Charles Swindoll has a famous quote: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” If we were to take this to heart, then our lives would be much easier. This quote encourages us to remember that the power is not in a situation, the power is in our mastery of ourselves in any given situation.
People love to gather together in groups to discuss what is wrong with the world. They enjoy formulating a hypothesis about why this happens or that occurs, so they can gain a modicum of control over that which they feel needs to be controlled. Armed with their answers and in the company of stalwart companions, they set out to change to the world by changing the offensive situation. If this approach works, great! But when it doesn’t, might there be a different trajectory that could yield a happier outcome?
Not every distasteful situation requires this type of response. Not every “wrong” is a monster that requires the villagers to band together to vanquish the threat. Sometimes, what is required is a shift of perspective first before deciding upon a course of action. It is interesting that once we take a moment of introspection, the situation might resolve itself.
“for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so…” William Shakespeare.
From reading this, we glean that looking at life and its value or lack thereof, is truly a matter of viewpoint. The quote doesn’t not decide what is good or bad, nor does it give good or bad power, it hands the reins of control over to us and how we choose to think.
Even though we see here, two powerful statements of personal responsibility, made by men who lived hundreds of years apart and who had decidedly different careers, the message is the same. It is how we choose to see things that decides how we will react. And it is how we react, that defines the intensity of the situation and its effect on our lives.