My lecturer, Dr Ko Soo Meng, shared this story with us last night. He told this story to a man who believes that every one in the world sees only the negative side of him. His client is someone who has exceptionally bad interpersonal relations with almost every one around him. People just seem to always treat him badly. So Dr Ko told him the story:
The was once a New Yorker who invited his African Tribesman friend to visit New York. He knew that his african friend has never visited a city and was delighted to host him in the Big Apple. He bought him a return ticket from Africa to New York and when the African man arrived, he was dazzled and amazed by all the shiny surfaces, the tall buildings, the electronic billboards and the little boxes that people use to talk to each other.
The New Yorker took him for a walk down Times Square. As the African man marveled at the giant billboards and neon lights, he suddenly stopped walking. His arm shot out in front of the New Yorker to stop him and he raised his finger to his lip.
“Can you hear that?” Asked the African Man, “There is a cricket around here!”
“Impossible! This is Times Square, how is it possible for anyone to hear a cricket!”laughed the New Yorker.
But the African Man prowled the street and he gestured wildly to the New Yorker as he pointed to a potted plant beside a shop, “There! There! There! Don’t you see?”
The New Yorker bent down to get a closer look and true enough a little cricket was in the pot. “How did you hear the cricket over all this ruckus?” Asked the New Yorker.
The African Man pondered for a while, reached into the stunned New Yorker’s pocket and grabbed a handful of coins. He flung the coins into the air. As the coins twinkled and dropped, every one around bent down to pick up the coins almost immediately.
“What are you trying to show me?”Asked the confused New Yorker.
The African Man smiled, “You see where I come from, we live with nature. Every day I smell the scent of different flowers and animals; I hear the calls of the animals; I listen to the whispers of the wind. Crickets are just one of the creatures that I always listen out to crickets to. What you focus on, you magnify by many times and hence you react to what you magnify.”
Life has always positives and negatives. How good or how bad life is very much depends on which part we magnify. For this client, because he magnified the negatives of people very much, he found it very difficult to interact with them. In your own life, do you magnify the negatives as well? It’s actually normal too, but in excess, it’s unhealthy.