Remember when your parents (or maybe your grandparents) said “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” How many of us have used that same line countless times on our children? I know I have.
There really is so much wisdom in that simple little order, isn’t there? I mean, think of all the verbal and written trash we’re exposed to everyday, both in real life, and in virtual life via social media. The current political landscape just throws gallons of gas on that dumpster fire, right? But, when it comes down to it, if we could all just remember what our parents told us when we were kids, the world would be such a happier place.
Really, what it boils down to is taking the time to see the good. See the good in others. See the good in a given situation. I’m in the process of reading through the 10 scrolls in Og Mandino’s famous book “The Greatest Salesman in the World”. Each scroll, which contains wisdom for the ages, is to be read 3 times per day for 30 days. Two times quietly at breakfast and lunch, and one time aloud before retiring at night. This discipline allows for the formation of permanent habits.
I’ve been reading and re-reading scroll # 2 entitled “I will greet this day with love in my heart”. After numerous readings, what sticks out to me about the formation of a continually loving heart is this: We need to see the good.
Quoting from Scroll #2: “Henceforth, will I look on all things with love. I will love the sun for it warms my bones, yet, I will love the rain for it cleanses my spirit. I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will love the darkness for it shows me the stars. I will welcome happiness for it opens my soul. I will acknowledge rewards for they are my due, yet I will welcome obstacles for they are my challenge.”
See how the writer encourages us to look for the good? The sun may be scorching hot, but we love it for it warms our bones. The rain may drench us, but it can also cleanse our spirit. The darkness may scare us, but it shows us the stars. Even obstacles are not hindrances, but mere challenges. It’s all a matter of perspective, right? We all know that we can’t control things like the weather or our circumstances, but we can certainly control how we think about them. And when we get into the habit of looking for the GOOD in things, we, and the world are much richer for it.
Later on in the scroll, we read: “I will love all manners of men for each has qualities to be admired even though they be hidden. I will love the ambitious for they can inspire me. I will love the failures for they can teach me. I will love the meek for they are divine. I will love the rich for they are yet lonely. I will love the poor for they are so many. I will love the young for the faith they old. I will love the old for the wisdom they share.”
There is good to be found in everyone, even the failures and the poor. We just have to stop and think, and we’ll find them. Instead of reacting with our mouths, we should react with our minds. Just take the few moments to empathize with people. Everyone has a story, right? Just take the time to stop, think, and see the good. There IS good in everyone. There IS good in everything.
We just have to take the time to see it.
**Excerpts taken from “The Greatest Salesman in the World” Copyright 1968 by Og Mandino 2012. Published simultaneously in the United States and Canada by Bantam Books, New York, New York