Text and Photo by Henrylito D. Tacio
One day, a lady who lived in town looked out of her window and saw a big truck pull up to her house. Out jumped five rascals and started unloading electric guitars and loudspeakers, and drums. They took them into the neighboring house.
The woman was furious. Now, her night’s rest and her ears and her life would be ruined by all the noise that would come from the house.
Her husband came home from work, and she started to scream at him. “We’ve got to move away from here, or else we’ll go deaf and mad with that string band next door,” she said.
But he calmed her down a bit and said, “Honey, why are you angry? Don’t you realize who those musicians are? They are a famous Sanguma Stringband that plays overseas to large crowds. We should be glad they are here: we’ll be getting all this famous music for free.”
His wife’s frown turned into a smile. She ran to the telephone and began to call her friends to come over sometime and take advantage of the presence of the Sanguma Stringband.
How attitude changed everything!
William James, an American psychologist, once said: “The great discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitude of mind.”
“A positive attitude is most easily arrived at through a deliberate and rational analysis of what’s required to manifest unwavering positive thought patterns,” explains H.E. Davey, the director of the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts. “First, reflect on the actual, present condition of your mind. In other words, is the mind positive or not?
“We’ve all met individuals who perceive themselves as positive people but don’t appear as such,” he further explains. “Since the mind is both invisible and intangible, it’s therefore easier to see the accurate characteristics of the mind through a person’s words, deeds, and posture.”
Davey cites an example: If you say, “It’s absolutely freezing today! I’ll probably catch a cold before the end of the day!” Then your words expose a negative attitude. But if you say, “The temperature is very cold” (a simple statement of fact), then your expressions, and therefore attitude, are not negative.
“Sustaining an alert state in which self-awareness becomes possible gives us a chance to discover the origins of negativity,” Davey says. “In doing so, we also have an opportunity to arrive at a state of positiveness, so that our words and deeds are also positive, making others feel comfortable, cheerful, and inspired.”
In Meditation: Insights and Inspirations, Amit Ray wrote: “It does not matter how long you are spending on the earth, how much money you have gathered or how much attention you have received. It is the amount of positive vibration you have radiated in life that matters.”
“What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity?” asked J. Sidlow Baxter was a pastor and theologian who authored as many as thirty books. “Our attitude toward it. Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity.”
Among the students at a well-known college was a young man who used crutches. A homely sort of fellow, he had a talent for friendliness and optimism.
He won many scholastic honors and the respect of his classmates. One day, a classmate asked the cause of his deformity. “Infantile paralysis,” he answered.
“But tell me,” the friend said, “with a misfortune like that, how can you face the world so confidently?”
“Oh,” he replied smiling, “the disease never touched my heart.”
Of course, you heard of Thomas Alva Edison, who was named by Life magazine as the number one man of the millennium. John C. Maxwell, author of 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, gives some qualities on what made famous.
“Probably the most notable display of Edison’s positive attitude can be seen in the way he approached a tragedy that occurred when he was in his late sixties,” Maxwell wrote. “The lab he had built in West Orange, New Jersey, was world famous. He called the fourteen-building complex his invention factory.”
Of course, Edison loved the place very much. “He spent every minute he could there. He even slept there, often on one of the lab tables,” Maxwell wrote. “But on a December day in 1914, his beloved lab caught fire. As he stood outside and watched it burn, he is reported to have said, ‘Kids, go get your mother. She’ll never see another fire like this one.’”
Had it happened to you, you would definitely have been crushed. But not Edison; after the tragedy, he was quoted as saying: “I am sixty-seven but not too old to make a fresh start. I’ve been through a lot of things like this.”
The statement of Rodolfo Costa is a fitting statement to end this piece. “Cultivate an optimistic mind, use your imagination, always consider alternatives, and dare to believe that you can make possible what others think is impossible,” he wrote in Advice My Parents Gave Me: and Other Lessons I Learned from My Mistakes.