“Aw, what’s up with the weather today? My plans for the day are ruined! Damn it.”
“It’s raining today. Well, I couldn’t go BBQing but wait – now I have a perfect opportunity to finish that book/enjoy time with family and friends inside/*insert anything you want*!”
“My painting tablet won’t work anymore, I can’t do any work today. Crap!”
“My painting tablet quit on me. But I have paper and pen – that should work fine! And it gives me a good opportunity to practice some traditional drawing – let’s try to finish the client’s logo designs with some good old paper, graphite and ink.”
What I’m getting at here is – you guessed it – always accentuate the positive. See the opportunity that presents itself from the hindrance to your action. It is in your power to choose whether a thing is good or bad (because everything just is). There are very few events in life that can’t be looked upon with a positive and opportunistic viewpoint. I would actually argue that there is nothing that can’t be looked upon positively in some way.
Your car broke down? Well, time to bring out the bicycle and get some exercise – your body and mind will love it! Train is delayed 40 minutes? Awesome. Now you can squeeze in a quick meditation session and practice some patience, or whatever you wish.
It was the roman emperor-philosopher Marcus Aurelius (and many other great people of history and the present) who said that there is nothing that can happen to us that is either good or bad, it is what we think of it that makes it so. It is all about how we view it, and that with every hardship or obstacle that shows itself to us there will also come with it an opportunity. Also with the obstacles comes the opportunity to practice virtues such as patience, gratefulness, kindness, humility and so on.
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. Roman emperor-philosopher, 121 – 180 AD.
Example: lost your phone? It is a good reminder to always practice the virtue of gratefulness to what you own and have in your life that you take for granted. See what I’m getting at?
It is the habit of successful and generally happy people to admire and be open-minded to change and differences – not complain, judge people and share negative, self-constructed opinions about things. Positive energy attracts positiveness from all around; from every aspect of life. It also generates it into to your surroundings. But the same goes for negative energy. The subconscious does not care what you feed it, it will respond with equal or more of the same – so why not feed it with positive thoughts and opinions and reap the benefits of a positive feedback from within yourself?
Maybe you have noticed how much lighter and easier a situation becomes when someone brings in some humor and positiveness into it. And how, transversely, a moment can get ruined with a splash of negativity.
I’m not saying push down sad and angry thoughts and feelings and replace them with happy ones; let those exist, and just be a part of you that you understand, know and feel. I’m saying don’t let those emotions control your reaction to them – you have that power. Too many times you will see people lashing out in anger, acting purely in reaction to passionate emotion. Instead, acknowledge that they are just that; emotions, a part that exists in you and that they can’t control you. Again, you control you. And you have the ultimate power of forming your own opinions – use it.
Be humble, don’t judge or criticize others, see things as they are and not the negative imagined “truths” about them, and realize that there is something positive to take from every situation. Use the power you have of forming your own opinions to make them positive, fun and constructive.
There is so much to write on this subject of the stoic philosophy, but I want to end this article with a story of something seemingly very bad that happened Thomas Edison:
In early 1900s, in the high tide of Thomas Edison’s work and fame, a huge explosion engulfed ten of Edison’s research and prototyping buildings. Literally decades of work and millions of dollars were all wasted in a few small hours of roaring flames.
When Edison stood there, watching his work go up in flames, what did he do? Did he cry out in anger and dismay? Did he curse and blame his employees for not having proper fire security?
He did not. Instead, he smiled and told his son to go get his mother and her friends, because they will never see a fire like this again! His son objected and was confused, but Edison assured him that it was fine, that they simply just lost a bunch of rubbish. Edison later told the media he would rebuild, become better and stronger than before – he saw it as an opportunity to become even greater.
His entire friggin’ building complex burned down, millions of dollars in damages and all his work gone up in flames. He smiled, moved on, and got even stronger and more successful than ever before. There is a lesson here, guys – accentuate the positive and understand that there are hidden opportunities in all the obstacles that we face in life.
In this regard, be like Edison. Like Marcus Aurelius. Be the positive, awesome and opportunistic person you really are – there is always a positive way to see things, and take any of the impediments that block your way and use them for the furtherance of your own purpose.
Stay awesome, guys. Until next time!