How Looking for the Good will Help You Find it
Have you ever wondered why so many people look for the negative?
From the moment they wake, humans spend most of their days looking for this, that or the other. They often get to see wonderful things like the sun rising and smiling faces, but they also look in the mirror and see certain things they just don’t like or want to see.
That’s because humans often focus on what is wrong and what the eye can see. And often these eyes look in the same places because humans are creatures of habit.
I had a lot of trouble with my eyes for many years. I’d see a weary face after a heavy night, while the sight of a happy family was a reminder of something that I would never see again – my parents. But then from time to time, the veil drops and such human tendencies are challenged.
Some years ago, I spent one year riding a bicycle through Africa. I was sleeping in a tent and travelling across every type of exotic landscape you can imagine, the first of which being the Namib Desert.
Being the oldest, driest desert in the world, I was terrified of getting lost or stranded and being swallowed up by the desert. And I’ll never forget that first day when I began pedalling toward the horizon, while looking at this barren landscape that was seemingly “empty”.
A short while later, I stopped to drink some water and heard a strange noise to my left. While squinting toward the sun, I could just about make out a herd of zebra in the distance. It was a magical sight and I would see many more up close because they didn’t seem bothered by the unusual sound or sight of a bicycle. Further on, while pitching my tent, I stopped to sit down and watch the most striking sunset that I had ever seen. And then suddenly it was dark but while peeping my head through the tent door, I looked up to a blanket of shining stars that was so intense it made my jaw drop.
I lay down in the tent that night and worried what other animals might be lurking in the dark. But such was the pain in my thighs from cycling, I began drifting off to asleep, with a suspicion that I was not in an empty desert but surrounded by a most mysterious and magical world.
When you put a hand to each side of the face and take a peek, the eyes only see whatever shows directly in front. I heard Pat Divilly talk about this before and suspect this was often “how I looked” before cycling through Africa. I saw only what lay in front of my eyes and this was self limiting behaviour that produced the same or similar results over and over.
I should say that taking “these hands down” doesn’t mean I don’t see the bad anymore but it gives me a better and more rational perspective. It allows me to see opportunities instead of worrying about failure and feel calm even when everything else seems to be falling apart.
But what’s the moral of the story here?
It’s important to pay attention to your thoughts and notice whatever thoughts might not be serving you well. And just as importantly, it serves well to look for the good and positives in people and life and even inside your own self. Because the eyes will often want to focus on everything that is wrong – in spite of all the good things about people, life…and even you.