My Positive Thinking Comes From Having a ‘POPTART Mentality’
Over the past few weeks, several people have asked me how I can be in a good mood nearly all the time when so many issues surround me. So, this week, I want to elaborate on my thought processes, and try to explain positive thinking, why I am the way I am, and why I think the way I do.
Before explaining my rationale, I want to present a question I use to set up the pathology courses I teach: “What is one similarity between the lives of all people?”
What do you think the one thing that binds us all together is? Try to guess my train of thought and then continue reading when you are ready.
My answer to this question is mortality. Life is finite, and there is an end. That’s right — we are all going to die. In fact, every breath we take is a breath closer to death. Is this not one of the truest statements you’ve ever heard?
While this may sound like an unusual basis for my thought process, I ask that you bear with me a few more moments.
Just as every beginning must have an end, to be alive implies the absence of death. Therefore, if you do not want to die, you must live — live life and not “die” life, if that makes any sense. We must enjoy all that we partake in, because we learn and experience more when we are happier.
While this foundation of my thought process may appear morbid, it is a truth that everyone must accept.
I have further built upon this foundation to create what I refer to as a “POPTART mentality.” “POPTART” is an acronym for the power of positive thinking and recognizing truths. We must think positively (be optimistic) while accepting the inevitable.
I will not argue about the physicality of heaven or hell, but I can say and prove that heaven and hell are a state of mind. Why live in a state of hell? Be happy.
Let’s look at this another way. I remember sitting in a religion class taught by a Buddhist and being asked, “If a tree falls in a forest and you are not around to hear it, does it make a sound?” From the point of view of human perception, the answer is no, you weren’t there to hear it. However, from a physics point of view, the answer is a definitive yes, the tree will vibrate upon hitting the ground, which produces sound. So, who or what is right?
After trying to understand that the “right” answer depends on several factors, the instructor made it clear that the “correct” answer was “What tree?”
“How and why does this question matter to you?” he asked. I remember thinking that I was only thinking of it because I was asked a question. I’d made a conscious decision to try to understand the question and answer it. In reality, the answer doesn’t affect who I am or what I can do.
What I am getting at is that as a human being, not just as someone with a neuromusculoskeletal disorder, we have limited time and energy, so we must focus on things that matter. When we travel on an airplane, flight attendants tell us that in the event of an emergency, if oxygen masks are deployed, we are to put them on ourselves before helping others. We need to control what we can and let go of what we cannot.
Here’s another example: Last week, as I sat in a management training session, the instructor took out a partially filled glass of water and asked, “Is this glass half full or half empty?” Some of my fellow attendees answered “half full,” while others said “half empty.” I was smart (so I thought) and asked, “What glass?” The instructor looked at me and said, “The glass right here.” I turned red.
Ultimately, the answer the instructor was looking for was that the glass isn’t half full or half empty — it’s the wrong size. If we change what we can change — in this case, the size of the glass — the questions become irrelevant, and we have more time to do what we want to do. Hence, change your glass to fulfill the full potential of yourself.
Change what you can. If you can’t change the situation or the reality, then change how you feel, to be happier and more productive. Be happy — you have every right.
So, why am I the way I am? I am the way I am because I choose to be.
Note: Muscular Dystrophy News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Muscular Dystrophy News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to muscular dystrophy.