Attitudes count more than any other single thing. No matter who you are or what you do, your attitude can either create or kill your chances of success. The bigger the challenges you face, the more vital your attitude is.

In commemoration of the 20 year anniversary of ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act, the Seattle based Alliance of People with Disabilities www.Disabilitypride.org held a celebration on July 26, 2010. Quality speakers and entertainers kept the attendees interested and entertained, but like many of the west coast events of this nature that I’ve participated in, it was sparsely attended. My experience has been that similar events of this type are much more popular in the eastern states.
To me, it seems like this is directly related to the fact that West coast people’s attitudes toward people with disabilities are based on their limited exposure to events of this nature. Having more events like this would create a type of snowball effect.
Two particular events, among many similar events of this nature I’ve keynoted, one in Arkansas and one in Massachusetts, come to mind. Together, these events were filled with thousands of happy, positive, enthusiastic people who believe in the possibilities of people with disabilities. People with disabilities, like anybody else, feed off attitudes that give off positive energy.  
I don’t know if the East coast verses West coast difference in attitude is because of political party affiliation or because people who live in the East are more aware that this is a minority they could join at any time or maybe it’s because key people in the East have invested more money into helping people with disabilities become productive members of society.
 
It’s amazing to me that the world’s largest minority, people with disabilities, seem to be almost invisible on the West coast. If people weren’t so busy with their own duties, their own responsibilities, and their own lives, things may be different. Another factor that could change things is if people quit seeing themselves as though they were separate from everybody else.
We are all in this world together. Our attitudes and our actions effect each other. The more energy we spend helping each other and uniting ourselves, the less we’d have to spend on deadbolts to keep bad people out and the less we’d have to spend on psychiatric counselors to convince ourselves that we’re ok despite what other people say.
Somebody wrote a book several years ago called I’m OK, You’re OK. I never forgot the title. The reason I didn’t forget the title is because if it had been my book, I would have named it, I’m Not OK. You’re Not OK. That’s OK.
To me, that seems like a more accurate appraisal. Because, truth be known, sometimes I’m not ok. Sometimes you are not ok either. But having an attitude of acceptance both of ourselves and of others, and having an attitude of gratitude for the blessings we both have can make both those situations completely OK.
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