I'm sure we've all asked this question of our children (or screamed it at them). The fact is, attitude and how we react to external factors is so much more important than the external factors themselves.
I was thinking this morning about a great quote by Charles Swindoll, a quote after which I try (sometimes unsuccessfully) to model my life. "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, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or 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 everyday 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% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes."
So, what does this have to do with emergency management or preparedness? In short, everything. Ten percent is what happens to you--a long term power outage, an evacuation due to flooding, being stuck in your home for 3 days because of a major winter storm. Ninety percent is how you respond to it. How you respond to the situation can be dependent on how well you've prepared for it--flashlights ready, evacuation kit already packed, disaster supply kit well stocked and ready. Now your bad situation is more of an adventure than a disaster.
Attitude and perception often go hand in hand. One person's perception of a "disaster" may be very different that someone else's. For example, if you ask my husband how many coats I own, he'd probably say I have a ridiculous amount. I would say I have a perfectly reasonable amount. What's reasonable to one person, may be completely ridiculous to someone else. (For the record, 4 coats is perfectly reasonable, each one has a unique function--duh!).
You can't control the fact that an earthquake leveled your house or you were without power for a week. But, the good news is you can control how it affects you and how you react to it, just by being a little proactive now. Control freaks of the world rejoice!
So, what will your attitude be?