Lessons from My Father

My dad had a keen imagination, and we would often play a
little good-night game that became our special ritual. Hewould
come into my room to talk to me and listen to the
triumphs and tragedies of my day.

As he was leaving, Dad had a way of leaning back against the
switch by my door and rubbing against it to “magically” blow
out my light like the birthday candles on a cake.

As he did his little routine, Dad would say: “I’m blowing
out your light now, and it will be dark for you.
In fact, asfar as you’re concerned, it will be dark all over the world
because the only world you ever know is the one you see
through your own eyes. So remember, Son, keep your light
bright. The world is yours to see that way. I love you, Son.
Good night.”

When I was very young, I used to lie there in bed after Dad
left and try to understand what he meant. It was confusing
to think that the whole world was dark when I was asleep
and that the only world I would ever know was the one I would
see through my own eyes.

What Dad was trying to tell me was that when I went to sleep
at night, as far as I was concerned, the world came to a
stop. When I woke up in the morning I could choose to see a
fresh new world through my own eyes — if I kept my light
bright. In other words, if I woke up happy, the world was
happy. If I woke up not feeling well, the world was not as
well off.

My father’s guidance about self-perception and the power in
the eye of the beholder was invaluable. What he was trying
to teach me with his little light show was this: “Denis,
everything depends on how you want to look at what happens
in life. It doesn’t make any difference what is going on
‘out there’ — What makes a difference is how you take
it.”

Instead of teaching me “my glass was half-empty,” my father
taught me “my glass was more than half-full.” He taught me
to view life as something that was continually opening and
expanding with new opportunities and events to enjoy.

Somewhere he picked up a bit of quantum physics theory.
Depending on the kind of experiment you conduct, a particle
of light can become a light beam or a light wave. It all
depends on how you want to examine it. The light can change
form, not because of it’s properties — it still remains
light — but because of how you choose to behold it.

My dad taught me that ugliness or beauty is in the eye of
the beholder. Want and abundance are in the eye of the
beholder. Being mediocre or being the best depends on the
eye of the beholder.

Those good-night rituals with my father taught me that it
didn’t make any difference what the other kids said, what
the other kids wore, or what they did. Their opinion of me
wasn’t that important. What was important was the
way Ihandled what they might do and say.

And the same is true for both you and me today… People’s
opinions of me isn’t what is important, it’s the way I
handle their opinions and actions that makes the
difference.

Denis Waitley