For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

Life is all about perspective and the above quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet sums up this notion quite well. Realistically, all events in life, all happenings, are absolutely neutral. Even when you are hit with the worst of circumstances, there is a silver lining. By the same accord, when you come into some good news, it cannot be wholly good. The event itself is completely neutral; it’s only how you interpret the event that determines whether it is a good thing or a bad thing.

Let’s take career directions as an example. There are many people who are stuck in a cubicle on a 9-to-5 basis, itching for the opportunity to start their own businesses. Maybe they’d like to become a professional blogger and writer, for example. The cubicle job, in and of itself, is not bad. It’s only because this particular individual is interpreting it as a negative experience. A different person placed in the same position may appreciate the security and predictability of that job. To this second person, it is a positive experience.

This relates in many ways to the concept of a glass being half-empty or half-full. In reality, 50% of the glass has water and 50% of it does not. Whether you choose to focus on the part that is filled or the part that is not determines how you interpret the situation. In reality, the circumstances are absolutely neutral.

Given this concept, no matter what happens in your life, you can choose to interpret it in a positive manner. Got laid off from work? This means that you have an opportunity to pursue a hobby or a new career. Got into a car accident? Maybe that rental car will get you thinking about what your next vehicle should be… or maybe you’ll choose to take public transit instead. You’ve got to learn to roll with the punches, use goals as guidance, and smell a few flowers along the way. Flowers are nice.

In my experience, novelty is the greatest key to happiness. I enjoy playing with new toys, traveling the world, and eating exotic food. For other people, these could be the scariest and most unnerving experiences possible. They’d prefer predictability and stability. (Remember the cubicle guy at the beginning?)

Remember that any given situation can always be interpreted in a different way. It’s neither good nor bad. It’s only what you make of it.