My grandpa was my hero. One of the things I loved most about him was how he had a positive attitude in almost every situation. He could be washing dishes after Thanksgiving dinner for an hour and he’d be whistling and smiling the entire time. If I was the one washing dishes, I’d have been grumbling and complaining. But he enjoyed it. More than that, he chose to do so. He only saw opportunities in life, not obstacles.
Think about a major problem that you are facing right now and ask yourself if you’re seeing it as an obstacle or an opportunity. What would happen if you changed your attitude about a task you dread? Is it possible that you could start to enjoy it?
Last week my wife and I had a lot of landscaping to do around our house. I was dreading it, and so was she. I thought of my grandpa and decided to change my attitude.
“What a beautiful, sunny day to be outside,” I said to my wife. “You know, it’s actually kind of nice to be spending this time together without the phone, TV, or any other distractions.”
As we were spreading mulch in the flower beds, I began to see my wife’s expression start to brighten up. She was starting to have fun, and so was I. At that moment, I realized that not only can I choose my own attitude, but doing so can help others improve theirs, too.
When we see our problems as obstacles, it forces us to focus on the problem and not on the solution. We subconsciously begin to make excuses and we can be defeated easily. When we shift our mind to see problems as opportunities, we become more constructive. It’s only a matter of conditioning our brain to make the switch from obstacle to opportunity.
Even if the problem can’t be solved, there’s almost always some knowledge or insight that can be gained. For example, many of us know someone who has suffered from a horrible disease such as cancer. Even in this grim situation, there is opportunity: it’s a chance to show that person how much you care. You also could pray for the person, contribute to a charity that is trying to cure the disease, and take the time to contemplate how precious life is. This might help you realize that you should spend more time with your family rather than work 60 hours a week.
Life is too short to allow yourself to be miserable when you could choose to be happy. No matter the size of the problem, my grandpa would find a way to see obstacles as opportunities. Make the same choice right now.
By Caleb Knecht