I had a great time reading some of the amusing tales from a story book about the famous Akbar and Birbal last week. One of the stories that caught my attention was about a dream that emperor Akbar had one night about losing his teeth and what happened after that. Let me share the story here.
By the way, if you are new to Akbar and Birbal tales, here is a quick introduction according to Wikipedia:
Birbal was the (Wazir-e Azam) of the Mughal court in the administration of the Mughal emperor Akbar. He was one of his most trusted members along with being a part of Akbar's inner council of nine advisors, known as the Navaratna, a Sanskrit word meaning nine jewels. Birbal's duties in Akbar's court were mostly military and administrative, but he was also a very close friend of the emperor, who appreciated Birbal for his wit and wisdom, often involving humorous exchanges.
The Story – Akbar's Dream Of Losing His Teeth
One night, Emperor Akbar had a dream that he had lost all his teeth, except one. The next morning, confused and curious, he invited all the astrologers of his kingdom to help him interpret this dream.
Considering all the parameters, after a very thoughtful discussion, the astrologers prophesized that all of Akbar’s relatives would die before him.
Emperor was very disappointed by this interpretation. Thinking about the prophecy he became very sad and therefore, he sent away all the astrologers without any reward. They all returned empty handed.
Later that day, as Birbal entered the court, the emperor shared his dream with Birbal as well and asked him to interpret it. After thinking for a while, in his usual thoughtful manner, Birbal replied that the Emperor would live a longer and much more fulfilled life than any of his relatives.
Akbar was incredibly pleased with this interpretation. His spirit was uplifted and therefore, Birbal was immediately rewarded handsomely.
Moral Of The Story
Birbal did not change anything that invalidated what other astrologers had already said. However, as he looked at the things from the brighter perspective, the message he gave to the emperor was positive that uplifted Akbar's spirit. With his positive mental attitude, Birbal not just earned rewards from the king, but he probably helped people in the entire kingdom, because a sad king can probably make more costly mistakes than a happy one.
The astrologers were qualified. They were highly skilled. They also were invited by the king. But the only skill they did not have is the most valuable skill of positive thinking. They were the experts in astrology who did not know how to use that skill to help others – to add value to others.
How To Develop Such A Positive Mental Attitude?
Being able to think and act like Birbal when the occasion arises, doesn't happen if it is not in our attitude. I do not believe that Birbal planned to trick the king. Since he had a habit of looking for positive in every positive or negative experience, he could naturally provide a solution to Akbar's problem so powerfully.
I believe that positive thinking is a habit and it must be deliberately developed and practiced with discipline. Here are my three simple steps that have helped me tremendously keep my attitude right in tough situations:
1. Make A Conscious Choice To Look For Positives In Everything
Making a decision to look for positive in everything is the first major step. There always is something positive in every negative experience. The reverse is also true. Therefore, it becomes our choice to focus what is positive.
To stay positive, we should look at a situation and think, “What may be good in this?”. If you’re going through hardships at job or in business, surely you will be much stronger after it’s over than you were before the situation. Looking for positive in every experience gives us the power to overcome it much faster.
2. Engage In Positive/Productive Conversations
To keep our positive juices flowing, it is important to engage in healthy conversations. subconsciously, we are sensitive to negatives and it is very natural to drift into becoming negative. Therefore, engaging regularly in conversations that are productive and positive. Positive association encourages positive thinking.
3. Develop A Victor Mentality
Life happens whether we do something or not. Issues to resolve, challenges to overcome, unexpected health situations etc. have the ability to drain us of positive energy. We may get into the thinking like a victim. The frustration and the negative thoughts only make things worse.
But we all have choice to make. We can think like a victim and get depressed, or, we can choose to believe that we are bigger than the situation and say to ourselves, "This too shall pass!". This is what a victor mentality is all about.
Question: Do you remember any situation that seemed very overwhelming at first, but as you looked at the big picture (or looked at the positive side of the situation), it started to appear as a good thing right away? Would you like to share your experience around this subjects in the comments now?