How You Think Controls How You Feel

A story was told in this morning’s church message. There are some real lessons in it for us.

A story was told about a king in Africa who had a close friend that he grew up with. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation in his life and remarking, “This is good!” It did not matter if the event was positive or negative. He always saw it as a positive.

One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off.

His friend took his usual viewpoint and exclaimed, “This is good!” To which the king replied, “No, this is not good,” and ordered his soldiers to put his friend into prison.

About a year later, the king went hunting again and this time in an area that was inhabited by cannibals. He knew better than to hunt there. Sure enough, the cannibals captured the king and took him to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to it.

As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. They were highly superstitious and never ate anyone who was less than whole. So, they untied the king and chased him out of the village.

When the king reached his palace, he was reminded of the hunting incident that had taken his thumb. It seemed so unfortunate at the time, but now the king felt remorse for his harsh treatment of his friend. He went immediately to the prison and had his friend released.

The king told his friend, “I had thought that it was a bad thing to lose my thumb, and I was angry that you had called it a good thing. But you were right.” He then proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened. “I am very sorry for sending you to prison for so long. It was bad for me to do this,” the king apologised.

His friend replied, “No, this is good!”

The king was confused and asked, “What do you mean, ‘This is good?’ How could it be good when I wrongly sent my best friend to prison for over a year?”

The friend replied, “Well, if you had not sent me to prison, I probably would have been hunting with you today. I am not missing any fingers. The cannibals would not have let me go.”

The moral of the story:

Isn’t this an amusing, once upon a time type of story?

Situations may not always seem pleasant while we experience them, but how you think controls how you feel. This is an important secret to a happy life.

The king’s friend demonstrates his innate mental resilience and refuses to assume that adverse things are always bad. Instead, he looks for the good in them, for the opportunity they provided. Everything is good in his belief system by thinking positively and by being positive.

He chooses to view events for the positive he could take from them resulting in peacefulness and calmness that did not allow him to react violently or give up when an experience seemed as if it might not be that great. The quality of his life is heightened by turning each calamity into a positive ending.

The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

– Winston Churchill

The choice is yours!

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