Posted by: bellazon | October 5, 2011

SpongeBob, Shakespeare, and (almost) unlimited possibilities

Recently, while watching a SpongeBob Squarepants episode with one of my grandchildren, I had a sudden, almost mystical experience.
Well, maybe not mystical; but an interesting experience of the interconnectedness
of things, and the eternal nature of truth.

 

As seems to be the case in SpongeBob’s world (and my own), circumstances were all
over the map, things happening that could have left a weaker, less hopeful
sponge wailing about how unfair, how difficult, life is.  Our hero, however, was proclaiming over and over (I still can’t get it out of my head) “This is the BEST day EVER!”  And what occurred to me in a flash was a quote from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet – “There is nothing neither good nor bad, but thinking makes it so”.  Now, I doubt that SpongeBob and the Bard were ever drinking buddies, but they seem to have reached a similar and profound understanding – how you think is what you get.

 

SpongeBob was doing something I urge my clients (and myself) to do routinely –

look for the gift in whatever is happening.
Now I doubt that this was a philosophical or spiritual thing for him;
however the result was the same.  His day was just a period of time that was open to interpretation.  Was it the best day or the worst?  Were his charming yet odd experiences positive or negative?  Were they disasters or exciting challenges? How many different ways could he rise to those challenges?  What was there in the
day that was the gift for him?

 

The
power of all this lies in the fact that he, like the rest of us, got to choose
his interpretation and then react to it.
He could have been miserable, but he wasn’t.  He could have been stressed and overwhelmed
by his circumstances, but he wasn’t.
Now, I grant you that this is a cartoon and life is somewhat different
(and wetter) in his world than in our own.
But the lesson seems to be the same for us all.  Our experiences can be looked at,
interpreted, and reacted/responded to in any number of ways.  If I may paraphrase the Bard, the way you
choose to think about and understand your experiences determines your internal
state.  The only real limitation to
your success lies in the way you’re thinking about what’s possible.

 I have just come from a funeral of a family friend where that that bit of wisdom
was apparent.  This was a man truly loved by not only his family, but his church, his community, his former co-workers.  And the service held to remember him was truly a celebration; lots of laughter, stories, tender memories.  Those who had loved him had chosen to think about his passing in light of his living, and in doing so honored him with a party.  It could have been so different, mournful, dark, hopeless; however the choice was made to celebrate, and that choice changed everything.

Try this – the next time you find yourself sliding into a negative or limiting
perspective, ask yourself “how else could I look at this situation? What if I
see it as filled with beauty?  What if it’s a creative challenge?  What if I chose
to find the humor in it?  What are the other possibilities beyond what I’m currently seeing?”  Change your perspective, and you change your world.

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