Reading comments on facebook after England voted to leave the EU has left a sense of feeling down. Two hours ago, none the wiser for any decision, I was feeling fine. Now I connect to public opinion about public decisions and I’m not anymore because of the bleak outlook that is forecast as a result. But that is future and that is not now. Yes, but what do I have to look forward to, comes the retort, ensuing an internal battle between now and then.
Truth is, no matter how much we talk about then, it is always in the now, this moment, with this projection based on this perspective. What do we know about the future? Only what we can perceive about the possibilities from past experience and our limited perspective. Positive psychology looks at the possibilities from the strengths rather than the weaknesses. We can bury ourselves in the media trying to dig the dirt on those responsible and play the blame game while deepening our anger, resentment and frustration about the decision. Or we can say this is what has happened now, this is what people are saying now, so let’s see what can happen next, or what opportunities arise of this situation.
There’s a story of a man who had a beautiful horse and all the villagers were jealous. Even the king said he would pay a handsome sum of money for this horse but the farmer refused to sell. One day the horse escaped from its stable and on hearing this the villagers came round to see if it was true. They told the farmer what a mistake he had made not to sell the horse when he could have made so much money, and now he has nothing. And all the farmer could say was: “I only know that the horse has gone.”
A couple of weeks later the horse came back with many other horses en tail. As soon as the villagers heard they came round to see the horses and told the farmer how lucky he was to have so many horses now as he can make lots of money. And all the farmer could say was: “I only know that the horse has come back with other horses.”
The farmer kept the horses on his land and his son took on the role of horse trainer trying to break them in but fell off a horse and broke his leg. On hearing this, the villagers were quick to comment with “what a shame about your son. He has fallen and maybe he will never walk again.” And all the farmer could say was: “I only know that my son has broken his leg.”
Very soon a war started in the land and the king called upon all men to be drafted to serve their country but with a broken leg, the farmer’s son was unable to go to war. Again words came from the villagers: “you are lucky, our sons will have to fight this war and may never return.” And all the farmer could say was: “I only know that my son will not serve in this war.”
The story keeps changing and the story is yours alone!