Monday, February 23, 2009

Finding the Good News

A few years ago I read of a Ukraine businessman who bought a pager for each member of his staff as a New Year’s gift. As he was returning from the pager shop, all 50 beepers on the back seat of his automobile simultaneously burst out screeching. He was so alarmed that he drove his car into a lamp post, just 100 meters from his office.

After he assessed the damage to the car, the businessman turned his attention to the message on the 50 pagers. It read: “Congratulations on a successful purchase!” (Reuters, Jan. 14, 1999)

That got his attention. Unfortunately, it’s the bad news – newspaper headlines and world events – that generally clamor the loudest to get noticed.

And there is enough bad news all around. I came across an article that reported a study of a large group of people who were instructed to evaluate all the information they received for a year and a half. They were asked to record whether what they were seeing and hearing all day long was positive or negative. These researchers determined that ninety percent of the input the group received was negative – bad news.

That may not come as a surprise to everyone. Over a half-century ago, Franklin Roosevelt told about an old man who was losing his hearing and went to the doctor for help. He was advised to quit drinking alcohol. When his family asked him what he was going to do, he replied, “Well, I’ve given it a lot of thought and I’ve decided I like what I’ve been drinkin’ so much better than what I’ve been hearin’, I’m just gonna keep on gettin’ deaf.”

But there is still good news aplenty. We can still hear encouraging words from friends. Any day we can witness numerous acts of generosity and kindness. And we can still spot signs all around us of love and hope. Sometimes we may have to look a little more closely, but the good news is there.

Are you finding it? It’s worth the effort.

-- Steve Goodier

Image: Schroeder, image adapted

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is one reason I do not watch the news, except for the weather. It seems media thrives on negativity and that is not what my life is about. I see good and hope all around. But sometimes it is hard. I have subscribed to your messages for a while now and have added your blog to my blog list. Thanks for your inspiration!