President’s Column - September 2017 - by Mike Hodson

Mike Hodson


  Attitude has been a constant struggle my entire life, especially before age 30. From the outside looking in, it seems utterly ridiculous that my attitude would be anything but unwaveringly positive 24/7/365. Having spent my formative years in Southern California enjoying the relaxed culture, magnificent weather and a very strong and supportive family structure, it is dif cult to imagine how my life could be dramatically improved.

   My two biggest role models, Mom and Dad, were both very capable while very different in their approaches to life and tackling the problems of everyday existence. Dad was always the one to work harder to find a solution. Perfection was never the goal, but failure was inconceivable. Mom had a totally different perspective -- creativity was her way. She would find an alternate path which led to the same goal. Perfection was the goal which had been instilled in her from a very young age. Her family held her to extremely lofty goals, and she suffered accordingly her entire life.

   Although I never felt family pressure to achieve perfection, I managed to regularly place that burden on myself. Frustrated by being unable to achieve that unrealistic goal, my attitude suffered. My temper got the best of me at times during academics, sports and hobbies.

   Not being the sharpest knife in the drawer, it took many years to realize my fundamental problems: inappropriate expectations coupled with impatience and a lack of understanding of what truly matters in life, resulting in a poor attitude on my part.

   Somewhat surprisingly, surviving an extremely difficult personal relationship turned my world around. Emerging from the fog, my view of the world changed for the better. I began to appreciate what I had been missing, and what used to seem important became petty details. Learning to accept and embrace family and friends as they are was a big step in the right direction. Being satisfied with my career and personal life, along with taking a realistic view of my limitations, helped to calm me in ways never expected.

   Although the demons from the past occasionally rear their ugly heads, I try very hard to live in a productive frame of mind. My goal is to be friendly and considerate to everyone, and the corresponding ability to brighten someone’s day is wonderful. Making the simple effort to help pays off, and I believe that positive energy is easy to share.

   Certainly the world has enough sadness and woe already, especially if one listens to the popular media, which thrives on suffering and pain. Try the high road. It feels good, it makes others feel good, and you won’t regret it.

   Everywhere I go, everything I observe and everyone that I meet makes me deeply grateful for the wonderful life I lead. My problems, concerns and worries are silly compared to the vast majority of the human race. The positives vastly outweigh the negatives; therefore, I need to get my head screwed on straight, appreciate the benefits and act accordingly.

   Attitudes are contagious. Is yours worth catching?