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Let’s be honest: at times life can get ugly. Things don’t go according to plan, and nasty little problems pop up and rob us of how life should be.
The thing is, it doesn't have to be this way.
I’ve studied many inspiring and iconic people over the years, and I’ve noticed a pattern or two. Do these people have fewer challenges that most? Are they just a little luckier and life just goes their way? Or are they the same as you and me, but they choose to view things differently?
When we allow life’s ugly problems to control us, we give away our personal power. This can leave us feeling helpless and frustrated. Just maybe, we have the option to see the beauty in life’s challenges, instead of focussing on the ugly.
I recently read Wayne Dyer’s book The Power of Intention, which I highly recommend because it’s an invaluable, inspiring and uplifting read.
In The Power of Intention, Dyer tells an incredible story from the book Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. An Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, Viktor’s book recounts how he was able to survive many years in concentration camps by his mental attitude alone.
Frankl talks of his time in one concentration camp, where he was served a bowl of filthy water with floating fish heads and how he trained himself to see the beauty in this meal instead of the horror.
What an incredible feat. Take a moment to contemplate this.
With no direction from anyone, Frankl had the insight to notice that if you focus on the ugliness of an event then your mind will only spiral into negativity, which ultimately results in nothing but more ugly situations. However, if you're able to actively look for the beauty in the most horrific situations, you’re able to interrupt a pattern of negative thinking before it has begun. Frankl credits this way of thinking to his ultimate survival.
In case you were wondering, this approach is not about burying your head in the sand and avoiding difficult situations. It’s also not about pretending that challenging situations are, in fact, easy. The point is: every situation has both positives and negatives. You ultimately have a choice to focus on either the beauty or the ugly. I don’t know about you, but I know which I prefer!
And so perhaps today you can be inspired by Frankl and start to look for the extraordinary in everyday situations that might at first appear to be ugly. You’d be surprised just how easy it is once you start.
Once you’ve mastered this, why not take it a step further and take this approach to life in general?
Start to expect beauty instead of ugliness and notice how you begin to experience a more positive and beautiful life instead of a problem-filled, ugly one.