Imagine you are hiking with a friend and they aren’t paying attention and step into a 6 inch puddle, completely soaking their right foot.
What is that friend like with a bad attitude? A good attitude?
A bad attitude is miserly, complaining, angry, grumpy, irritable. It’s possible that the rest of the hike will be “ruined”. A good attitude is accepting, playful, humorous, optimistic, kind. The tone of the hike wouldn’t change a bit—they would be just as pleasant.
Obviously, the world is better when good attitudes are present. It’s helpful to know the two different routes into a good attitude.
One is through thinking, called “looking on the bright side.” It’s when we convert any “negative” thoughts into sunny, optimistic ones. We think, “oh, it’s not a big deal, it could have been worse, it’s just a wet foot, an opportunity to practice a good attitude!”
Looking on the bright side is an extremely valuable life skill—I highly recommend cultivating it.
The other route is through mindfulness, called “looking at the nature.” It’s when we don’t even engage with the stories/thoughts and the various emotions/feelings. We rest in a place of equanimity. A wet foot is happening. Irritable thoughts are happening. Negative emotions are happening. We just observe everything happening, inside and outside, refusing to get involved and continue on the hike with a smile on our face.
Looking at the nature is an extremely valuable life skill—I highly recommend cultivating it.
Reading on western psychology has been very helpful for me in cultivating the thinking approach. Meditation has been very helpful for me in cultivating the mindfulness approach. For both, it’s been very helpful to observe other people’s attitudes, taking note of what the people who have good attitudes are like.
Perhaps most helpful is observing what I’m like after I step in the metaphoric puddles of life.
Just observe. That’s enough.