Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves. Gandhi

We went to a wedding on Saturday and on the table as we walked in a sign said. “There is no dress rehearsal, this is our life.” It was a great wedding planned by the groom. He did a great job.

From the groom, I got the idea he thought, his bride thought he couldn’t plan a great wedding. That being a man… he couldn’t pull it off. Pull it off he did,

Why do we have crazy expectations that certain people need to do certain things? Why do we assume things, we know we shouldn’t?

Yesterday I went to one of my favorite haunts looking for used books. I’d been there recently and left empty-handed. I’d seen a book I’ve kept thinking about so I went back to see if it was still there. It was, and I saw another little book called Handbook for the Positive Revolution by Edward de Bono.

The author says it is all too easy to complain, grumble, criticize and attack. This is our highly acclaimed “Western tradition of the critical search for the truth.” Most of the great revolutions have been negative, meaning they have been “against something.”

I like Edward de Bono’s idea of a positive revolution. His positive revolution consists of five principles. Why five, because we have five fingers on our hand and each finger represents a principle. The hand is the symbol of the positive revolution.

The thumb represents the first principle “Effectiveness.” Without effectiveness there are only dreams, nothing is accomplished unless we set out to do something, and do it. Effectiveness is the thumb because it is the thumb that makes our hand effective.

The index finger represents the second principle “Constructive.” The direction of the revolution is positive, not negative, constructive, not destructive. The index finger is the finger we use to point out the direction we are going in.

The second finger represents “Respect”. Respect covers the way we react to all other human beings, and I would add nature, and all things. Respect covers values and feelings. The second (middle) finger is the longest and respect is the most important principle. If we can’t be positive and respectful towards people, nature, etc. what is the point?

The third finger represents “Self-Improvement.” We all have the right and the duty to make ourselves better. This is both the energy of the revolution and its purpose.

The little finger represents “Contribution.” Contributing in a positive way is the essence of the positive revolution. Not what we can expect or demand, but what we can contribute. The little finger reminds us that even if our contribution is small, small contributions add up to big effects.

The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems. Gandhi

This is a revolution that we participate in by making our lives better, by making contributions. This is not a revolution where we point fingers at others, where we notice what someone else should be doing. We need to have positive expectations not of what others can contribute but what we can. Sometimes we enjoy being negative. We enjoy criticizing, blaming, and attacking. There is a degree of self-indulgence in negativity, it is easy and cheap. It requires nothing from us. Being negative is neither heroic nor intelligent.

Of course, we need to be able to think critically, but we value it too much, and we esteem it too much. What if we put being constructive on a much higher level than being negative? It is so much easier to tear others ideas down than to come up with our own ideas and actions to make things better. Isn’t achievement one of life’s most endurable joys?

What if instead of just criticizing things we ask, “How can this be done better?” When we see how things can be done better, what if we then ask, “What can be my contribution to making it better?”

We often think we are not in a position of power so what can we do? We can be an example, indeed we are an example, whether we want to be one or not.

There are three levels of contribution:

What do we contribute to our self?

How are we making ourselves better? Self-improvement is an important way to contribute to life. We become the change we want to see in the world. We sow the seeds we want to reap.

What do we contribute locally?

What do we contribute to our family, friends, community, and where we work? If we can contribute to more positive relationships in our families, communities, and workplaces this is a change whose effect ripples out much further than we may imagine. Indeed, it may be the biggest change we can make.

What do we contribute to our country and the world?

We may not think we are contributing to the country and the world when we do our part to create things, grow things, and produce things that are used outside of our smaller local circle. Even educating our children contributes to our community, country, and world. Everything is either negative or positive, the more positives we bring to our lives creates the ripple effect spreading positivity. In reverse, the more negativity we bring to our lives spreads more negativity in a ripple effect throughout our communities and the world.

It is our choice to be negative or positive. If we choose to be more positive in our lives, communities and the world will benefit. Even small things like not using plastic straws and drinking from disposable water bottles make a difference.

We all need to be the change we want to see in the world. If not us, who? If not now, when?

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. Gandhi

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed, filled with gratitude, positive contribution, and love.

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Handbook for a Positive Revolution: The Five Success Principles for Personal and Global Change by [de Bono, Edward]
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