Anger. Bad Drivers. The World Ending. What do these things have in common?
They are things that many people feel, see, or experience on almost a daily basis. Some people believe that almost all drivers are bad, that the world is full of angry people, and that the world could very well devolve into war or suffer cataclysmic weather changes soon.
I work as an attorney. I often have conversations with clients who feel certain of something. Some feel that the government is secretly tracking or targeting them. Some feel that the person on the other side of the issue did something purely to spite them. Some feel that they fully understand exactly how and why a person thinks as they do.
Very often, as issues develop and information comes from the other side, additional facts come to light. The other facts can, and often do, radically change the initial picture presented by a client. Hearing the other side of a situation often frames it in a very different way.
However, it is common for people to receive new information from the other side with the response of “he’s lying”. When the information presented doesn’t line up with the conclusions we have drawn inside, the easiest way to reconcile the conflict is to say that the other person is lying.
As I have looked at my own life, I have realized that I am not immune from drawing conclusions based on what I am looking for. If I am looking for a conspiracy, I will find facts that point to one. If I am looking for an evil motive, I will likely find one. If I feel that all drivers are bad, I will constantly notice the bad drivers, but entirely miss cataloguing in my mind all of the good interactions I have with other drivers.
In the Bible, we are told: “Ask, and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find.” Interestingly, there is no limit on what we shall receive or find, meaning that there is no promise that we will be protected from finding bad things, incorrect things, or things we shouldn’t be seeking.
In other words, the phrase “Ask, and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find,” could be viewed as both a promise and a warning.
If I want to find issues or weaknesses in my spouse, I will. If I want to find reasons to not interact with my neighbors, I will. If I want to find ways to justify my poor media choices, I will.
I am learning more and more that my mind records or catalogues the things that support my beliefs or desires inside. If I believe that politicians are corrupt, I will find evidence to support it. If I believe that the world is getting worse, I will find evidence to support it. If I do not believe in my ability to change the world, for good, I will find evidence to justify my lack of action or effort to do anything to help.
“Seek and ye shall find” might also be phrased as “your mind will find and record evidence that supports what you desire inside.” If you want to find God, you will, and you will see His hand throughout your life. If you do not want to find God, you will find a lot of coincidence or luck. What is coincidence for some is the hand of God for others, and the way each person draws a conclusion is based on what they are seeking inside.
Our beliefs and desires are like a filter. They let through information that supports our beliefs and desires, and they block out information that doesn’t support them.
Our experiences can cause us to have new filters placed on what we see. Abuse, failure, divorce, etc. all can shape what we feel or believe about the world. Pessimism can affect what we see or experience.
But, we don’t have to wallow in negativity. We can see and experience good as well. We can seek ways to help a person, and we will find a way or a person that needs help. We can work to help change our community for the better, and we will find ways to do that.
As I have reflected more on the filters that may exist on my mind, I have become much more at peace inside as I work to increase my desire to know what is true. Rather than seeking to find things that support what I already believe, I have started looking to understand where I am wrong.
I still see evil in the world, I still have bad drivers cut me off, and I still see the possibility that the world could devolve quickly into war. However, these things don’t sit inside and agitate me as I also see good drivers, I see good people doing good things on a daily basis, and I see a world full of potential.
Both possibilities can co-exist. There can be both bad and good drivers, the world can have very negative or very positive potentials, and we can all have the potential to change the world, for good.
I remember seeing a news story once about an important professional basketball game. The news article stated that it was one of the worst games ever for the home team and that the entire team didn’t show up to play. The article reported that the home team’s fans were booing the team, something that was extremely uncommon for this team as they usually had a very loyal fan base.
Along with the story, I expected to see a blowout loss, but the basketball team only lost by 6 points, or two shots from the three-point line. The fans of the home team were booing their team when the team only needed to make two more shots to tie the game.
I wasn’t at the game, and maybe the news article reported on how the team actually looked or felt. But, to me, there was something missing, as two shots can be made in basketball in a minute or less. At what point did the fans decide that the team was without hope and start booing them?
From what I could tell from the article, the fans started booing in the third quarter, long before the game was over. The fans were seeing something, but they seemed to miss that some positive cheering could easily turn the tide to help their team win.
The team was in the NBA playoffs. Many fans wanted them to make it to the finals, but an objective look at the season’s record would show that the team would not make it far in the playoffs. However, many fans still hoped inside they would make it.
As I read the article, I wondered, did the fans receive what their actions were seeking for that game? Reasons to blame their team for not making it to the finals? Someone else to blame the fans’ false hopes on?
Rather than celebrate the fact that their team fought through a lot of issues during the season and still made it to the playoffs at least, the fans were angry with their team for losing by 6 points.
The world is in need of a lot of help. What this means is that there are people all around us who need help. The world is simply a collection of people interacting with each other.
All of us know that the world has issues, but many of us feel that we are unable to make a difference, and many of us do not try. We simply sit at home, waiting for someone else to do something.
“Seek and ye shall find.” If you seek to find reasons why you can’t do anything to help in the world, you will find reasons to justify not working to help.
However, if you seek to find ways you can help, you will find them. There are ways to help the world all around us, and most of them start with helping another person in need.
A few experiences that have personally impacted me:
-I was unemployed one Christmas and a family gave Christmas presents to our kids. That kindness still touches my heart to this day and makes me want to continue to give to others.
-We moved into a new home and a single mom in the neighborhood brought us a lasagna for dinner. I still remember how good that tasted that night and how appreciative I was that she would think of us.
-I don’t hear back from most clients after their legal issues are over, but I have had a few come back and express thanks for my work. Those that express thanks help give me the motivation to continue working to help others with their own legal issues.
These experiences did not involve starting a new business, being a CEO, or doing something with thousands of people. My world changed with each interaction, and each kind interaction I experienced help to reduce the power of the filters I had placed on my mind.
We change the world by changing individuals and their lives. The world is made up of countless interactions between people. We absolutely have the power and ability to influence and change things.
We can make our home a happier place. We can make our neighborhood street more connected by inviting people over for a BBQ. We can help our local school district improve, thus impacting the lives of countless children. We can contribute in our town or community and shape the lives of even more people.
We will find the opportunities we seek. We will find the information or facts we seek.
In other words, we need to be careful about what we are looking for and be intentional about what we want to find, as what we seek for may make all the difference in how we perceive or see the world.
At Believe, we are working to change the world, for good. We are a community of people who are willing to work and help another. We would love to have you join us. The world may never be the same.