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When I was a kid I got sick a lot. I had the lungs of a fish, and I breathed just about as well as one out of water. When I didn't feel good I would always seem to end up with bed head in my PJ's laying on the couch with bed head - watching TV and reveling in my misery. I never got to stay there for long, because my father would eventually find me and give me these sage words of wisdom; "Get up and take a shower and put on fresh clothes, son. When you look better you feel better."

It didn't take me too many times of hearing this to start doing it on my own, and to this day when I don't feel good, I am hurting, or what have you, I go have a long nice shower and put on some decent clothes. It does nothing for how I physically feel, but my old man was right, I always feel much better in my head when I make an effort to look better. It forced me to change my attitude.

Attitude is an important thing to an amputee, be it a good one or a bad one. Your attitude can be the difference between a quick and solid recovery and sitting in a wheelchair. Losing a limb (or in my case multiple limbs) is something no sane person wants to think about, but if you are facing this a bad attitude will do you irreparable harm. If all you can think about is the bad things, if that fills the void in your mind, you will not have a good recovery. You might just end up on your couch in your PJ's with bed head, and stay there for the rest of your life.

It's so easy to tell someone else to look on the bright side of things, but when you are facing limb loss there just doesn't seem to be a bright side. You have to change your attitude and find the good that has come from the bad. For some that means no more pain, and for others it might simply mean you survived an accident - but there is something. Look for that bright point, find it, and stay focused on it. Don't look away, ever. That is the key to keeping a good attitude not only with limb loss, but life.

One of my favorite things to say to anyone with a bad attitude has always been "Modify your tone," and I have said this to my son, my employees, and even other amputees. No one likes a bad attitude, and bad attitudes are contagious. If you feel a bad attitude coming on, try to modify your tone, and if you get those bad vibes from others, tell them to modify their own tone, because you don't need it around you. My father taught me to modify the tone of my attitude at an early age, and that lesson has served me well.

Having a bad attitude day? Get up and change it, your the only one who can. Modify your tone.

Want to see how a positive attitude helped me recover? Go check out my new book Stand Tough.

B Neil Brown

March, 2014

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