Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life
Several years ago I read a powerful story, which is still circulating on the internet. I don’t know if the story is true, but it gives a profound life-lesson. The story is about a wise elderly man who owned a gas station on the edge of a Southern town in the United States. Since the population of the town was growing, people (who were moving into the town) occasionally stopped at the gas station.
Whenever these “new arrivals” would ask the elderly man what the people were like in the town, he would avoid giving them a direct answer. Instead, he would ask, “What were people like in the town you came from?” If they responded, “The people where I came from were selfish and unfriendly,” he would reply, “You will find the people here are just like that too.” If they responded, “The people where I came from were kind and friendly,” he would reply, “You will find the people here are just like that too.”
The wise man realized that if we expect people to be friendly and kind, we ourselves will act friendly and kind. Most people will respond to us accordingly with friendliness and kindness. As an anonymous writer observed, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Fortunately, negative thinking is a habit and like all habits it can be changed. The following quotes remind us of the importance of choosing a good attitude:
“People see the world not as it is, but as they are.”
“Life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it.”
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”
-Victor E. Frankl
“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”
“The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.”
“We are influenced not by ‘facts’ but by our interpretation of facts.”
“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.”
“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”
-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.