Attitude, Actions or Appearance?

Another non-stop weekend has me (already) feeling exhausted this Monday. I kicked off the weekend on Friday with a 10 mile run along the beach after work. My buddy Ryan joined me for most of the way. I was thankful for that. It’s so much easier to run with a partner. It felt good but, needless to say, I called it an early night.

Then came the fun stuff. Saturday morning involved a 7am start to head over to Boy Scout Camp Elmore to participate in the C.O.P.E. Program Instructor Training, directed by my long-time friend Alex Gomez (let’s get real though, everyone just calls him Gomez). Just some quick background, C.O.P.E stands for “Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience” and consists of group initiative games, trust events, and low/high course events (i.e. ziplining, wall climbing) all in attempt to challenge participants as a group while developing individual skills and emphasizing eight major goals: communication, planning, trust, teamwork, leadership, decision-making, problem-solving, and self-esteem. Our group of eight (inclusive of another long term friend, Trevor) spent two entire days getting to know each other, learning about safety precautions, how to properly use equipment and manipulate the course, doing occasional handstands and, of course, playing Hug Tag (Note: if you have never played Hug-Tag, please contact me immediately for a demonstration). The whole thing was a new experience and something outside of the norm and, as you probably already know, I’m constantly looking to get involved in things outside of the norm.

During one of our reflective discussions Gomez imposed a question for debate. What do you think holds more weight: attitude, actions, or appearance? There’s no doubt that these three A’s all go hand-in-hand. Actions speak louder than words. The old saying exists for a reason. No one will ever believe a word you say until you back it up with an action. Give them some tangible evidence to support your claims. On the flip side, however, it is your attitude, after all, that drives your actions. So without that positive mental attitude (or “PMA” as Gomez likes to call it) there will exist no positive actions. And then what about appearance? We all have bad days where that PMA seems completely unattainable. It would be inhuman for every one of us to be cheerful and smiling 100% of the time. But what if you can fake it for the sake of those around you? Is it really just the appearance of happiness and optimism that matters?

Just something to think about as you start your week. I would love to hear your various thoughts and opinions on this. In the meantime, a few photos from the weekend. Happy Monday!

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8 thoughts on “Attitude, Actions or Appearance?

  1. I can say quite affirmatively that years ago during my ugly divorce, I, in turn, became a very ugly person in all three A’s. I was angry, which lead to desperate Actions. My attitude was dismal to EVERYONE around me, and my appearance was that of ugly, angry, disillusioned and disgruntled, mean, argumentative jerk. Not just my appearance actually. I WAS that way, inside and out. Eventually this cost me a LOT of personal relationships, both male and female, friend and family.

    A couple years passed and I realized I was very lonely. Still angry, still upset, but lonely because I had shoved away all my “happy” friends, out of jealousy I guess, and the dedicated ones left too, because I wouldn’t listen to their advice or try to snap out of it. I reveled in my “martyrdom” of victim mentality.

    So to try and attract some kind of attention again from the ladies, from my family, from my daughter, from the guys, I started flat out consciously ~pretending~ to be a happy, nice guy. And low and behold, visibly and actually pretty quickly, I found myself starting to attract new people who didn’t know the “before” side of my attempt at faking happiness. “Fake it till you make it,” I had been told before. And I did just that. It was fake but fooled everyone. People started actually sort of “flocking to me” in my world, holding me up as a standards bearer of optimism and happiness. I was baffled but didn’t want to mess with success.

    Here’s the kicker: Those people in turn, boosted my ego, spirits, and outlook, as well as my very damaged self-esteem. It was only a matter of time before I wasn’t really faking it so much anymore. Over time, I built a rather large group of friends and loved ones, repaired ~some~ of the relationships I had deemed lost, and found myself feeling loved, and of course in turn from that, happier than ever. And it was all because I quite pointedly “changed my appearance.”

    So my vote goes for Appearance. Or as Billy Crystal would say in his SNL skit – “It’s not how you feel, it’s how you look!” From my experience, how I “looked” made the difference for others in their acceptance of me, which in turn, lead to a difference in how I accepted myself. Which improved my attitude. And altered my actions.

    Today, I stand before you a very, very different man than the one with the crummy attitude, dangerous actions and horrible appearance of nine years ago.

    And now I am known by my 600+ Facebook friends as the guy trying to start the meme “Spread the <3" – and I think everyone of them would tell you I am a happy and optimistic appearing guy. My job is to be sure the rubber meets the road on that. That is my daily goal. To be sure my attitude, actions and appearance are something I can be accountable for, proud of, and still be capable of saying at the end of the day that I am happy with the way that I'm behaving.

    Good luck in your own journeys and self realizations!


  2. Malinda says:

    A question was posed to me today, what do I think holds more weight…
    Attitude, Actions, or Appearance?
    I do agree that all three of these A’s work together.
    I have always been told growing up that,
    “Actions speak louder than words”.
    Going along with that, you need to back up your words with action.
    Other wise, your words are a waste and eventually will become hollow and meaningless.
    Attitude, well I would be lying if I said that I don’t believe that attitude is important.
    I realize that you can’t always be a beam of sunshine 24/7, but sometimes,
    you need to squash the negative to keep moving forward.
    You are going to come across situations in your life that are down right ugly at times,
    but it is your attitude towards it that will ultimately determine the outcome.
    Then we come to Appearance, this one for me, is a work in progress…
    For you see, I think in this life we are consumed about appearances.
    We are so worried about what others will think, that some forget to take their own feelings and thoughts into consideration.
    They actually become almost an after thought.
    I am not saying that you should never worry about appearances,
    but they should not dictate your every thought or move.
    So which one holds more weight for you?
    Food for Thought…

    Great Blog!
    I actually used my response as you see above as my blog entry for
    Motivational Monday…
    Thank you for giving me something to think about & in turn hopefully I have given others something to think about! =)
    Keep Writing & I just wanted you to know that I really liked your entry…
    Don't be discouraged if you don't get many people that respond.
    I have been blogging for 2 years now & rarely do I get feedback…
    Don't take it personal…
    Keep doing what you are doing & have FUN with it !
    Best to you & Yours…


    • emialv says:

      Thank you for your comment and for sharing with the rest of the world!
      I don’t mind if not too many people don’t respond, as long as I know I’m getting some readers thinking. It’s good to know that I can catch a complete stranger’s attention and intrigue them enough that they feel the urge to write about it themselves, as you did. Again, thank you. I hope to share many more posts like this and hope you continue reading them! Stay tuned and keep on blogging 😉



    • Interesting point about worrying about appearances so much they supercede our own thoughts and feelings. In my case, as I wrote above, I did that on purpose. Sometimes the ends, justifies the means. But if you do it to make others happy, instead of to help you find your own internal peace like i did, well… you are on dicey ground in my opinion. As for you Malinda, it “appears” to me that you are on the right track 😉


  3. Malinda says:

    Here’s my Blog if you ever want to read mine…
    I write in it every day.
    Every Friday I put up a new recipe and Saturday I try to feature a new business.
    Monday is called Motivational Monday… =)
    Thanks again for Inspiring me…


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