Two tourists were in Europe where they visited a mansion built in the Middle Ages. The dome of the magnificent foyer boasted a spectacular mosaic ceiling treatment. The tour guide described the artistic details to heighten the tourists’ awareness of the unique nature of the achievement that had taken the artist several years to complete. One of the two was amazed at the accomplishment, while the second listened attentively and then said, “It might be nice — if there weren’t so many missing tiles.”
His friend answered, “You know, at first I didn’t notice it, but now it’s bothering me, too!”
Negative attitudes are learned from those with whom we associate. If one spends time with people who are critical and hard to please, it’s likely that one will begin to see what’s missing rather than what’s not. Adults should take care when expressing opinions in the presence of children, for they listen attentively and “learn” how to react to things in a way similar to the adults they admire. One friend related to me that he grew up feeling life is not a joy but rather a difficult daily battle because that’s what he heard at home as a child.
If you want to be happy you should spend time with up-tempo positive individuals who always see the brighter side of things. They see the water in a half-full glass rather than a half-empty vessel.
The benefit will become apparent when others show interest in spending more time with you. They’ll feel a lift from your upbeat attitude and you’ll merit Heavenly credit by influencing others to “serve Hashem b’simchah” — with joy!
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
Preparing oneself to serve as a vessel for Heavenly assistance is a constant, ongoing process. You may sit next to someone day after day in shul or yeshivah and then, one day, discover that your seatmate has become an outstanding talmid chacham. You sat on the same bench! Where did your paths separate? The answer is that he used all his abilities, and you did not. When the flow of siyatta diShmaya was released, he received a larger portion. (Rabbi Moshe Aharon Stern, From a Pure Fire, p. 201)
Rabbi Raymond Beyda serves in the Sephardic Community in Brooklyn, N.Y. He lectures to audiences all over the world. He has distributed over 500,000 recorded lessons free of charge. He is author of the book 1 Minute With Yourself: A Minute a Day to Self-Improvement, Sephardic Press, 2008.