TODAY -

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so

S K Singh *



The great poet William Shakespeare in one of his several poetic flows once philosophized on the essence of life's beauty. He summed up his diverse discourse by saying, "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so". We cannot aspire to be around Shakespeare in such aspects as 'mood, thought or attitude' and the like, we humans face day in day out.

Plainly talking, yes, there are bad things as contrasted from good ones. The thought propounded by Shakespeare could be related to human behavior of reacting to situations or circumstances. Given the same situation different people may react differently in what could be governed by attitudes.

Reasons are aplenty. We cannot always control circumstances; but perhaps can control our own thoughts, our reactions to such circumstances. It may not be easy, but with a little bit of perseverance and determination perhaps we can. And this area called 'bit of perseverance and resoluteness' is something we can aspire to inherit.

This 'thinking' is a manifestation of our 'attitude' to a given situation or circumstances. People talk about a glass of water half filled differently; either 'half empty' or 'half full'. Both describe the glass with some water and therefore the situation perfectly right.

What differentiates is the way of appreciation or depreciation of the status of the glass with some water. Attitude is often described as 'mental filter' through which we experience our surroundings. In the instant case, some people see the glass through the filter of 'optimism', calling it as 'half full'.

The other group sees it through this filter of pessimism calling it as 'half empty'. Physically both explain the status of the glass with some water, correctly. The difference lies in the manner of seeing through the mental filter; one with a touch of 'negativity' and the other, 'positivity'.

I have recently stumbled on a book titled, "Attitude is Everything", by Jeff Keller. Jeff is a native Newyorker and is the founder and president of 'Attitude is Everything, Inc'. Trained as a lawyer, he left his profession rated as lucrative to turn to be a motivational speaker and has this day practices how one can have a positive attitude and scale new heights in life.

This Jeff talks about differences between a positive attitude and a negative attitude. In his words, he talks, "The person with negative attitude thinks, 'I CAN'T'". The person with the positive attitude thinks, 'I CAN'". Continuing, he adds, "The person with a negative attitude finds faults with others" while, a person with a positive attitude looks for the good in others".

Still another thought referred to by Jeff, "The person with negative attitude sees limitations, whereas, the person with a positive attitude sees possibilities". Elaborating, he sums up, "Your attitude is your window to the world".

Jeff argues that every one of us starts with a good attitude, in his words, 'clean mental window'. Talking about young children how they always giggle, laugh he called it 'sunny disposition'. When he stumbles and falls down while starting walking one or two steps at a time, he doesn't frown or blame the carpet or the floor. Nor he points a finger accusing his mother or somebody around. Instead he gleefully gets up, tries again and again smiling althrough.

In Jeff's words, the child has a squeaky window, perfectly clean. This Jeff terms as 'positive attitude'. But slowly but gradually life starts throwing some dirt at our window which gets splattered by criticism from parents, teachers and those around us. Our windows get smudged by ridicule from peers, smeared by rejections somewhere. Over time windows get soiled by disappointments, clouded by doubts about our own competence or the like.

The dirt keeps building up without much of a cleaning. This process continues through life, what Jeff terms, 'filthy window'. Frustration sets in, starts losing charm, enthusiasm all because they failed to clean their, what Jeff calls 'attitude window'. In his own words, the window is plastered with 'mud of negativity'.

The other day in the TOI of 26 October, an item titled 'Indian employees most confident of being better than bosses'. Glancing through it is reported that The Global State of Managers survey by Kronos finds that 95% of the Indian employees say they can do better job than their bosses 'all of the time'. This confidence level perhaps emanates from part of competence and as yet, quite a substance of positivity acquired or nurtured over time by these employees.

People often talk about 'success as a state of mind thereby inducing that success begins in the mind, nowhere else. Dr. Joyce Brothers, another great thinker said, "Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success."

Circumstances encountered by man are varied; we cannot control these circumstances more often than not. Great thinkers however claim that we can control our own thoughts. And here comes the big difference, if we can try to be positive or be carried away by negative thoughts or in its derivative the 'attitude'.

All said and talked, the greater issue is how to get ourselves motivated to choose 'positivity' rather than 'negativity' under a given situation. It's hard to prescribe a way. Professionals talk about attitude intimately linked with a person's available situation like, problems encountered, the seriousness of the problem, things happening in life deserve rating as devastating, continuing suffering from whatever reasons etc.

Jeff argues, even in such impossible circumstances, one can still choose one's attitude. He says, it's not easy but the fact remains, the choice is ours. In such a scenario, Jeff talks about a certain Dr. Victor Frankl, a former prisoner in the Nazi death camps, where he went through hell on earth became an author of 'Man's Search For Meaning', and quotes luxuriously from this best-selling book:- "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way……..Even though conditions such as lack of sleep, insufficient food and various mental stresses may suggest ……,in the final analysis it becomes clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision, and not of camp influences alone".

It is widely argued and advised that you and you alone, control your attitude. A man with a certain set of attitudes is the happy person irrespective of if he is beset in a certain set of circumstances.


* S K Singh wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be reached at kunjabiharis(AT)rediffmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on November 07, 2019 .


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