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As an author of two popular college environmental texts and numerous trade books on the environment, I’ve examined environmental issues from all angles. My job has been to help human society find the error of its ways — the way we acquire food, make energy, manufacture goods, deal with waste, acquire resources, even the way we live — and suggest solutions.
Over the years, I’ve made countless suggestions for ways to improve society, the economy and our own lives to create a greener world and sustainable future.
It’s safe to say that I’ve spent most of my adult life fault-finding.
Unfortunately, I also scrutinized the people who were close to me with the same intensity. Over time, I came to realize that my proclivity for fault-finding was hazardous to the happiness and well-being of those around me — as well as myself.
By focusing on the negative in everything and everyone, I had failed to appreciate all the good qualities of others and life in general — the things that make life worth living. I missed out on a lot of fun and genuine happiness in my life.
Unfortunately, I am not a alone. Many people I know are critical of people, places and events. They gravitate to darkness, totally missing the light.
Like the old me, these inveterate fault-finders spend their lives looking for the blemishes in everything around them, totally ignoring all that is exciting, vibrant, fresh, refreshing and renewing.
Their conversations become glorified bitch sessions. They endlessly complain about everything that is wrong. In so doing, they ignore all that’s good in people, all that’s working. If you share some good news with them, they’ll inevitably find something to criticize.
Do you know someone like this?
Or — and be honest — do you fall into this group, ever searching for negativity?
To live a good life, you’ve got to shift your focus to what’s good, the positive.
Begin today. Begin now.
Day by day, moment by moment, seek out what’s good.
Begin with the people around you. What do you like about them?
If your mind drifts toward the negative, be sure to remind yourself of the good you see in them. What things attract you to them? What attributes are special?
With life, shift your focus from what’s going wrong to what’s working. You’ll be amazed at how well things are working.
This advice has changed my life, but it does not mean that we should ignore what’s not working — it is simply a new way of living that lets a lot more sunshine into your life. It will change your outlook and boost your happiness.
Sure, it will take some time to transition from a negative to a positive outlook, but it’s worth the daily effort.
Sooner or later, as I’ve found, you’ll be inhabiting a new and very different world, a world full of excellence and happiness. The blemishes won’t go away, but you’ll hardly notice them any longer. You’ll walk around with a smile on your face.
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Contributing editor Dan Chiras is a renewable energy and green homes expert who has spent a lifetime learning life’s lessons, which he shares in his popular blog, Dan Chiras on Loving Life. He’s the founder and director of The Evergreen Institute and president of Sustainable Systems Design. Contact him by visiting his website or finding him on Google+.