Read and watch the news, listen to your friends or colleagues, or simply walk down the street, and the world can be an overwhelming place: there is hunger, poverty, war, riots, protests, racism, hatred, pollution, politics ... the list is never ending. It is so easy to focus on what is wrong with the world that we often to forget to acknowledge what is right in the world. I am not suggesting, of course, to ignore such injustices in the world, but I am suggesting that your positivity has a positive influence on the people around you, your community, and the world - and that positive influence makes a lasting contribution to the world.
I am strong believer that you have the power to make world a better place each and every day through your own small actions. The power of positive thinking does not just make your life better; it makes the world better. To me, positive change in the world comes directly from each person's positive interaction with people and the world.
Some time ago, I wrote a blog about my personal philosophy on how to bring positive change to myself and by extension the world, and I realized I left out one very specific and important item: Laughter! So I have altered my original post to specifically include laughter.
- Choose to be Positive: this is a hard step. It is easy to remain negative, and in particular, it is not always obvious that one can choose to be positive. Some times bad things happen, but it is up to me to find the positive. By doing so, I choose to handle the situation the best that I can, and knowing that I choose my own attitude empowers me, and no one can that away take from me.
- Everything is a Learning Experience: in every situation there is good and bad and sometimes finding the good is hard - very hard. But it is up to me to learn from what is happening and incorporate that learning experience back into my life. By learning from the situation, you inherently find the positive and that is what carries forward. Not every situation is immediately fixable, but every situation does carry an experience from which I can learn.
- Take Care of Myself: only if I am mentally and physically healthy, can I truly gain what is offered by life and only then can I impart back on to the world a constructive and positive attitude. Self-doubt is the most insidious enemy of self-care. It is easy to turn on yourself, but if you don't care for yourself, who will? For me personally, this is the most difficult step and the one with which I struggle the most.
- Laugh!: This is related to the item above; positive living grows from learning how to laugh and learning how to take yourself (and others) not so seriously. There is plenty of research that shows that laughter is physically and mentally beneficial to humans. This does not mean that everything is funny, but it does mean that everything should be kept in the proper perspective.
- Love: this is, by far, what we do best (thank you HIMYM). Don't shy away from it and hide it, but rather, embrace it, share it, expand it, and show it. And I don't necessarily mean love in the sense of a lover, but rather love your family, your friends, your pets, the sky ... whatever. Love is an emotion that, like all emotions, gets buried away if it remains unused. Don't save it for some rainy day - use it and enjoy it.
- Work Hard, Play Hard: positive living grows from self-fulfillment which comes from knowing that you have done your best. From there, you can be in a healthy place for yourself and for the world around you. Not everything will work out and sometimes you will screw up. That is all ok - failure is part of life; taking responsibility for yourself and your community turns that failure into a positive. In short: Have fun, sleep well, and tell good stories.
So ... with that in mind, go ahead and laugh; it's infectious! And besides, I think the dog has figured out the right priorities!