Alas, I’m not one of them, it seems. I reflect back several decades and a conversation I had with a good friend who was one of those disgustingly cheerful, optimistic people. I recall being shocked, shocked mind you, that my friend seemed to abdicate his adult responsibilities. Yes! He didn’t read the local newspaper, didn’t watch television news (this prior to the advent of 24 hours news streaming, CNN, FNC, etc.) and didn’t pay attention to the news on the radio when he was listening. How, I wondered, did he expect to be informed to make decisions at election time? Or decide what organizations to support, or what groups to oppose, and so on.
“It’s not my business,” he remarked. “Well, what is your business”, I challenged. “Being happy,” he said with a grin. Groan (thought yours truly.)
It’s taken a while for me to recognize the young adult genius the fellow possessed. He had a focus most people I knew, including self, lacked – he knew what was most important to him.
Pondering over the years I came to understand that he wasn’t so much isolating himself from the state of affairs of others, but keeping himself tuned to those people and circumstances that resonated with him. In other words, if something bothered him, he would change his focus so as not to be bothered.
My friend knew instinctively that whatever he gave attention, increased in his experience. Focus on crime and you see more crime. Focus on health, experience health. Focus on illness and experience less health. Focus on unhappy people and become unhappy. Despite my deliberate efforts to be a good and honorable person I lacked, at that time, his wisdom on how best to assist others: Be what you would like for others.
It’s totally logical and in sync with great wisdom through the ages – a variation of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Be happy. Isn’t that what you want for others?
I might be slow, but I get there.