Do you dwell on the black cloud or the silver lining?

    Can you think of people in your life who always seem to be happy? They use a smile often, a hearty laugh and their positive demeanor make them pleasant to be around.
    Do you suppose they are just fortunate to have a perfect life with no bumps in the road? Think again. I can pretty well guarantee they face challenges, some more devastating than others.
    What valuable trait do they have in common with other seemingly happy care-free cohorts?  A positive attitude! Some people search for the silver lining. Others dwell on the black cloud.
    I recently heard about a man in the nursing home who trudged along with crutches and exclaimed what a great day it was. Despite having a bad leg and loss of eyesight in one eye, he shared how lucky he was to have a good eye and one good leg so he could see and walk. What a fine example of choosing the content route rather than the feel-sorry-for-me life.
    When my grandchildren are sad, mad or feeling like they’ve been cheated, I stress they have two main choices as to how they want to feel. They can dwell on what upset them, pout and have a pity party or they can walk away and focus on something that makes them feel better.
    Isn’t that just the best Grandma advice ever? Now if Grandma would just live by it.
    Seriously. Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy when we insist on sulking. Is it an attempt to bring others down as well? Sometimes it’s a total miscommunication which causes an exhausting grudge that might hang on for years. What a waste of energy.
    Two young brothers were in a psychiatric evaluation. Raised in the same environment, one was never satisfied and the other had a constant cheery spark. As an experiment, the negative brother was put in a room with all the toys and fun options a child his age would want. The other brother was confined to a room with a big box of manure.
    What was their reaction? The negative child complained that he was bored and there was no one to play with. Despite the stink and mess, his brother excitedly kept digging in the manure, convinced there had to be a pony under there somewhere.
    What’s your attitude? If you find a bad potato in a bag, do you assume they’re all nasty? Or do you get rid of the stinky one and enjoy the rest?
    You do have a choice.

LORI PANKONIN is co-publisher of Johnson Publications newspapers in Imperial, Wauneta and Grant, and part-owner of the Holyoke Enterprise in Holyoke, Colo. E-mail:


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