An Old Man and New Tricks

An Old Man and New Tricks

*“An old man lived in the village. The whole village was tired of him; he was always gloomy, he constantly complained and was always in a bad mood. The longer he lived, the viler he became and more poisonous were his words. People did their best to avoid him because his misfortune was contagious. He created the feeling of unhappiness in others.

But one day, when he turned eighty, an incredible thing happened. Instantly everyone started hearing the rumor: ‘The old man is happy today, he doesn’t complain about anything, smiles, and even his face is freshened up.’

The whole village gathered around the man and asked him, “What happened to you?”

The old man replied, ‘Nothing special. Eighty years I’ve been chasing happiness and it was useless. And then I decided to live without happiness and just enjoy life. That’s why I’m happy now.’”

I wonder if you know anyone like the old man in this story – “gloomy” and “constantly complaining.” If you work in a….well if you work, the answer is probably “Yes.” One of the most dangerous things about a person like this is mentioned in this story – did you catch it? – the attitude “was contagious.” Who are you hanging around and what attitude are you catching from them? What kind of an attitude are those in your circle of influence catching from you?

There is yet another important truth woven into this short story – the old man changed. Anyone can change and no one has to wait until they are 80 years old to do so. While a person’s personality and circumstances do effect how they view the world, everyone has the capacity to choose how to focus their perceptions. I challenge myself this week to catch myself focusing on negatives and, when I do, list five positive things in my head. I invite you to join me in this endeavor this week and let’s see if it doesn’t impact our level of energy and ability to inspire those around us.

  • Dr. Rick Albright

*Story from “Top 100 Motivational Stories: The Best Inspirational Short Stories and Anecdotes of All Time”

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