It’s all about attitude

00-08 patch

00-08 patch

I graduated from Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training at Columbus Air Force Base with Class 00-08 on April 28, 2000.

I don’t recall how we came up with our class patch or how we decided on the simple statement on top of the patch, but it certainly has proven to be extremely accurate.

As I reflect on it, looking back now nearly 17 years, that simple statement has had so many different meanings. At the time, I think we were just trying to come up with something catchy and not necessarily so prophetic. This simple statement, applicable to so many different situations, has really become a small yet powerful reminder of how we should live, lead and follow.

I can’t think of any situation that’s ever been made better with a bad attitude; however, the simple insertion of a positive attitude can mean all the difference. Imagine if when Apollo 13 made their historic call back to Earth, “Houston, we have a problem,” mission control had come back with something like, “well, you’re screwed,” or something of that nature. How about if when Neil Armstrong stepped from the ladder of the lunar lander he had remarked, “That’s one small step for man and hey, this place sucks, there’s nothing here,” considering the vacuum of space and landscape stretched out before him and all.

Would these events have been the same? I doubt it. In fact, I contend that neither of these events would have even occurred because the United States wouldn’t have even attempted such lofty feats. Both of these examples were made possible through positive attitudes in the face of extreme challenges.

Fast forward to today. Our Air Force, the Department of Defense and our nation as a whole is facing some very big issues. It seems like all anyone is talking about these days is negative. As a leader, if you approach the myriad of challenges with a bad attitude, it will infect your organization at every level.

Pretty soon an effective organization will falter and or fail. Likewise, as a follower, a bad attitude will tend to cloud your vision, impact your judgement/decision making and could lead to a myriad of negative consequences. As the Air Force has shrunk, the importance and impact of every individual has increased.

Our nation has become ever more reliant upon the power we can project. The demands placed upon each of us that make up the Air Force will only increase. We need every one of our members to be an effective part of the team and, “It’s All About Attitude.”