Bob Tamasy: It All Depends On What Perspective You Take

  • Thursday, June 8, 2023
  • Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

We’ve all heard about the two types of people – the glass-half-full ones and the glass-half-empty types. The former are positive, optimistic folks who maintain total confidence that things will work out for the best, no matter how bad they might seem at the time. The latter fret that even when things are going well, some form of misfortune is lurking around the corner.

I did have one friend who defined a third category for himself. He used to say, “I’m a very positive person: I’m positive…things are going to get worse!”

There are times I’m inclined to agree with him. After hearing one Chicken Little after another shouting, “The sky is falling!” – news of carnage due to cars, guns, diseases, natural disasters or economic calamity – it’s tempting to conclude that “living on the edge” starts with the simple act of getting out of bed in the morning. We’ve long heard warnings that the world headed non-stop for the netherworld in the proverbial handbasket. We suspect maybe it’s really happening this time.

At such moments it would be nice to have Bobby McFerrin pay a friendly visit, singing his lilting tune, “Don’t Worry Be Happy.” Before the gloom settles in too deeply, I come to my senses and determine it’s a better idea to start accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative (someone really ought to write a song about that).

This doesn’t mean talking oneself into being a naïve Pollyanna. It’s about making a conscious effort to shift our mindset. Someone has observed that a bad attitude is like having a flat tire – you’re not going anywhere until you fix it.

President Abraham Lincoln understood this concept. He once said, “We can complain because roses have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” This was the perspective of a man who had more than his share of thorns to deal with, not least of which was his final evening on earth while attending a play at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 1865.

There are hundreds of other quotations we could cite for similar inspiration and encouragement, but I’ve found the very best are found in the Scriptures. There are many verses from which to choose, but one of myall-time favorite passages is Philippians 4:6-8.

This passage actually consists of two parts. The first two verses admonish, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

When we focus on the Lord, instead of the circumstances that are troubling us, and entrust our concerns to Him through prayer – and thankfulness, peace can reign in our hearts despite the chaos all around us.

The third verse exhorts, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” It follows that if we determine to make the Lord central to our thinking, we become freed from negative thoughts that everyday living can foster.

If we focus on what’s going on in practically any element of society, we can easily identify things that are untrue, far from noble, wrong and impure. God has given us a beautiful world to live in, but humankind has turned some of it ugly and despicable. Things of excellence and deserving of commendation – we’re to look for and concentrate on those.

This challenge is directed toward me probably more than anyone else who will read it. I need the great reminder from Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” The Lord is still causing all things to work for the good of those who love Him, as Romans 8:28 declares. That promise was true many centuries ago, and it remains true today.

Even when things outwardly look darkest and seem most dismal, we need to cling to the assurance, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He hasn’t changed – we can be positive about that!

* * *

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly published, ”Marketplace Ambassadors”; “Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace”; “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” A weekly business meditation he edits, “Monday Manna,” is translated into more than 20 languages and sent via email around the world by CBMC International. The address for his blog is His email address is

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