|Fri, Dec 06, 2013 10:50 AM
|Issue of November 27, 2013
August 28, 2013 | 10:13 AM
I have an app on my cell phone that is designed to provide me with the most up-to-date news. From the Associated Press, it announces international happenings.
Wanting never to miss anything of even the slightest significance, I signed up to pay the monthly fee and assigned the application an important ring on my phone. Every time I hear the lively beep, I hustle to retrieve my phone from a purse, pocket or even the next room in my house. I hate to admit how many times I have interrupted a conversation or even a meeting to secretly glance at my cell phone to catch the latest, urgent news.
Most of the time after this routine, I feel a real letdown. The "urgent news" turned out to be the announcement of an athlete who set a record or landed in jail for disgraceful actions. Automobile crashes, killings of all types and criminal court trials account for a good many of the remaining "news breaks."
I do not recall a single news alert stating the excellent quality of our state's corn crop this year. There are no mentions of healthy babies born to loving families or students who scored high marks on national tests. I have yet to be informed that thousands of people have enjoyed — no, reveled — in our recent cool and sunny weather. One could get the wrong idea of life if they just waited for an app to alarm on their cell phone.
I have decried many times the fact that Hoosiers often don't think much of themselves. My experience has been that people in Indiana are wonderful. The vast majority of folks in our state are honest, hardworking and caring. Think of all the organizations in our community that are manned by volunteers. I don't know how many times I have visited a town and was told that "our best kept secret is that we have the best volunteers in the country." After natural disasters, such as floods and tornados, stories abound of the generosity of neighbors and complete strangers toward those in need. Even in these questionable economic times, our not-for-profit organizations are able to raise the donations that keep service programs active. Get sick and friends stop what they are doing to help. Yes, I think Hoosiers are a great people and the kind of folks I want around me every day.
How do we get people to see their virtues for what they are — the good stuff of life? Our expectations for accomplishment are lower than they need to be. Our thoughts are more negative than is productive. Our confidence and appreciation are below what is merited.
Great men and women have left many quotes referring to the value of seeing the world with a positive attitude. Mahatma Gandhi, the spiritual leader who showed the world the power of nonviolent opposition to social injustice, is known to have said, "A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes."
If we in Indiana think, speak and act as if the world is a scary and bad place and that we are incapable of doing anything about it because we lack strong desirable qualities, well, what conclusions do you come to as to the nature of our future?
As Walter D. Wintle said in his poem, "Thinking," written more than a century ago:
If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think that you dare not, you don't.
If you'd like to win, but you think you can't,
It's almost certain you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you've lost.
For out in the world you'll find
Success begins with a fellow's will.
It's all in the state of mind.
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But, sooner or later, the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.
Maybe I should cancel my phone app that routinely sends notes of bad news and, instead, listen to that old profit of positive thinking Dr. Norman Vincent Peale who said, "People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves, they have the first secret of success." Or, according to Willie Nelson, the old country singer, "Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results." How about giving it a try?