Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thinking Makes It So

I wanted to talk today about an idea expressed in Hamlet by William Shakespeare,

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

This is a powerful concept that can improve the quality of our lives dramatically, if we can embrace and practice it's wisdom.

Another way to state this principle is that what happens to us isn't nearly as important as our attitude and perspective towards what happens to us.

We can radically alter our experience of life if we take control of our reactions to the events in our lives. In many cases, we can't control what is happening in our life. The ONLY thing that we can control is our reaction and our response to it.

Labeling something as hopeless and negative restricts our capacity to constructively deal with it. Labeling something 'bad' and 'hopeless' causes our creativity and possibility thinking to shut down.

Looking for the possibility in any situation is what liberates our creative and innovative spirit.

The truth is, we can't possibly know when things happen, what the ultimate outcome will be. Some things that look very bad could turn out to be the best thing to ever happen to us! Some things that look very good could turn out to be big problems.

I believe our job is to not jump to conclusions when things happen to us. We are to accept what happens and do the best we can to constructively respond to whatever crosses our path!

Here's a little teaching story that illuminates this principle:

Good luck, bad luck

A father and his son owned a farm. They did not have many animals, but they did own a horse. One day the horse ran away.

“How terrible, what bad luck,” said the neighbors.

“Good luck, bad luck, who knows?” replied the farmer.

Several weeks later the horse returned, bringing with him four wild mares.

“What marvelous luck,” said the neighbors.

“Good luck, bad luck, who knows?” replied the farmer.

The son began to learn to ride the wild horses, but one day he was thrown and broke his leg.

“What bad luck,” said the neighbors.

“Good luck, bad luck, who knows?” replied the farmer.

The next week the army came to the village to take all the young men to war. The farmer’s son was still disabled with his broken leg, so he was spared. “Good luck, bad luck, who knows?”

Fighting and struggling against things that happen to us is not going to get us very far. WE have to adopt a more open approach to what happens to us. Then when really challenging things come upon us, we have all of our resources at our disposal to constructively respond.

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