You can practice with any situation. Take any television show you watch, for example. After viewing, mentally review it looking for every negative thing you can remember about the program. Then, do the same noting every good thing you recall.
You can practice, as well, any moment of your day, by simply taking a short “time out” to evaluate both the good and bad points of your immediate situation.
More and more, as you practice, it will become clearer to you how differently the events of life can be viewed!
Next, turn your thoughts to others…
You can use the same glasses in viewing those around you. Imagine each of them as viewed through the “rose-colored” and “blue colored” lenses. Here again, you’ll probably find a tremendous difference in your view.
There’s little doubt that even the most vile of human beings has a few redeeming traits about them, and most people, I believe, have many more good qualities than bad ones. It’s all a matter of looking for them…
With practice, your view of others can become significantly more positive — and such a view clearly helps to contribute to a happier outlook on life.
Yet, interestingly, there is an additional pay-off gained by adopting a more positive view of others: they tend to live-up to it!
There is abundant research evidence that suggests that people tend to respond to positive expectations about them by attempting to fulfill them. It is at the heart of modern behavioral psychology: your effect in changing people is much more potent if you simply look for and praise the positive efforts they make, rather than criticizing and punishing the mistakes they make.
You’d be amazed how effectively you can change behavior when you encourage and reward positive behavior. You probably already know how much people tend to resist change when they are forced, punished, criticized, or humiliated to do so. Even if they comply, their heart really isn’t into it. On the other hand, you also know from personal experience how encouraging and motivating a little recognition or praise can be.
So, look for the good in other people. Not only will it help you have a happier outlook, but looking for other’s good points can actually bring out those very qualities in them!
Finally, turn your “glasses” on yourself…
Just like events — just like other people — you, too, are a combination of both good and bad attributes. You could, as many people choose to do, spend all you time concentrating on yourself with your “blue glasses” — focusing only on your bad points and wallow in self-criticism. But, the happy, “pink glasses” alternative is to ignore your shortcomings and focus your attention on your good qualities — spending your mental time in pleasant thoughts about yourself. You’ll find, as you concentrate more on your good points, that you’ll begin liking yourself better — and liking yourself is an important happiness quality that we’ll be talking at length about under a later Fundamental.
The more you practice with your imaginary glasses, the more apparent it will be to you how differently your world can look. It may a shock to find how drastic a difference it is, especially if one of these new ways at looking at the world are different from your more typical view of things. But therein lies the point! Without opening our eyes to an alternative way of viewing our lives, we would never question the way we ordinarily see it. And we would never discover how happily it might be viewed!