You’ve got to look for it…

July 30, 2020

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this quote – “Be happy, not because everything is good, but because you can see the good in everything.”  (From CCS)

It is not always easy to see the good in people or situations that arise during the day. In fact, the easy way out is to just see and react negatively to the bad that you might encounter. It is unfortunately that so many (and I include myself in this group) tend to take the easy way out. We dismiss the hateful or unhappy people that we encounter without taking the time to think about what may be making them angry, hateful or unhappy, Moreover, because it is so easy to just dismiss them and move on, we seldom even consider what we could do to help them or to change their mindset. In the case of situations, it is often easier to bypass them than to try to resolve them in a good way.

Avoiding situations and people is certainly not a way to happiness; perhaps not even a way to avoid unhappiness. Spending the time and mental effort to find the good that is in people and situations forces us not only to think about what we are facing, but also to reflect on the reactions that we are having to them.  We need to understand and deal with our own feelings of fear or dislike or disgust first, before we can begin to take any positive actions or see the good in the situation.

We label some people  as Pollyanna’s because they always see the good, are always happy and seldom react negatively to people or situations. They are happy people, no matter what. Others might be called a “Gloomy Gus” or “Negative Nellie”, because they see the bad in almost everything. They are seldom happy people.  Most of us are somewhere in the middle, if those two extremes define  a spectrum. Whether you tend toward the Pollyanna end or the Gloomy Gus end sort of defines what people see in you as you react to the world around you.

The good news is that we have some control over ourselves and over the perceptions that others will have of us.  A simple technique is to stop and ask yourself the question, “Where is the good in all of this?”  Try to see the good in that person that you just encountered before letting stereotypes and prejudices take over your reaction to them. Look for the best possible outcome to a situation, before getting defensive about a possible negative outcome. To find and see the good, you have to look for it.

Just building that pause and reflection into your life will make an immediate change. Prejudices are built upon unsubstantiated and unthinking reactions to people, based largely on initial visual cues – color, hairstyle, tattoos, nose rings, clothing and other factors can cause immediate reactions.  Stop! Think! Do not allow yourself to react based solely upon those cues. Realize that those cues are triggers and the preconceived notions attached to them that have baked themselves into your brain are trying to control you. In most cases, that reaction tries to happen before you have even spoken to that person. Stop it! Look for the good. Say hello. Be friendly. Surprise yourself and you may be surprised at the good person that you have just met.

Today, before you start out, stop, look in the mirror and tell yourself that you will look for the good in people and in the situations that unfold in your life. Make that conscious effort in each encounter or situation to stop and look for the good. See if you aren’t a happier person at the end of that day. Then repeat.

If you look for the good, you will find it.

Look for good and focus upon it…

August 29, 2019

The quote that Jack used in his Jack’s Winning Words blog today is this short phrase – “Focus on the Good!”  (The Christophers)

Yesterday I wrote about putting a smile in your voice to make your day better and Jack left this comment – “SOMETIMES////EASIER SAID THAN DONE”. I suppose that I could return his comment as a comment on his post this morning.

It is sometimes very hard to focus upon the good because there is so much noise made about the bad. The evening news casts provide a prime example. Both local and national news shows seem to be focused upon telling us about all of the bad that has occurred. Locally it’s about who shot who, who robbed who, who carjacked who and on and on. At fire burning homethe national level it’s about large scale disasters or foreign wars (trade wars or shooting wars) or plane crashes or other bad news.

The national news organizations often fly their talking head to the scene so that he/she can stand in the devastation and report. The dumbest and most insensitive thing that all of the newscasters do, including Lester Holt, is to thrust a microphone in the face of a grieving person at the disaster scene and ask, “How does it feel to lose your entire family?” Just once, I wish someone would tell them to get the hell out of their face and leave them alone; but that response probably wouldn’t be shown on the newscast.

Some local newscasts and even at the national level, have been trying to balance things out a bit by taking a minute or two at the end of the newscast to show a good news or feels good story. It’s a start, but one has to endure the first 25 minutes to get to that part at the end.

smiling manHow does one focus on the good? It begins by resolving to look for the good – in situations and in people. There are many situations that are real or perceived setbacks in life – things that didn’t go as planned or as hoped. It is too easy to just see the bad in those situations and get down on life or on yourself. However, if you look hard enough there is good in even those situations, usually to be found in what didn’t happen or in the knowledge that you have gained.

A friend taught me a valuable lesson for life when he said, in response to me expressing my disappointment over something that had gone wrong with an event that we were responsible for running; “Well, at least nobody died.”  He was right. I was beating myself up for something that, in the great scheme of things, didn’t really matter all that much. Nobody died. I was focusing upon the bad and not all of the good that came out of the event. Now my wife and I both use that little phrase to stop ourselves from wasting too much time worrying about or regretting something that happened or didn’t happen that we probably had no control over in the first place.

What steps can you take to allow yourself to focus upon the good? First, you have to be looking for it. Go into every situation and every new relationship with someone looking for the good in it or in them. Second, you need to recognize the good. Sometimes the only good to come out of a situation is the learning that you get from it. If that is it, so be it. Learn from it and move on.

Finding the good in people is sometimes harder because it is difficult to put aside your preconceptions and prejudices. A good example is encountering someone that you don’t girl with nose chainknow who has visible tattoos or maybe a nose ring or perhaps just purple colored hair. Picture that and get a feel for your immediate reaction. Was it “Oh, wow, that’s so cool. I want to get to know this person better” or did you have a defensive reaction that caused you to shrink back from meeting that person? How will you be able to find the good in that person if you can’t even bring yourself to meet them and look for it?

How can you get in the right frame of mind to focus upon the good? Perhaps it is something as simple as asking God each morning to, “Help me see the good man prayingin all things and in all people today.”  At least you will start out the day looking for the good.  You may have to remind yourself several times during the day and maybe even remember that “at least nobody died” when you have a setback; but, I’m pretty sure that you’ll find some good in the things that occur and the people that you meet if you focus upon it. And that’s a good thing.

Have a great and focused day. Find the good!

Go for the gold…

March 10, 2016

“Anyone can find the dirt in someone.  Be the one who finds the gold.  (Proverbs 11:27) – as seen in recent weeks on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

We are in the silly season of political primaries and most of the candidates are all too happy to dish the dirt on each other. Only Bernie Sanders and John Kasich have tried to stay out of the dirt as much as possible; however, the reality of our national politics requires a tit for a tat and that usually means occasionally dishing dirt on the other candidates. I don’t think we hear very often one candidate saying nice things about the others – finding and sharing the gold in that person.

In our own, day-to-day lives, it is all too easy to join in the gossip at work about others or togossip toss off a hurtful remark about some dirt that you may have discovered about the other person. In truth the only reputation that you soil by doing so is your own. A much better way to spend your time is mining for the good (the gold) in that person; rather than joining in tearing them down.

Sometimes it is hard to see or find the gold in someone, especially if they have a particularly filthy past; perhaps even a criminal record. But there is good in us all and you have to make the effort to find it, even in those from whom you might initially recoil. You will make two people happy if you do – yourself for having made the effort and discovered the good (the gold) in that person and them because you had enough interest and faith in them to look for it.

diggingYou can find the gold (the good) in people, if you dig a little below the surface that they may present to the world by engaging them in conversation and exploring their “story”. Almost everyone starts with “their shields up”, so it is up to you to gain enough of their trust for them to drop those defenses and allow you to find and see the gold in them. You can do that by dropping your own shields and letting them see the gold in you.

So, be a gold digger with the people that you meet today. The rewards from getting to really gold barknow them will be better than gold and you may even make a new friend.

Go for the gold!