The Bright Side of Life | Booker T. Washington Audiobook

Podcast Transcript: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast, brought to you in part by Book of Zen, makers of inspirational fashion and gift ideas. Visit them online at Today’s podcast has been edited and adapted from Character Building by Booker T. Washington, published in 1902.

THERE ARE QUITE A NUMBER OF DIVISIONS into which life can be divided, but for the purposes of today’s talk, I am going to speak with you of two: the bright side of life and the dark side.

In thought, in talk, in action, I think you will find that you can separate life into these two divisions: the dark side and the bright side, the discouraging side and the encouraging side. You will find, too, that there are two classes of people. There is one class that is schooling itself, and constantly training itself, to look upon the dark side of life; and there is another class, made up of people who are, consciously or unconsciously, constantly training themselves to look upon the bright side of life.

Now it is not wise to go too far in either direction. The person who schools themselves to see the dark side of life is likely to make a mistake, and the person who schools themselves to look only upon the bright side of life, forgetting all else, is also apt to make a mistake.

Even so, I think I am right in saying that persons who accomplish the most in this world, those to whom on account of their helpfulness the world looks most for service (who are most useful in every way) are those who are constantly seeing and appreciating the bright side, despite the dark side of life.

You will sometimes find two persons who get up in the morning, perhaps a morning that is overcast—a damp, wet, rainy, uninviting morning. And one of these persons will speak of the morning as being gloomy, will speak of the mud-puddles about the house, of the rain, and of all of the disagreeable features.

The second person, the one who has schooled themselves to see the brighter side of life, the beautiful things in life, will speak of the beauties that are in the rain drops, and the freshness of the newly bathed flowers, shrubs, and trees.

Notwithstanding the gloomy and generally disconsolate appearance of things, this person will find something attractive in the scene outdoors, and will discover something in the gloomy morning that will cheer them up.

What is the result of this kind of optimistic attitude? You become an individual whom people will like to see coming near them—an individual to whom people will go for encouragement when the hours are dark, and when everything seems to be discouraging.

If you are currently a college student, when you go into a classroom, do not dwell upon any mistakes that you may think you see the teacher make, or upon any weakness in the presentation of the lesson. All teachers make mistakes sometimes. And you may depend upon it that it is an excellent teacher and a person of fine character who, when he or she has made a mistake, says frankly and plainly, “I have made a mistake,” or “I don’t know.”…..

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