March 6, 2009
by Charles R. Swindoll
We live in a negative, hostile world. Face it, my friend, the system that surrounds us focuses on the negatives: what is wrong, not what is right; what is missing, not what is present; what is ugly, not what is beautiful; what is destructive, not what is constructive; what cannot be done, not what can be done; what hurts, not what helps; what we lack, not what we have. You question that? Pick up your local newspaper and read it through. See if the majority of the news doesn't concern itself (and the reader) with the negatives. It's contagious!
This negative mindset leads to incredible feelings of anxiety. Surround most people with enough negatives and I can guarantee the result: fear, resentment, and anger. Negative information plus hostile thinking equals anxiety.
We are also engulfed in mediocrity and cynicism (a direct result of living in a negative world). Without the motivation of divinely empowered insight and enthusiasm, people tend toward the "average," doing just enough to get by. Thus, the fallout from the system is mediocrity. The majority dictates the rules, and excitement is replaced with a shrug of the shoulders. Excellence is not only lost in the shuffle, whenever it rears its head, it is considered a threat.
That's why most people choose not to live differently. Those who take their cues from the system blend into the drab backdrop of the majority. Words like "Just go with the flow" and "Don't make waves" and "Who cares?" begin to gain a hearing.
Stop and think. In a world where all that cynicism is present, what is absent? Courage! That strong muscle of character that gives a nation its pride and gives a person the will to excel is gone.
I challenge you to be different, to stand apart from the crowd, with inner fortitude and strength of character. Be disciplined to remain consistent, strong, and diligent regardless of the odds or the demands. Have courage!
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.