A teacher brought a ten gallon aquarium of clear water into the classroom. To this crystal clear water she added a few drops of blue dye. The result? Cloudy, blue water.
Looking out at her class, she asked the question, "How much water will I have to add back into the tank to get it crystal clear again?"
"Several drops?" said one student.
The teacher added several drops. Nothing changed.
Realizing it would take more, the teacher started adding water. After adding several GALLONS of fresh water, the water was once again crystal clear.
People are just like that crystal clear tank of water. And the blue dye? One negative attitude. It doesn't take much negative "blue" to taint a person, a family or a team. And once the "blue" invades, it's going to take a whole lot of positive to get it clear again!
I think of this illustration often. Unfortunately, I've watched "blue dye"infiltrate a crystal clear tank. I hate to see this happen because the attitude of a person, family and team is so important!
I know for me, I have to guard my attitude because I can be my own worst "blue dye". I certainly don't want to pollute my own tank let alone taint another persons'. So I know I have to limit the amount of negative I intake, and doing this ensures the amount of negative thoughts I think and words I say are limited.
One way I do this is by avoiding negative media. Radio and TV are teaming with negative. Instead, I listen to Team and LIFE Cds and read good books as much as possible. I strive every day to speak all the positive I can.
I also limit my time in negative conversations. I do this by reframing. I appreciate what Orrin Woodward has taught my on this subject. (The Resolved book is an excellent source on how to do this.) If reframing doesn't work, I remove myself from the negative source completely.
Recently, I was reading an article that mentioned Socrates' filter test. (There's no evidence proving this is actually Socrates' filter test, but I think it's good enough to use anyway, regardless of who said it first!) The filter test is an excellent way to filter the negative out of our own minds as well as that coming from others!
Socrates was said to hold knowledge in high esteem.
One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, "Socrates, do you know what I just heard about your friend?"
"Pause a moment," Socrates replied. "Before telling me anything, I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test."
"That's right," Socrates continued. "Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you're going to say.
The first filter is TRUTH. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"
"No," the man said, "Actually I just heard about it and......."
"All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's true or not.
Now let's try to second filter, the filter of GOODNESS. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?"
"No, on the contrary......"
"So" Socrates continued, "You want to tell me something bad about him, but you're not certain it's true. You may still pass the test though, because there is one filter left: The filter of USEFULNESS. Is what you're about to tell me about my friend useful to me?"
"No, not really."
"Well," concluded Socrates, "If what you're about to tell me is neither true nor good or even useful, then why tell me at all?"
Brilliant! Speak all the true, goodness filled useful things you can! That will certainly keep our mind crystal clear! It will also help you guard your own family and your team from any "blue dye" that tries to cloudy the waters with thinking that isn't even true, good or useful!
I challenge you to be a crystal clear tank and guard yourself and others from untrue, bad and useless blue dye that only serves to make you feel lousy, slow you down and cloudy up an otherwise awesome day!