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Peter Griffiths Daily Herald Column 1984


Things Don't Happen In Threes

Daily Herald June 23, 1984

Expecting the worst usually results in the worst. Life is shaped more by your expectations than you realize. One example of this expectation is the sometimes humorous, but also sometimes serious, way that people will refer to two unpleasant events that have happened recently in their life. They often comment, "Well, something else unpleasant is going to happen soon to make it three." Unhappy events don't happen in three's, two's or any other superstitious number. Unhappy events occur one at a time.

People often forget that happy events occur as well, and also, one at a time. Yet how quickly many people discount or forget the positive or happy events in their life, and focus on their unpleasant experiences.

Just as your eyes use lenses to focus and adjust to your visual experiences in life, your mind shapes and focuses your reaction to events in your life.

If you think negatively, you will likely feel badly, and end up acting badly, either towards yourself or others. Your mind will develop and act on the thoughts you give it.

Many circumstances of life grow out of thoughts and beliefs. People who succeed in life, at whatever it is they attempt, do so partly because of their belief that they are a success. Success is an internal attitude. Material or financial success does not always equal personal success in life.

People who believe they are a failure will end up as a failure, regardless of what opportunities are provided them. Until you believe in yourself, you will find it almost impossible to succeed.

Realizing you own your expectations is critical for success. Expectations don't always turn into reality, but positive expectations give a person the energy and strength to deal effectively with whatever occurs, regardless of whether it is what you wanted to happen.

Victor Frankl, a psychiatrist, noted that his fellow prisoners in a German concentration camp during the 40's would live or die, mainly based on their belief in themselves and their will to live.

You can also "will" unhappy events to occur in threes. Sure, after the third event, you may say to yourself, "Well, that's it for my bad luck now". Yet, what happens when, later on, a fourth unhappy event occurs. You then start to expect further unhappy events to occur in your life.

Things happen one at a time. Whether they are seen as the worst or the best is determined by you alone.

One effective way of living is to look for something positive in everything that happens, even though, there may be negative or unhappy aspects to the event. By focusing on the positives, you end up with a positive attitude towards life, and positive living. Things happen, one thing at a time, and how you see or interpret them is the most important thing of all.

Return to 1984 Index of Daily Herald Columns


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