It all started when they saw the question paper. The much-awaited test day had come. Beholding them was a blank sheet with a black bold dot on it, right in front of their desks.
Sandra and Thelma had prepared so much for this test. The Dean doesn’t joke when it comes to setting ‘difficult’ test or exam questions so everyone had prepared very well. Really very well! Including Sandra and Thelma who share same room off-campus.
Sandra!!! Thelma called as she gazed at the seemingly empty sheet of paper. She turned to Sandra in surprise. Wharrisdis? A blank sheet of paper as test question? Ahdongerrit. Dean doesn’t fail to pull surprises. She sighed.
Just then, she was interrupted by the Dean’s voice…”Take a closer look at your test– sheets, I want you all to write down what you observe and submit to me after 15minutes. Your time starts now!”
All the students in the exam hall stared hard at each other in bewilderment. None of them expected a blank sheet for a test question after studying so hard. But they had no choice than to begin to write as instructed. Each carefully describing and interpreting what they had seen on their sheets – The bold black dot on a white sheet of paper. (Makes no sense right?)
When they were done, they all submitted their sheets. Everyone had written about the black dot and tried to interpret and describe it in the best possible way they could.
The Dean read out all of their answers, all the answers seemed the same. Everyone had concentrated on the black dot on the WHITE sheet of paper. Describing it in all manner of ways black, as much as they could.
He paused for a while and then began to speak to them.
You see, He started…”In life, we mostly concentrate on the dark side. We focus more on the dark side of life. You can see in this test sheets, (He raises some of them for all the students to see). You have all spent a lot of time describing the black dot on your question paper, each very keenly. Not one person wrote about the WHITE part even though it occupied a vast portion of the sheet.”
That’s because we usually are more prone to looking out for ‘what is wrong‘ he continued, So we constantly focus on the dark side instead of trying to reframe a situation. (Attempting to find the possibilities that may be.)
Then he stopped.
Now let me explain:
Negative thinking is the number one cause of chronic depression. You could tell from the story, that the students became sad on sighting their question paper. If only they had had a re-thought and focused their minds on seeing and writing about the brighter (white) side which was just staring at them in the face, they would have realized how easy the test was and ofcourse been very happy after all.
Are you like one of these students? Having a hard time putting a positive spin on ‘difficult’ situations? Focusing on the ‘black dots‘? These ‘black dots‘ not only cause chronic stress and damages to our immune system, they also deplete the brain of chemicals required for happiness!
What is The lesson in this short story? I’d love to have your contributions in the comments.
Take a look at this 2 Minutes read: 5 easy ways to cultivate a positive mindset. (Personal growth)
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Until next time,