This upcoming week, in many parts of the Western World, people will be answering their doors to find children dressed as ghosts, goblins, superheroes, and other assorted characters. While the costumes will all be different, the greeting will be the same, no matter the language: "Trick or treat!" As I reflect on this Halloween greeting through the lens of wellness, I realize that these words also describe a fundamental choice in how a person approaches life. One can choose, for example, to view life as a wonderful gift, a "treat" for which to be grateful. Or, one can choose to view life with a negative "trick" mindset, best summed up in a bumper sticker I saw a while back: "Life sucks, and then you die."
Of course every life is filled with its share of blessings (treats) and difficulties (tricks). The balance of these two in each person's life is different, and not necessarily fair or even. What I am talking about though is not the particular good or bad fortune that a person is currently experiencing, but the fixed mindset they adopt. Having either a "trick or treat" mindset is analogous to a "half full or half empty" perspective, and the lens we choose to view life through has a profound impact on our well-being.
"Whatever we pay attention to is what will grow," is a core tenet of our Living Compass wellness initiative. If we pay attention to the negative in a person or relationship for example, we will find that soon that is all we can see. If we pay attention to the positive however, we will begin to notice the good in them and our positive feelings toward the other person will grow.
The saying from Mahatma Ghandi at the top of this column captures the power of our thoughts. It helps us see how one's mindset shapes one's thoughts, words, and then the actions that eventually become our habits.
Trick or treat! May we have the good fortune of hearing a young ghost or goblin exclaim these words this week, and may we also be reminded of the power our choice of mindset has to affect our well-being.