What do you see when you look out of your window at the world? Do you see the proverbial glass half empty or half full? When you get up in the morning do you say, “Good Lord, it’s morning,” or “Good morning, Lord.” When setbacks knock you down, do you get back up or do you stay down? The world can appear pretty threatening and grim when our mental disposition is covered with fear, doubt, and pessimistic thinking. Price Prichett in his excellent book, Heart of Optimism writes, “Which can do more to increase a person’s lifespan – positive emotions or not smoking? A famous fifty year study produced a remarkable finding. Specifically, those who were positive and optimistic lived on an average longer than those who had more negative thoughts and emotions. Compare that to the benefit of not smoking which increases life expectancy only by seven years. Research indicates that negative thoughts and emotions are more hazardous than cigarettes to your health and life expectancy.”
Optimism is defined as “the tendency to expect the best possible outcome or to dwell on the most hopeful aspects of the situation.” Optimism is the way that you perpetually interpret and explain things that happen to you. This is especially true for roadblocks and obstacles. Pessimism is psychologically fatal. It is emotionally infectious. And since the mind and the body are inseparably connected it should be no surprise that people who are not optimistic experience more health problems, physical illnesses, and depression.
Your mind is like a living magnet constantly drawing to you the things, people, resources, and circumstances in harmony with the thoughts that occupy your mind. If you will fill your mind with pessimistic thoughts you in turn will draw negative events into your life. If you have negative expectations about your ability to achieve a goal or accomplish a task, then it is certain that you will have a difficult time. On the contrary, if you fill your mind and life with optimistic, positive expectations, positive experiences and events will come into your life. Both work with amazing accuracy.
Victor Frankel in his classic book, Man’s Search for Meaning, discovered that while in the horrible conditions of a Nazi concentration camp, that he had the freedom to choose his reactions and his attitude toward his terrible circumstances. What happens to us is not nearly as important as how we react to what happens. St. Paul took difficulties and defeats and turned them into victories because of his hope, trust, and the fact that his very life rested on his faith in Jesus Christ. You really can change your life by changing your thinking. Attitude and our approach toward life helps determine what happens to us. Which is more important – what is happening to you or how you are handling the situation? Interrupt your negative thought pattern by wearing a rubber band on your wrist for twenty-four hours. Whenever you see yourself thinking a negative thought, snap the rubber band. You will be amazed at how bruised your wrist will get!
Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Are you a victim or a victor in the game of life? As the book of Romans states, “We are more than conquerors through Christ who gives us strength.”
See you Sunday in church!