This week, let’s consider how to be positive.
How do we face the issues of the day without those things depressing us, because if they do, most likely we will then depress others. How do these issues impact us and what can we do about it? Not much we can do about military action or the southern border or inflation or Congress’ inaction or irresponsible action. We follow the law, and vote when we can.
Although we really can have little impact on these macro-issues, these issues can absolutely influence our attitude and outlook and even mental stability. How do you get and stay positive when we live in a relentless tsunami of bad news? We must keep talking and sharing and focusing on being positive because life just isn’t easy.
Does this sound like a repeat of a previous column? I believe that the fight to get and remain positive is a lifelong challenge. So although the topic may be a repeat, please notice that I am tapping into other great minds in history. They did, as we do, fight these same battles so our attention must always be focused on what lies before us.
As I have asked before, why would you listen to me about anything? Well, as President Gerald Ford said, “I have a lot of experience with people smarter than I am.” And from across the political aisle, President Woodrow Wilson said similar, “I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow.”
Here are two achievers that are modest as well. So I know that wisdom was here before I arrived on the scene as was the power of positive thinking and as a dad, a grandfather, a manager, a Scout leader, a church goer, it is my job to absorb the lessons of life and experience and to pass such things along.
You stand in this world as an individual, surrounded by good and bad with little ability to change it for the better. So what do you do? For starters, think positively. The Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill said, “The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.” He also said, “It would be wrong not to lay the lessons of the past before the future.” Hold that thought a moment.
The most positive guys I have come across are sports coaches, particularly football coaches. Perhaps I will write my next column on that but take this one for now. The great Vince Lombardi said, “Sooner or later, the man who wins is the man who thinks he can.”
Noted author, Oxford and Cambridge professor, C.S.Lewis said, “You can’t go back and change the beginning but you can start where you are and change the ending.” Think about that a minute and follow it up with this from Lincoln, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.”
Do you understand now why I borrow all the brains I can? These words are available to you too if you read. When I was a kid and told to do my homework, I had to turn off only one screen.
The other day I was watching the news while reading some interesting website and checking my email on my phone. Three screens! All this and I’m a geezer! Help me Jesus!
Think for a moment the pull that all this stuff has on your kids and we wonder, and they will wonder someday, what can I do to change things? How can I be positive in the midst of this never ending storm? The answer is, you change yourself. That, all too often, is a matter of perspective. Once again, consider these words from Lincoln, “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.
1. Put down the screens or other such distractions from living. Read. Get out in the world. Have an impact on a group or an individual.
2. You do you. That is, be true to yourself. To do you, you must be you. Do what interests you and do it well and work hard on it.
3. Have courage and faith. In the Book of James, Chapter 1, Verse 12, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
4. Start Now.
We are all on this journey of life but at different places along the trail. Some of us are walking uphill and some downhill and some along a well-worn path. But remember as Churchill said, “It would be wrong not to lay the lessons of the past before the future.” He was speaking of the panoply of history, responsibility, accountability and the grand canvas that lays before us all.
It is nonetheless appropriate for the individual who learned something along the trail, the past, to reach out a hand of kindness to help someone else along their path, their future. That hand you reach out today may be the only positive experience for that person. Be that positive person, the one that others look to for strength and courage.
We can be positive and encouraged when you know the truth of Lamentations 3:22, “Through the Lords’ mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.”
• William Peterson recently retired to Ottawa after working in the hotel industry for 40-plus years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.