March 8

Today's quotation:

Look steadily on the bright side of life.  Cultivate the grace of a good hope.  Imitate the fine optimism of those of whom it is said that they could see stars where their neighbors saw only an unbroken expanse of clouds.

George Hodges

Today's Meditation:

What do you see when you look at the world?  What would you say if someone told you that how you see the world helps to determine how the world treats you?  The world is a mirror, and if you choose to see gloom and doom, guess what your world will be full of. . . .

This isn't said as a criticism--after all, there are people who seem to thrive in gloom.  But there are many other people who long to see the stars but who can't look past the clouds to see them.  And those are the people to whom George's advice is directed:  we choose what we want to look at, the bright side or the dark, the optimism or the pessimism.  If I want to feel good about myself and my life, then I obviously must be good to myself and give positively to my life.

We have plenty of positive people in the world who are great role models of seeing the world in a positive light.  But instead of looking at these people and wishing we could see the world more brightly, perhaps we could look at them and learn from them--just what do they do or say to make their worlds brighter?  When we start to imitate people that we admire, many of the traits that we admire end up becoming ours, in our own unique ways.  I can imitate someone without becoming a copy, as long as I adapt their actions to fit me.  I can be cheerful, for example, but it's not as easy for me to smile constantly as it is for some other people.  So why not imitate their cheerfulness without the smile on my face?  That's more true to who I am.

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and it's a great learning and teaching tool.  We don't have to imitate to be just like someone, but imitation can help us to learn to bring more positive things to our lives.

Questions to consider:

Whom do you admire most?  What do you admire about them?

When have you learned before from imitation?  Was the learning effective, and did it stay with you?

When do we hear negative things about imitation?  Why might people see imitation as something negative?

For further thought:

Imitation, if it is not forgery, is a fine thing.  It stems from a generous impulse, and a realistic sense of what can and cannot be done.

James Fenton



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