“A Tale of Two Men,” from, “The Wisdom of James Allen”:
“I knew two men who, at an early age, lost their hard earned savings of years. One was very deeply troubled, and gave way to chagrin, worry and despondency.
The other, on reading in his morning newspaper that the bank in which his money was deposited had hopelessly failed, quietly and firmly remarked, ‘Well, it’s gone, and trouble and worry won’t bring it back, but hard work will.’ He went to work with renewed vigor, and rapidly became prosperous, while the former man, continuing to mourn the loss of his money, and to grumble at his, ‘bad luck,’ remained the sport and tool of adverse circumstances, in reality of his own weak and slavish thoughts.
The loss of money was a curse to the one because he clothed the event with dark and dreary thoughts; it was a blessing to the other, because he threw around it thoughts of strength, of hope and renewed endeavor.
If circumstances had the power to bless or harm, they would bless and harm all men alike, but the fact that the same circumstance will be alike good and bad to different souls proves that the good or bad is not in the circumstance, but only in the mind of him that encounters it.”
I’ve included this story here because I have personally observed the lives of two people very dear to me that closely resemble the “Two Men” in the story. Observance of their ways, of their reactions to things, and of their attitudes in any given situation is a clear indicator of the validity of the story and the life principle it reveals.
I’ve seen everything work out for one person while the other is always complaining or worrying. One has won an uncanny amount of office pools or contests, while the other has probably never won anything (and he’ll be the first to tell you that). One enjoys good health, while the other is miserable with his. Two very different lives that started in remarkably similar circumstances might as well be on different planets now.
We usually chalk up these circumstances to good luck or bad luck. It isn’t. Have a conversation with each of the men I speak of and in less than five minutes you’ll understand.
Good things happen to people who maintain a good attitude. It isn’t enough to act like you’re happy all the time. This is simply unrealistic and will be in vain – at the expense of keeping things bottled up inside waiting to blow.
Acting or appearing happy and good is not it. Being happy and good is very different. What is going on inside you? What are your consistent thoughts? That is what we have to learn to control. That is all we can control.
Buddha said: “All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts; it is made of our thoughts.”