A man by the name of Chris had just bought a brand new car and parked it in an alleyway just next to his house. Two days later, another man drove by with an old VW bus and scratched Chris’ brand new car on the front fender. Chris saw it all happen. The man in the VW bus got out and, obviously frustrated, threw his hat on the ground and hung his head in his arms. It appeared this man didn’t have enough money to pay for the damages on Chris’ car. The man was distraught and almost began to cry.
As Chris walked out to his car, he stood and looked at his car, then looked at the man.
“Perfect,” he said, “that’s just what my car needed!”
Chris told him to have a nice day and not to worry about the scratch because now Chris doesn’t have to worry about getting a scratch on his car. The man was astonished! He couldn’t believe this was happening.
The man broke down in tears and gave Chris a big hug and thanked him for being so generous. The man introduced Chris to his family and began to tell Chris his story about just recently moving into town and being a carpenter. It just so happened that Chris knew a friend who was in the construction business, so this man got a job with Chris’ friend.
The man came back a few weeks later to give Chris some money to repay the damage he had done to his car, but Chris told him to keep it because the scratch on his car had taught him a valuable lesson that day.
Now, imagine if Chris had reacted differently when the man had scratched his car. What would’ve happened? What if Chris had gotten infuriated with all this and punched the man? A violent fight would’ve followed and then they would have both been put in jail. While in jail, Chris could’ve gotten into another fight and seriously hurt somebody, resulting to 20 years in prison.
This true story is taken from the book Zen and the Art of Happiness written by Chris Prentiss. The story follows with this statement:
“Again, all of life presents us with two basic ways to treat events. We can either label them ‘good for us’ or ‘bad for us.’ The event is only an event. It’s how we treat that event that determines what it becomes in our lives. The event doesn’t make the determination — we do.”
This is what I believe. We all have events happen to us every single day. Some are small, and others big, but the world, society, social media, and whatever it may be has defined these events of being either positive or negative. As a result, we make those events happen in that manner.
Let’s talk about an event all of us teenagers have occur almost every day: School. What first comes to mind when you think of school? Most of us, if not all of us, will think of tired, bored out of our minds, pointless, scary, pressure, or even depression. But why? Why are these our first thoughts?
Our society has put such a negative stimuli on school and education that most of us have a hard time finding anything positive about it. We’re all so controlled by what society says about things that we are blind to see how we feel about something.
Going to school is merely just an event happening to all of us teenagers, but whether we identify the positive aspects of it and enjoy coming, or go through school believing all the negatives about it, is simply our choice. This way of living, choosing something to be positive or negative, controlling your own destiny, so to speak, can and will impact your life in a big way.
I can truly say that it has changed my perspective on life for the better. Throughout our daily lives, have the mindset that everything that happens is going to happen, but choosing to make these events positive or negative is your choice. Nobody else controls your destiny, only you do.
And this, I believe.