This is a compilation of thoughts and quotes that I have found or written recently, as well as many that I've collected throughout the years. Most thoughts are posted randomly, as I feel inspired. A listing of quotes can be found alphabetically (check the 2008 and 2009 archives listing), or by source.

Feel free to suggest additions!

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Power of Positive Perception: Part 2

Continued excerpts from the great little book "Beyond Illusions: The Magic of Positive Perceptions" by Brad Barton:

(for more excerpts, see below)

"It is not how much we do, but how much love put to the doing.  And it is not how much we give, but how much love we put into the giving." - Mother Teresa

What if we could intentionally alter our perceptions and our reactions and our results - by intenionally deciding what is real - rather than simply accepting the obvious?

"It isn't what happens to us that affects our behavior.  It is our interpretation of what happens to us." - Stephen Covey

"The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem." - Theodore Rubin

"Pearls lie not on the seashore.  If you want one, you must dive for it." - Chinese Proverb

It is one of the great gifts of being human.  We are not only aware, but we are aware that we are aware.  We can, therefore, challenge our own perceptions.

All the magician has to do is limit the audience's perspective and divert them from challenging that perception.  Magic is the power to change reality by creaing new facts.

Much of what we perceive as negative is illusion.  The circumstances, the events themselves, may be real, but our interpretation of them as negative, could that be an illusion?

You can hardly find an opportunity for greatness that does not at first appear to be a disaster!

It is our perception of circumstances that governs end results.

We must have adversity and challenge if we are to realize our potential.  Who would Nelson Mandela be without apatheid?  Who would Abraham Lincoln or Clara Barton be without the Civil War?  Who would Winston Churchill be without the threat of the Third Reich?

Beleive in magic; not rabbits that come out of hats magic, but real magic - magic that comes out of looking beyond the obvious facts and challenging our interpretations of reality.

What if we... kept our minds open to the idea that our interpretations of difficult situations - even apparent disasters - are probably inaccurate and therfore limiting?  We would realize the wonderful truth that any difficult situation, even an apparent disaster, could be our finest hour. It all depends on our prespective.

"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought." - Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

We can orchestrate good results directly from difficult, even painful circumstances when we recognize that bad situations don't provide opportunities; bad situations are opportunities.

What discoveries have you already experienced as a result of a painful loss?  What growth and gain, though wrought through sorrow and pain, is yet to be uncovered?

"Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant." - Horace, 12 B.C.

We are generally closed to better options when we are satisfied with our current situation.  Typically, we will not search for a higher path as long as the path we are on is comfortable and easy to negotiate. 

Where is that higher path?  It's not out there, it is in here.  It is inside out hearts and minds.  Viktor Frankl said, "When we are no longer able to change a situation we are challenged to change ourselves."  And how can we change ourselves?  By changing our interpretations - our perceptions.  This is not just about being positive this is about being causative.  A causative agent is someone who creates or causes positive change through the deliberate use of the power of positive perception.  This process is more - much more - than being positive.

Stuff happens that causes trouble, discomfort, even great agony; kicks us square in the solar plexus and knocks the wind out of us.  But is this bad?  It feels bad, it looks bad, it might even smell bad, but is it by definition bad?

In the final analysis nothing is "bad" unless we give up and let it be "bad" - and let it stay "bad".

"...everything can be taken fom [us] but one thing: the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's way... to decide how you want to perceive circumstances, rather than just adopt the interpretations that others promote or even what your own experience proposes, but instead make a conscious decision to make a better choice regardless of how unreasonable that choice might seem." - Viktor Frankl

When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves.

When life deals us a blow and we accept responsibilty for finding good in it, we shift from being a victm of circumstance, to being a causative agent.  This place of free will is a difficult but richly rewarding place to live.  We advance from being simply positive to being causative.

"Between stimulus and response, there is a space.  In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and freedom." - Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

Tough stuff is going to happen regardless of how we decide to regard it.  We can curl up in a corner and try to avoid it.  We can resist it. We can endure it.  We can bury it. We can regret it and hate life because of it.  We can even choose to go about life as if it hadn't happened.  Or we can change our perspective, search for the good in whatever happens and accept the truth told by Paul the Apostle, "...these things shall all work to your good."

"...I perceived, at last, that all my problems, discouragements, and heartaches, are, in truth, great opportunities in disguise.  I will no longer be fooled by the garments they wear for mine eyes are open.  I will look beyond the cloth and I will not be deceived." - The Scroll Marked IV, The Greatest Salesman In The World, by Og Mandino

To get some real magic going, look at your situation honestly and acknowledge how tough, disappointing, miserable, or painful it really is.  That's the obvious part.  Then do what isn't so obvious.  Say 'That's good" - say it out loud - and see how that shifts your energy.  Then watch how that energy shift puts you in a different place - a different level of thought - maybe a different mood.  From that more creative perspective, you will be empowered to discover what is good about it.

To assume without examination that something is bad, assumes that it shouldn't have happened.  This defies the power of the human spirit.  It denies the power of positive perception.

I suggest that bad things don't happen to good people.  Inconvenient things, troubling things, painful things even horrifying things happen, but nothing bad.  How can I say that there is nothing that is bad?  Because bad is not a thing. It is not a thing and it is not an event - and it is not a condition.  It is a perception.  Good is also a perception.  So let us entertain the perspective that "it's all good" as long as we are willing to perceive and proceed accordingly.

"Laughter is a bit like changing a baby's diaper.  It doesn't fix the problem permanently, but it makes everything okay - for a little while." - Michael Pritchard

"Everything is funny, as long as it's happening to somebody else." - Will Rogers

Part 3 to come...

To see more excerpts from Brad Barton's  book, see:

The Power of Positive Perception: Part 1
The Power of Positive Perception: Part 3

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