I recently saw a cartoon of two guys in an H.G. Wells type time machine. One had his hands on the controls, and he said to the other, “Rule #1, never put in this year.” And a big 2020 was projected onto a screen. Sometimes, the funniest things are those that hit closest to home, and this certainly does. I think everyone would agree that this year has brought with it unprecedented challenges, leaving us all afraid to ask: “What’s next?”
But as someone who is visually deficient, having worn glasses since elementary school, I know that 2020 is perfect sight. A person with 2020 vision is able to clearly see the world, navigate it unaided. So if you bump into obstacles, it is because you cannot anticipate the twists and turns of the road ahead. And in a similar way, perhaps what keeps us stumbling on this slippery slope of a world is the inability to look ahead with optimism. We have been blinded by pessimism.
Human beings are the only animals who are able to consider the future, to look at tomorrow with some confidence that it will be better than today. We can close our eyes and vividly imagine something that is yet to happen. I think that’s pretty remarkable. I know that my dog is only worried about the now. She is concerned about her creature comforts and what’s for dinner. That’s not a bad way to live because let’s face it, she isn’t consumed with fear and worry. However, it can be a shallow, superficial way of thinking. And if mankind is supposed to be much more evolved as a species, we need to put those powers to work to expand the way we view the remaining months of this extraordinary year by opening both our minds and our hearts.
Thoughts create emotion, so if we view what is to come with anxiety and negativity we begin to experience negative reactions, anticipating the worst. I can recall the dozens of times that I have gotten myself all worked up over situations that were potentially difficult. And often, because I expected them to be awful, they were. I was simply unwilling or unable to consider the possibility that everything was going to be just fine. And I forgot who is ultimately in charge.
On the other hand, if we anticipate something wonderful, we get a nice release of positive feelings. Those experiences that I have looked forward to, a vacation, for example, have filled me with joy, long before the happy day of departure arrives. And when I expected to have a rollicking good time on that trip, most often, I did.
Now, consider that while each of us is processing our future in either a positive or negative light, that energy is released into the world. At the risk of sounding like some unrealistic Pollyanna, let me say that it makes sense to assume that a positive collective mind set is bound to have a domino effect on society in general. As we release millions of imaginary balloons filled with mindful prayers, positive vibes, and good intentions, the heavens are filled with optimism. In other words, if we want the world to change, we have to change it. And it starts with how we think.
Life is filled with mirages, and as we travel the road toward tomorrow, we must trust in the promise that something better waits for us “over there” than what exists “here.” What we think is always a choice. And I choose to believe in hope. We can only go forward, right? I have faith that better days are to come. I simply must for my own peace of mind. How about you?