Dr. Quintin Shepherd

Dr. Quintin Shepherd

I came across the following paragraph years and years ago, and I cannot remember the source. A quick check online and I found it is credited to several different sources. Regardless, I have come back to this paragraph time and time again in my leadership career as a source of inspiration and truth.

Whenever we are interviewing candidates for open positions, there are always some who stand out because of their attitude. Some people have an indomitable positive attitude. They all had a sense of struggle and many discussed various obstacles they had overcome, but they balanced those obstacles with a positive attitude.

“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, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think, 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 every day 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 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so, it is with you, we are in charge of our attitudes.”

I share this paragraph with you in the hopes it resonates with you as well. We have many students, families, and teachers starting in a new school next year. Some students are changing due to the mergers, some are moving from elementary to middle school and some will be moving into high school for the first time.

For any students who see these thoughts I am writing here, I hope you realize your attitude will determine far more than just about anything else when it comes to your future success. For the parents of these students, your attitude matters as well. Our attitude as parents shadows the perceptions of our children. Failure is a thought long before it is an outcome – the same is true for success.

I also want to write about our graduates. We have approximately 876 seniors graduating this past year, embarking on the next phase of their life. Regardless of whether these students are moving into the world of work, military or college, I hope they have learned this critical life lesson about attitude. Their future families, work relationships and happiness in life depend on it.

They are going to face challenges. They are going to face despair. They will face the unknown and unexpected. They will worry, and doubt and hesitate – we all do. If they can maintain a positive attitude through it all, they will not just survive. They will thrive.

I am excited for a great start to the 2019-20 school year. We have a tremendous amount of good news to share in the coming weeks. There is an amazing future in front of all of us, if we just adopt the right attitude. It’s time.

Dr. Shepherd is the superintendent of the Victoria Independent School District.

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