Disposition or Discipline? 720.1

Have you heard the story of a shoe company that sent two salesmen into the backwoods? After a few days, both came back. One was frustrated: “It was a waste of time. None of these people wear shoes.” The second was enthused: “Tremendous opportunity here. None of these people wear shoes.”

It’s pretty obvious which salesman was more successful, and for that matter, which is most likely to be happy. Everyone knows that positive attitudes produce positive results, right? Then why are so many people so negative so often?

My daughter Samara is a high school senior. For months she and her friends have been preoccupied with college applications. Most applied to lots of colleges “to be safe,” and all of them learned this month that they were admitted to at least one quality institution. You’d think they’d be happy. Instead they have been filling their Facebook posts, text messages, and conversations with negativity. Everyone, it seems, found something to be unhappy about, and as they share their disappointments, they bring each other further down.

What a shame these teenagers choose to dwell on the schools they didn’t get into rather than the ones that accepted them. And let there be no mistake – it is a choice. Ultimately, the most important factor in happiness is not disposition but discipline.

It’s natural to have negative thoughts, but we don’t have to let those negative thoughts define a situation. The simplest way to improve our lives is to develop the habit of positive thinking by consciously and consistently replacing every negative thought with a positive one. It takes patience and practice, but it pays off.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

Comments 2

  1. Jim,
    one more point…
    Like the air we breath,Happiness is free and Happiness is everyones’s birth right. No one should be able to take it away from you.
    We alsays seem to be dewling in, what makes us happy!
    HAPPINESS is FREE and it is our BIRTH right, period!!

  2. As I have a son, nephews and friends currently going
    through this process of applying, interviewing, and
    planning their personal futures on the next steps in
    the education process, watching the various personalities
    deal with acceptance, rejection and what is precived as
    the top quality institution of choice vs the other is quite
    eye opening. The window open to observe the character of a person
    is most revealing in their response to the challenges being faced.
    As a person that never took my education serious, It is with a open heart of compassion and a small amount of envy that I never took this road and can only wonder what I would have been should I have pursued a higher education. Being a successful business person, and having a very high quality life, I do know that the education part does not in the end make the person, but character does.

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