There was once a man who was wheeled into a hospital room. He had a roommate whose bed was beside the window. Every day, the man at the window would describe to his companion all the marvellous things he saw through it. One day it would be about how beautiful the sunset was and on another day, it would be a replay about what the people outside the hospital were doing. As the days passed, the man away from the window grew jealous of his friend because he couldn’t observe the beauty of the outside world. He ended up loathing him. One night, the man by the window had a drastic coughing fit and he stopped breathing. Instead of calling for help, the other man chose to ignore him. The next day the man by the window was pronounced dead. Being aware of this, the other man immediately requested his bed be moved beside the window and what he saw through that window shook him to the core: a solid brick wall.
I came across this story recently, while I was reading a book. This story has never failed to make me think about the power of positivity. Positivity: Can you believe this 10-letter word has the power to entirely make or break our lives?
At present, the whole world is busy fighting the COVID-19 Pandemic. All across the news, the only thing we hear constantly is the number of deaths due to coronavirus, the number of new cases of coronavirus, how different countries are tackling this issue. It’s just a giant cascade of negative energy. And amidst all of this negativity, we sometimes tend to start thinking negatively too.
So what do we do about it?
J. Sidlow Baxter, a great pastor and theologian of his time, once asked, “ What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity?” His answer was quite simple: our attitude towards it. This is one of the truest sayings of all times for me. We can often never choose our circumstances, but we do have the power to choose our attitude towards it. And the more optimistic we are about a difficult situation, the closer we are to finding a way out of that situation. Baxter further said, “Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity.”
Every difficulty has an opportunity: this is what each of us should be telling ourselves and others during this time. Instead of drowning ourselves in the difficulties the coronavirus has brought us, let us make more productive use of our time by thinking about all the good things the coronavirus has brought with it. Lockdowns across different countries have brought families together. All of us have come to value the pricelessness of our families, regardless of whether we’re present with them or not.
This pandemic has allowed us to explore the innumerable ways through which we can satisfy our unquenchable thirst for learning and has empowered us to become more responsible global citizens. It has paved the way for us to refuel our ‘think tanks’ to think outside the box and generate imbuing ideas for the greater good. This virus has opened our eyes to see the struggles faced by millions in the world and will hopefully leave us with a vision and a mission to ‘unburden’ the overly burdened. It has made us realise that the only thing creation needs to revitalise is a break from human beings and that once in a while, we human beings need a break from ourselves too. We need to make time to reintroduce ourselves to our inner selves so that we come out of this situation stronger and wiser than the past. We have learnt one of the greatest lessons life has to offer us: Gratitude. Gratitude is key to living a happy life. In fact, be grateful that you are able to sit comfortably at home and read this right now!
Remember! It is not what life throws at us that determines the course of our lives. It is our attitude and the way we perceive what life throws at us that determines the path our life travels. And so, I leave you with one question: Do you want to be the frustrated man away from the window who threw away all the good life had to offer him or the light-hearted man beside the window who selflessly radiated happiness to those around him?