That's So Yesterday....
When I first moved into my apartment, I loved all the natural light. My neighbors loved that feature as well. Now, my blinds are closed tight to keep out the 95-degree glare. When—and if—I venture out for a walk, fully protected in my sun hat and dark glasses, I see other folks have also closed their blinds. No natural light for us, this summer! Our perspective has changed.
Another example is this passport photo of me, taken when I was twelve-years-old. For twenty or thirty years I was self-conscious about it. Look at those huge front teeth! I felt like Bucky Beaver. Look at my hair! Curling every which way, and no style.
Now I see a cute young girl on the cusp of adolescence. Look at her bright eyes! She is so open and hopeful. Her smile is real and friendly, not faked. My perspective has changed.
And perhaps you have seen this before:
My childhood punishments have become my adult goals:
1. Going to bed early
2. Not leaving my house
3. Not going to a party
One of my favorite quotes is from the Stoic philosopher, Epictetus:
“Every pitcher has two handles, by which it may be borne.”
Meaning, the two handles are the two ways we can look at things. Something may be a positive or it may be a negative. Only time will tell.
You have no doubt heard the parable of the Chinese farmer:
A long time ago, a poor Chinese farmer lost a horse, and all the neighbors came around and said, “Well, that’s too bad. If only your son hadn’t left the gate open.” The farmer said, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”
Shortly after, the horse returned bringing seven wild horses with him, and all the neighbors came around and said, “Well, that’s good fortune. You are rich, now,” to which the farmer replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”
The next day, the farmer’s son was trying to tame one of the wild horses and fell, breaking his leg. All the neighbors came around and said, “Well, that’s too bad. Now your son cannot help you and you will become impoverished,” and the farmer replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”
Shortly after, the emperor declared war on a neighboring nation and ordered all able-bodied men to come fight—many died or were maimed, but the farmer’s son, unable to fight, was spared due to his injury.
And all the neighbors came around and said, “Well that’s good fortune. Unlike you, we have all lost our sons,” to which the farmer replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”
So, it is in life.
My friend fell and broke her shoulder. What a calamity! But the x-ray also revealed suspicious shadowing in her lung. She had the beginnings of cancer, that was thankfully caught early. Had she not broken her shoulder…..
Has your perspective changed on something in life? Did a negative turn into a positive? Or a positive turn into a negative?