Friday, December 9, 2022


Are you tugging your leash?



By Chuck Woodbury
rsj-logoI am an optimist. When problems happen, I immediately figure out how to deal with them. If a boulder blocks my path, I simply figure a way around it.

Other people — and I have known many — stand at that same boulder and complain: “Woe is me, there is a boulder blocking my path.” They stand there and complain to all who will listen. These people, pessimists, waste much of their lives identifying problems, complaining.

dog-765Here’s an example: Most of us have walked a dog on a leash. Some dogs (lets say Dog 1) follow ahead of us at the pace we set. The dog savors the smells of the dogs that have passed before him, enjoying the journey. The other dog (Dog 2) tugs at his leash as hard as he can in an effort to go faster, which doesn’t do any good. He chokes himself with every step and exhausts himself. 

So let’s say the dog owners and their animals are walking down two sides of a street. They start at the same time, walking at the same pace, on their way, say, to the general store. They arrive at the same time, as do their dogs. Dog 1 had a leisurely walk, enjoying the sights and smells along the way, enjoying every step. Dog 2, tugged at his leash all the way, choking with each step, his effort wasted, yet he arrived at the same time as Dog 1 .

People go through their lives in similar ways. The optimist enjoys his life journey, looking instinctively at the bright side, and knowing, yes, there will be problems, but simply dealing with them routinely as a part of life.

The pessimist find obstacles everywhere, complaining endlessly about his misfortune. In the end, one person has enjoyed his life journey, the other has found it fraught with obstacles and frustration.

Which are you? 



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Sheridan J Ball
6 years ago

Loved your “parable” of the two dogs. So true. I admit that I always try to stay in a Dog 1 frame of mind, but that other rascal, Dog 2, can sneak in uninvited on occasion. Your missive was a good reminder to cultivate the more positive perspective.
As always, Chuck, I thoroughly enjoy your newsletter and your Roadside Journal.
PS – Welcome to the world of full-timers. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have.
Sheridan Ball, Director (retired)
Meritáge Vocal Arts Ensemble