You never know when a nugget will appear! It has always amazed me how we can often glean lessons from unexpected places, even from unwitting teachers. This morning, a title by ActiveRainer Kris Whales in her post http://activerain.com/blogsview/859064/How-a-mean-spirited-email-helped-me-orwhat-would-TLW-do peaked my attention. It was clear that Kris had taken that mean spirited message and turned it into a valuable lesson for herself. Right off the bat it reminded me of a couple of things worth holding onto:
- Titles are important ... if we want people to read our posts, we must first get their attention (she got mine...hopefully I got yours!)
- Teachers can sometimes appear out of nowhere, and their lessons can go "viral". That reminds me to pay attention to what lessons I glean as I travel through each day, as well as any lessons I pass along, intentional or not.
In reading her post, an old story popped into my head that I felt a sudden urge to pass along. I'll try to remember it (I heard it a LOOOONG time ago!), and I hope you'll enjoy it!
There once was a Dad who had two sons. The boys were young and just about as different as two boys could be. One son, Philip, was the eternal pessimist. Every silver lining had a cloud; his glass was always near empty; for every rose there were hundreds of thorns; no good deed goes unpunished; in other words, Philip hated everything.
On the other hand, Philip's brother, Oscar, was just the opposite. Oscar loved everything and everyone. Every day was filled with new opportunity; he saw every other person as his "dear friend" and treated them accordingly; whenever something unfortunate happened in his life, he considered it just that ... a brief, unfortunate event, but tomorrow will bring better things. Oscar was the eternal optimist.
One day the Dad decided to conduct an experiment. He put Philip and Oscar each into a separate room where he could watch their behavior. He filled Philip's room with all sorts of wonderful things - the sorts of things that boys his age generally love! There were great toys and games, all sorts of music and videos, an adorable puppy to play with, and the list goes on and on! What did Philip do? He moped and complained...everything was too big or too small; too complicated or too boring; nothing whatever seemed to amuse, entertain, or please him.
On the other hand, when Oscar went into his room it was filled with huge piles of manure! What did Oscar do? (Okay, folks, this is a joke, remember? Don't get hung up on the manure!) Oscar was absolutely squeeling with delight. He dug into that manure with so much gusto that his Dad simply couldn't contain himself! He simply had to find out what was going through Oscar's mind that would cause him so much delight! Dad opened the door and said to Oscar, "I don't understand it. Your brother has a room filled with every imaginable delight for a young boy, and still he pouts and mopes. But YOU, Oscar, here you are playing with that manure like it's the best thing ever! What are you thinking?" Oscar's reply was quite simple "With all this manure, Daddy, there's got to be pony in here somewhere!!!!"
All of this reminded me how much our lives get defined by our perceptions, our expectations. To paraphrase Henry Ford, "whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're usually right". Thanks, Kris Whales for jogging my memory and starting my morning with this wonderful nugget!