I thought you might like this drawing by M C Escher. Sometimes, you can’t change our situation right away. Maybe you feel stuck in a job, but you are hesitant to find another because of the economy. It could be that you have some health issues that took years to develop, and will now take time, effort and lifestyle changes to resolve. Sometimes it helps to step back and change your perspective on things. Here’s a little story to illustrate the point.
There was a man who was deeply discouraged. Talking things over with his pastor, he said, “Nothing’s going right in my life. I don’t have any reason to be positive.” In response, the pastor said, “All right, let’s try a little exercise.”
He got out a pad of paper and drew a line right down the center of the page. “On the right side, we’re going to list all the good things in your life, everything that’s going well. On the left side, we’re going to list out all your problems and all the things that trouble you.”
The man responded that there wasn’t going to be anything on the good side. The minister replied, “That’s ok, let’s just go through the exercise anyway.” The man agreed and wrote out his lists.
When he saw the list, the pastor said, “I’m so sorry to hear that your wife passed away.” The man jumped up and said, “What are you talking about? My wife is alive and healthy!”
The pastor said, “Oh,” and wrote down on the good side, “Wife is alive and healthy.” Then he said, “I’m so sorry the hear that your house was foreclosed on.”
Again, the man was surprised and argued, “My house wasn’t foreclosed on. I’m totally current on my payments.” The pastor wrote on the good side, “Able to make house payments.” Then he said, “I’m really sorry to hear that you lost your job. You got laid off.” Now the man was more upset than surprised.
“What are you talking about? I’ve got a great job.” The minister wrote down, “Has a great job.”
Finally, the man caught on. He said, “Give me that list.” Then he wrote down several good things that were in his life.
By the time he finished up his session with the pastor, his perspective had changed. He began to focus on the good rather than the negative. The pastor’s simple exercise totally changed his attitude, and he began feeling better about himself and his situation.
It’s important to realize that the man’s circumstances didn’t change, but rather his outlook. Sometimes we want all our problems to simply go away, so that we can make a new start instantly. But that rarely happens.
A better place to start would be to change our perspective. Focus on the positive while working toward eliminating the negatives. Get out that pad of paper and give it a try.