I was thrilled this week to be sitting next to the Australian food icon and wonderfully personable Maggie Beer on a flight from the Gold Coast back to Sydney. When Ms Beer was offered a newspaper from our flight attendant, and the flight attendant apologised that the newspaper was in fact yesterday’s news, Ms Beer politely and with her beaming warm smile said “That’s ok, I’ve been away for a week anyway so I can just skim it and catch up on the news.”

The three of us then had a brief conversation about how the newspapers and evening news focused mostly on ‘bad news’ anyway.

In the early nineties I met behavioural scientist and leading authority on Sales Call Reluctance George W. Dudley. One of my favourite of George’s sayings is “Watch who you let near your mind” and that advice is so true when it comes to choosing what you watch on TV and what you read in the newspapers.

What’s interesting to me is that my young adult sons rarely watch the evening news (in fact they don’t watch a lot of television at all… preferring to search out what’s on Youtube or selecting their own dvd’s to watch) and they rarely read the newspapers, often commenting on the “uninteresting rubbish” that is covered. Now… don’t get me wrong here, they’re not Perfect Princes. I do admit that I have many times passed comment to them about some of their choice in music… especially when I’ve realised what the negative and sometimes vulgar lyrics are actually saying, and also some of their choices they’re making in what video games they play.

My point is this, we need to be careful about what we allow to influence the way we think and the decisions we make.

I am confident the evening news is not representative of the way our world really is. In our neighbourhood good people are doing good things for themselves, their family, their friends and their community. And even in neighbourhoods that have gained a negative image, there will always be good people doing good things. It just isn’t ‘news-worthy’.

Now I’m not looking at the world through rose coloured glasses – I do realise that bad things happen and will continue to happen. But as the old saying goes, it’s just a case of me choosing to see the glass as half full rather than half empty. This is again about the power of choice. Everyone of us gets to choose how we want to view our world and I reckon most of the time we find what we seek.

So if you’re choosing to only see the negative, or at least that’s what you’re focusing on most of the time, there’s a big chance that you will find yourself living in a negative world. Whereas, despite things going wrong, and negative things happening, when you acknowledge these things with a healthy and balanced assessment, and then move on to focusing on the good in this world, the good in yourself, the good in others, you will continue to see, experience and move closer toward living a more happy, flourishing and prosperous life.