"One ought, everyday at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture and speak a few reasonable words." --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Perception is Everything

"Change your thoughts and you change your world." --Norman Vincent Peale

I've been thinking about something the past few days. I don't know how organized my thoughts are on the subject, but I want to briefly try to express them, so bear with me.

I've been homeschooling my 9 year old son this year and as part of his 4th grade curriculum he is currently reading Pollyanna, by Eleanor H. Porter. You may not have read the book, but you most likely have seen the old Disney movie version of it with Hayley Mills; which by the way, is VERY faithful to the book.

I know I've recently posted a story about happiness being something you decide ahead of time (here), but Pollyanna offers a whole new layer with her "Glad Game". At several points in the story, little Pollyanna has so much to complain about but she instead chooses to be glad and look on the bright side of every situation. Her beloved parents both passed away and although she finds it difficult, she's glad that they did so that they could be together in heaven and she could live with and learn to love her Aunt Polly. Her grumpy aunt puts her in the shabbiest, bare, hot room of her opulent house and Pollyanna is just glad that there's no mirror to reflect the abundant freckles on her face. Aunt Polly tries to punish her for her childish behavior on numerous occasions and Pollyanna finds something to be glad about every time. She's glad when it's sunny, she's glad when it rains. She's glad that her little attic room is hot so that she could discover the coolness of the night and the abundant stars when she climbs out her window to sleep on the cool tin roof.

Pollyanna's sunny disposition spreads wherever she goes. She cheers up an old, heart-sick woman, makes friends with a grumpy old man, and even her Aunt Polly eventually succumbs to the indefatigable sunshine in Pollyanna's soul. In short, she changes her entire world and the lives of everyone around her simply by making up her mind to find something to be glad about all the time!

Can a simple decision REALLY make such a difference in the world? Is gratitude and perception REALLY that important? Could it be that the old adage, "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change" is one of the foremost secrets of life? Pollyanna really is on to something!

Here's a good video I found on the subject by Wayne Dyer. Food for thought...

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