When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!
I recently heard this and I love the optimism this phrase reflects. I guess the meaning behind this suggests that life’s difficulties are like lemons, not very sweet and not very pleasant. The idea that you make lemonade with the lemons life gives you, is putting a positive spin on a negative. It’s such an optimistic and encouraging attitude. I particularly love this poem I came across:
“Life handed him a lemon,
As Life sometimes will do.
His friends looked on in pity,
Assuming he was through.
They came upon him later,
Reclining in the shade
In calm contentment, drinking
A glass of lemonade.”
It’s hard to stay positive when things go wrong, but it helps if we learn to think of problems as challenges. Everything in life can have a positive or negative spin. A person can have attributes that to some may seem negative and to others they are positive. For example, a person can be seen as greedy but somebody else sees them as ambitious. Or somebody keeps spending money without thinking, they could be thought of as generous instead. Of course every situation has to be judged on its own merit, but the way we perceive the same situation or person, can be negative or positive. Imagine asking 10 people to go and watch the same film. My guess is that you will get several different opinions on what they saw. Some people will like it, others won’t. It depends on each person’s perception.
The black dot
There is a lovely story that illustrates the need for positive thinking.
A teacher once surprised his students with the announcement of a test. This was something nobody had prepared for but the teacher gave them a piece of paper and told them to write something about what they saw on the paper. The paper only had a black dot on it. “I want you to write what you see” the teacher said. The pupils were unsure, but they all wrote something about the black dot. Most had focused on where the black dot was placed, some had written about the size of the dot. The teacher said: “All of you have focused on the black dot. But nobody has written about the white part of the paper.” And that’s exactly what we do in our lives. We focus on the black dot, on the smallest part of the image. We focus on the negatives, the dark spots in our lives, instead of seeing the bigger picture. There are only very few dark spots in our lives and yet we focus on them. Focus on the bigger picture, the black spot is not all there is.
A half empty glass
Some people always believe their glass is half empty. They don’t ever see it as half full. The glass is the same for both but their perception is different. It is much easier to feel happy and content if you are the kind of person who perceives things as positive rather than negative. The people whose glass is always half full, are much more likely to achieve what they want because of their perception. And their perception affects their attitude. Their attitude in turn helps them to achieve what they want.
But a positive attitude is not easy to have when things are going wrong, right? That’s true to some extend but you can make a choice. You can choose the positive over the negative. It just takes a bit of practice, but we can all try to do this whenever negative thoughts enter our minds. Swap ‘I have a horrible job’ for ‘I have a challenging job’. The job doesn’t change but your attitude towards it will.
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