Our daily lives and living are characterized by good and bad, ups and downs or highs and lows. With human eyes and perception the bad would appear to be eclipsing the good. But the truth is that we tend to overemphasize or dwell on the bad and underplay the good or the positive. When we recalibrate our mind-set, change our attitude and give preference to the good and positive around us, we can achieve our goals, live happy and peaceful life even in the midst of legion of life problems – poverty, sickness, suffering, oppression, cruelty, and indifference assailing us on a daily basis.
But many of us have already capitulated under the sheer enormity or magnitude of these problems – adversities, obstacles or challenges. Some have taken the easy option to do nothing believing erroneously that in any case their “little” efforts will make no difference to the “Huge” problems. In despair and hopelessness, many have quit or given up, others are playing the ostrich indifference, while others are content with the false “feel-good” attitude of after all, the world is “full of misery,” and it is none of my responsibility to fix it, so why bother?
In this Special Season, I urge us to borrow a leaf from leaders/founders of the world’s major religions. None of them started with a big crowd or congregation. They all started “small” and the small numbers of interpersonal encounters created the ripple effects of the extra-ordinary successes or the large followership of today. We may not all have the calling to set up successful religious groups or businesses, but we are each blessed with at least one or more of the 3Ts (Time, Treasure and Talent), which we can deplore from our little corners to make a difference that can transform the world. We can start by changing our negative attitudes to life, appreciating God for our lives, His Grace, Favours, Blessings, Protection and Provisions, appreciating others for their contributions, and by lending a helping hand, no matter how little.
This is the only way the world can enjoy peace flowing from the peace, goodwill and happiness shared by individuals. In other words, the difference we want to see in the world must come from us and we do not have to be presidents of nations, wielding public power or authority to make this happen. The difference we make in our little corners has a BIG multiplier effect on the whole World.
Also, with a positive attitude, we are able to build the sterling and strong characters that will enable us overcome every opposition or adversity in life and make the difference we crave. India’s pre-eminent leader Mahatma Gandhi opined that: “When we know that everything has two sides, let us look at the bright side only,” while Booker T. Washington, one of the foremost African-American leaders holds that: “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”
Since we cannot break free without a struggle, Stephen Richards Covey, American educationist, author and businessman also posits that: “Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition – such as lifting weights – we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity.”
Obstacles are a natural part of life and we are admonished when faced with a mountain, to not quit, but to keep on striving until we climb over, find a pass through, tunnel underneath, or simply persevere and turn the mountain into a gold mine, with the help of God. This is positive attitude at work!
In the midst of the unending bad news across the world – latest terrorist bombings in Cote d’Ivoire and then Belgium, air crashes, electoral violence and Boko Haram in Nigeria, conflicts in Mali, Libya, Iraq and Syria, to name but a few, American President Barak Obama has visited Cuba, the first US President to do so in almost 90 years, thereby giving fillip to rapprochement ending the 50-year troubled relations between the two neighbours. For the pessimist the cup may remain half empty, but to the optimist the cup is half full. In the spirit of reconciliation and the Season, let us muster the courage and with a good heart reach out to those with whom we may be having troubled relationships. That is a little but sure step to making a difference for a better world.
Wonderful and Blessed Holidays to you all
From Paul Ejime Family