Oct 16

Live With It or Deal With It

In Brief—Problems come into our lives, so we have a choice to either accept what has come our way or we can change it. The choice is ours.

Not Choosing is a Choice—

Illusions book cover“Illusions” by Richard Bach contains a wise bit of advice: “There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.”

A second story illustrates the difference between an optimist and a pessimist. Two little boys are put in different rooms. One little boy is put in a room filled with horse manure and a shovel while the other little boy is put in a room filled with shiny new toys.

After a while, the researchers open the second little boy’s door to find him crying and the toys untouched. “Why are you crying?” they ask. The second little boy sobs, “All of these toys are just going to get broken.” When they open the door to the first little boy’s room they find him whistling and digging away. “Why are you so happy” they ask. The little boy replies, “With all this manure there has to be a pony in here somewhere.”

Put the two stories together and I ask, are you looking for the gift when a problem arises in your life?

We are often told that we should leave the world a better place than when we arrived. Good advice but that doesn’t mean you need to engage in selfless service to those less fortunate although that is good way to live your life. Think of the many ways you can live your life for the betterment of those around you and those you meet.

A Blueprint for a Better Person—

First, a caution: Don’t let perfection be the enemy of the doable. Remember that you are human and give yourself a break. The goal is making yourself a better person, not a saint.

  • Be honest with yourself. Honesty with others will follow. Shakespeare’s admonition is always true: ”To thine own self be true.” Honesty with yourself is hard, but it’s necessary. Honesty becomes easy after a while; lies get harder until they collapse. A lie makes you feel bad, so it doesn’t make sense to court bad feelings.
  • Be fair to yourself. You give your friends a break, so give yourself a break. Put clearly, don’t beat up on yourself. If you make a mistake, refuse to tell yourself that you’re a bad person; you are human after all. Just try to avoid making that mistake again.
  • Several times a day—not just once or twice—tell yourself in positive terms that you are, for example, an honest and good person. It’s called an affirmation. Do you feel down? Tell yourself “I am feeling good” (present tense) not “I will feel good” (future tense).

If you want to read to your children Great! You’ll feel good, they’ll feel good and the bonus is that you might make them readers.

If you want to bring some cheer to your fellow workers in the office, Wonderful! They will feel better and so will you. That’s a good investment toward being a better person.

That’s enough for today. Honesty. Fairness. Affirmation. Your imagination can provide hundreds of suggestions. Let’s not overload you now with things you can do to leave the world a better place for your having been here.

Put your problems behind you and be a gift to the world. You are bringing about positive change. Beats living with the same old same old.



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  1. Bravi
    So beautiful! May I reprint it in the Hyp News?

      • Don Bay on October 17, 2016 at 06:47

      I figured this piece might interest you, Shelley. Yes, feel free to reprint it in the Hyp News. I hope the readers of Hyp News look for the gift in any problems they might have, and I send you much love and eternal thanks for being my gift.

    • Dave Meyers on October 16, 2016 at 20:49

    I’ve often been told that I am a perfectionist.
    I see it differently…… I just won’t accept mediocrity.
    Whether or not I can achieve perfection is another story.
    I know that, try as I might…..I can not.
    And I’m OK with that…..but I’ll keep on trying.

      • Don Bay on October 17, 2016 at 06:53

      Your work is so beautiful that your perfectionist tendencies show. But as you say, always remember that the perfect should never be the enemy of the possible. Keep at it, not least because you are an inspiration for me and others.

    • Brenda on October 18, 2016 at 02:32

    I wish I had your advice about when I was 14. Maybe those who read this blog will use this example to share with those in the growing stages. What bright and brilliant advice.

      • Don Bay on October 18, 2016 at 07:15

      Thanks for the strokes. A fact of life is that a person must first be stupid before becoming wise. It’s those 14-year-old mistakes that teach us the right way to live our lives. At least that is what the instructions in the box tell us.

  2. The biggest problem for me isn’t being perfect in the present, it’s being prefect in the past, which should be ridiculous and should be possible to overcome. Tolle exhorts us to be in the moment because that’s all there is. We can’t change the past so let it go. But past mistakes or stupidity pop up and sometimes it’s hard to pop them back down. Learning to be in the moment has been huge for me, but I can’t always manage it. Sudden shame at something 60 years ago. And all we can do is to keep on trying.

      • Don Bay on October 18, 2016 at 07:09

      Although I’m not entirely clear on what you mean, seems to me that being honest with yourself takes care of both past and present. That said, all a person can do is the best s/he is capable of doing. As I said earlier to Dave, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the possible. Face facts, we’re all human so there’s bound to be a flaw in there somewhere. The maker may be the only one who sees it though.

      Being in the moment is impossible for me and, I suspect, most people. I can be focused on being “in the now” when suddenly I feel a measure of remorse for some stupid act of mine in the past. Silly, I know, since I can’t change the past. My wife says, “Move on and make an effort to avoid doing that again.” Good advice.

      By the way, Tolle isn’t the first to recommend being in the moment.

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