Challenging News, Good Attitude

Frequently in life, we are confronted by challenging news. Consider, for example, going to the doctor and getting diagnosed with a life threatening illness. There is no way around it, this is unsettling news. However, how we deal with this news is going to have considerable impact on overcoming the challenge we are facing.

First of all, notice that I referred to challenging rather than bad news. The Taoist tale called We’ll See comes to mind. In it, an old man on a farm in China is met with a variety of circumstances we might be quick to label as good or bad. In fact, his neighbor comments on each event impacting the old man, claiming it to be favorable or unfavorable. The old man, however, reacts to the circumstances by saying, “Maybe good, maybe bad, we’ll see.”

This story points out that when we get news, news that we commonly perceive as good or bad, we really only know part of the story. The reason is that an event, in and of itself, may certainly affect our lives yet how we react to that event is equally if not more important.

Marcus Aurelius, the great Roman philosopher, warrior, king said, “The mind is the ruler of the soul. It should remain unstirred by agitations of the flesh…” This is a good thing to remember in the face of what seems to be an unfortunate medical diagnosis. Yes, we might well be facing a challenge. However, our attitude coupled with positive actions and the support of friends and family can help turn challenge into triumph.

It is important for us to remember that at any moment in time, particularly in the face of what might be considered devastating news, we have relatively limited information. The rest of the story will be written based on what our attitude is and the actions we take to overcome the challenge we are facing.

Good people are afflicted by challenging illnesses. We, as friends and family, have to help lift them up and work to positively impact their attitude so they may work to prevail over the malady they are confronted with. We might not be able to affect a diagnosis, but I believe there is ample evidence that we can affect a prognosis.

We are all sure to meet with challenging news during our lives. How we react to that news is in our hands. We can fall to pieces or we can work together as part of the fellowship of humanity to help each other overcome tough times and tough circumstances. Challenging news comes. It must be met with a positive attitude and positive action.

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