I’ve been running through the 12 points of the scout law to kick off this Thursday thoughts meme. Today’s point is number 8, a scout is cheerful.
I don’t look upon this so much as ‘Don’t worry, be happy.’ Rather, what I think Lord Baden Powell had in mind was to maintain a positive outlook. While Powell couldn’t have known about the research connecting smiling to making people feel better, a positive outlook certainly helps to get a person through difficulties.
To understand the power of a person’s own attitude and control over outlook, one needs only to look at Viktor Frankl, who not only survived Nazi concentration camps based upon the only thing in life he could control–his attitude and outlook–he also inspired the other prisoners and his German soldier guards. All this despite losing most of his family to gas chambers or simply the ordeals of concentration camp life.
The wikipedia article on Frankl is sorely lacking in detail of his incredible perseverance. You can get a bit more flavor of the man and his ordeals on this page.
Perhaps the simplest of the 12 points of the scout law also contains some of the most powerful advice, as long as we’re willing to look for it. A scout is cheerful. A person is cheerful. Positive outlook, that’s how we get through those tough times.