As the long summer draws to an end, my frazzled brain is getting activated again and I turn my mind to positive thoughts. Plus, I am in a problem-solving mood all of a sudden.
The world around me seems unhappy — Kashmir, Syria, the possibility of war between India and Pakistan, soaring rates of violence against women and minorities and the growing gap between the haves and have-nots. Looking at all of this I start thinking about how to inject a healthy dose of positive into myself and others.
I think the key solution I come up with after following talk shows, reading newspapers and listening to arm-chair critics is the power of one. This is the power of believing that you can bring a positive change in your life. The change could be a large one such as that brought on by the late Edhi sahib and Malala, or small everyday changes such as keeping your family and friends happy, making sure your neighbourhood is rubbish-free or volunteering your time and effort.
This power-of-one theory encompasses several important factors:
Keeping Humour Handy: Humour is an amazing weapon in difficult, adverse and intolerant times. Humour can diffuse tense situations at home, get you out of difficult positions at social gatherings and make things easier at work. A healthy dose of good humour will make you seem approachable and likeable. Why not give the power of humour a try when the going gets tough?
Work That Smile: A smile can work wonders at work, at a job interview, with family members, friends and co-workers. If you are someone who smiles readily and openly that is what people will remember about you. A smiley person is more likely to be perceived as warm, approachable, likeable and trustworthy. Try a smiley approach to life!
Learn To Forgive: This is a crucial component of the power-of-one thinking as it makes yours and others’ lives better. There maybe countless things which irritate you or make you lose your cool. These things could be the small everyday nuisances of life or fairly important things. However, what if you were able to forgive or ignore these small and not so small irritants? Life would be less stressful and happier for you and you could spend more time thinking about more worthwhile and prioritised stuff.
Count To Ten: Now I call this the power of counting to ten or taking a deep breath before saying, doing or writing anything important. This could also be termed as being patient or cautious at important junctures in life. Words and actions have important consequences that continue to reverberate through time. Always think before doing something important.
Viewing The World Positively: Now we aren’t saying that you should don a pair of rose-tinted glasses and view the world naïvely. But what we are saying is that you should always look for the positive in people. Looking for the good in others is important and everyone has some good in them. The better you think of people around you the more content you are likely to be with life.
Lend An Ear: Lend me an ear and I’ll play you a song, maybe a 1960s’ golden hit, but it holds a key life lesson. We are often so busy talking about everything under the sun that we forget to listen carefully to friends and family. However, if you take out some time and listen to people you would find out a lot about how they are generally doing in life. People don’t want someone advising them but would love a sympathetic ear so learn to lend someone an ear and you never know what song you might pick up.
Give A Helping Hand: Give a helping hand where and when possible — it can be help through giving time, money and anything else you can afford to provide. It’s amazing what difference a helping hand can make to the lives of others and to you.
Fight For What You Believe In: It’s important to stick up for things that are important to you. Now these could be absolutely tiny things but still be important to you such as keeping your neighbourhood tidy, or making sure your neighbourhood has enough flowers in it. Or, you may be fighting for bigger things such as an end to poverty, racism or religious persecution. You can fight through being an activist, volunteering your spare time or actively becoming involved in the field. The important thing to do is to fight for what is important for you.