A young man asked his old mentor “Isn’t it better to be an optimist rather than a pessimist?”
“That depends” said the old man. “Look out the window to your right and tell me what you see.”
The young man walked over to the window and looks out.
“I see two boys in a schoolyard. The bigger boy is bullying the younger one over his bicycle.” He reported.
“Now go to the window to your left and tell me what you see.” repeated the mentor.
The young man walked over to the other window and stared out.
“I see a mother yelling at her daughter because she dropped the grocery bag with the eggs she was carrying.”
“And now go to the last window and tell me what you see.” said the old man once more.
The young man looked through the third window and said, “I see a beautiful young woman sunbathing on a green lawn with the sun beating down on her bronze tan body.”
“Now,” asked the old man, “if you had to look out only one window for the rest of your life which one would you choose?”
The young man answered without any hesitation, “The
window with the beautiful girl, of course.”
“Yes, you are right. But what will happen to the young woman who can’t get to her crying baby because she has locked herself out of her apartment?” The old man asked.
The young man thought about this for a moment and then said, “I didn’t see a woman who is locked out of her apartment through any of the windows.”
“You are not looking hard enough. Turn around and open the door behind you.” instructed the mentor.
The young man did what he was told. When he opened the door, sure enough, he saw a young woman in distress in the hallway while her baby cried inside her apartment. Quickly he went out into the hallway and calmed the woman down. Then, with some effort, he managed to force the door open so the woman could get to her baby and see to his needs.
Afterwards, he went back to the old man’s apartment. “If I’d known, I would have acted sooner.” He explained to his mentor.
“If you kept looking out the window with the pleasant scene you would have never known.” responded the old man.
“It is more important to try to be aware
of everything around you not just focus on what you find pleasant.”