If someone were to come up to you and say, “For the next hour do not think of the color green,” guess what just became your one and only thought for the next hour? In fact, not only will you immediately think of the word green, you will be hopelessly engrossed in fighting off wave after wave of unconsciously pulled memories of every different shade of green and those objects and animals imbued with its color. This automatic response is in our nature, and it is our innate drive towards freedom and independence that compels us to think in this manner. Therefore, in my book, The Leaf Catcher, when I issue the challenge: “Can you go just one day without thinking a negative thought?” the sad truth is it is probably next to impossible not to even think a negative thought during the whole course of the day. However, when we become more aware of the amount of time and energy wasted as a result of these unproductive thoughts we put ourselves in a better position to consciously make an effort to turn these negative thoughts into more positive and productive ideas and actions.
The epiphany that the main protagonist, Corliss, has in the story that not only carries him through some of the greatest suffering a person could endure, but also finds him happily embracing his life is that most powerful of all mental concepts—perception. How we perceive, or rather how we choose to perceive, an event, person, place or thing, defines how we will experience our lives. What are some examples in your life where you were confronted with adversity and decided to turn it into something positive?