Recently the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation donated $10 billion dollars towards a 10-year plan for developing vaccines for AIDS, tuberculosis, rota virus and pneumonia. It is estimated that this may allow over 9 million lives to be saved. The internet is buzzing with news reports and blogs about this unprecedented and incredibly generous donation.
One article, from a well recognized site caught my attention. The headline clearly spoke of how this kind and noble act to help humankind was a very bad idea! I have to admit, I clicked on the article to see how this author would spin the story, since I could not figure that out on my own. I really thought it was only a gimmick to get people to click on the article, just as I did. However, upon reading the article I realized the author was serious and even had quotes from important people that "showed" how this was going to hurt the very nations that the Gates Foundation was trying to help, how it would ruin the infrastructure and it went on and on.
What's the point?
I want to be clear; this article is not about defending Bill Gates. Love him or hate him, one cannot deny that he is one of the greatest philanthropists of our time. Each person's perception of Bill Gates or Microsoft is their own. The point of this article is how we perceive things and to explore why one person may see the same thing a certain way while another may have a completely antipodal view of it, and what affect this can have on us in general.
What's wrong with that?
Consider a scenario: You have wanted to redecorate your house for the longest time, but you have many little things that need to be fixed - leaky, old faucets, a messy patio, unorganized closets etc. These are things that you don't enjoy tackling and every time you think about fixing these faults, it just drains you mentally. You keep putting the fixing part off and of course you don't even get close to the redecorating part at all.
What's right about that?
On the contrary, what might happen if you were to concentrate on the redecorating? What if you start thinking about what color the new carpet and the drapes will be, how the new counter top might look like, where you might place a huge vase or a picture, and so on? It is inevitable your mental energy will shift and you will feel a sense of enthusiasm and that in and of itself can make a huge difference. Just that positive outlook can even push you forward to call the handyman who might be able to help you with the not-so-fun stuff. Or maybe you might become creative and find a way to have the decorators do it all for you!
Is positive thinking and being in denial the answer then?
Just positive thinking alone cannot solve life's challenges, but being in a positive zone can make an enormous difference. Sometimes the notions "positive thinking" and "being in denial" are confused. These are two very different concepts. One must face challenges head-on and find a way to resolve them. Being in denial does not allow for that - denial is about avoidance. Being in a positive mind-set however, allows a person to dream which in turn allows you to see the bigger picture and visualize possibilities. It is by discovering possibilities we can find the answers to the challenges we face. After that however, there needs to be effort and actual work put into whatever we are trying to accomplish.
What about perspectives?
When we can achieve a healthy perspective of our environment and of each other, we can move forward more easily. Perspectives and opinions are very personal and are colored by our own experiences. For example, if we have insecurities about something our perspective about that could be influenced negatively. On the other hand if we are willing to focus on what is right or good or simply try to explore what can be improved in a situation, instead of all the reasons it will not work, then we start seeing ways to grow and flourish, regardless of what the circumstances might be. That, along with genuine effort can then lead to excellence.
How do you generally tend to look at things? Share your thoughts.
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