is not the events themselves that determine our future, but how we respond to them. A positive attitude can turn a failure into a learning experience, while a negative mindset can diminish the value of success.

The Impact on Society

Swindoll extends the significance of attitude to collective entities: companies, churches, and homes. The collective attitude within these institutions can lead to their making or breaking. His belief is a reminder that the spirit we cultivate in our environments can have far-reaching effects.

Choice: The Ultimate Freedom

Perhaps the most empowering aspect of Swindoll’s quote is the emphasis on choice. Every day, we have the freedom to choose our attitude. This choice is independent of our past or the inevitable events of life, and creates a form of control in an unpredictable world.

The 10% and 90% Rule

Swindoll’s formula – life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react – is a powerful reminder of our agency. We might not control the events, but we certainly control our responses. This ratio underlines the extraordinary influence of our attitudes.

Swindoll’s words offer more than mere inspiration; they provide a roadmap for living. By recognizing the paramount importance of attitude, we unlock a level of personal empowerment that can transform not just our own lives but also the world around us. As Swindoll wisely puts it, we are in charge of our attitudes. Embracing this power can lead to a life of resilience, positivity, and profound impact.


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