If you’re not sure, guest positively

Unhappy people take a situation in which they are not sure and come to a negative conclusion. For example, if they aren’t certain why another person is being nice, they assume that the person must have a hidden selfish agenda. Happy people take that same situation and guess the positive possibility, that is, that the person really is nice.

Henry is a seventy-year-old man who always had a good word for his neighbors. He lived modestly in Arkansas in a small home with only a wood stove for heat. Over the years, Henry watched his home deteriorate steadily. But he was too old and had too little money to fix it up. One of his neighbors organized a group to virtually rebuild Henry’s house, giving it modern heat and plumbing. Henry was stunned by this. Why were all these people taking such an interest in him, in his house? He initially wondered, What did they stand to gain? Were they trying to change his house so that it would make their houses worth more?

Any situation can be viewed as an act of selfishness, if that’s how you want to view it. Taking this perspective makes us cold,critical, and cynical. And there’s no way out of it, because a person
we view negatively cannot do anything to improve our impression of them. We need to consider that our perspective on what motivates people can either be a source of comfort to us or a source of alarm.
Henry’s ultimate conclusion: “These were just good peopledoing a good thing, and I thank them for it.”

Source : David Niven Phd. The 100 Simple Secret of Happy People. 2000