DM Blog

Having a Positive Outlook on Life


More than 68 million people have watched this video on YouTube of Sung-Bong Choi, a homeless boy who "steals the show" on Korea’s Got Talent, so I won’t be surprised if you’ve already seen it. But incase you haven’t, here it is:

Homeless Boy Steals the Talent Show

An inspiring story, no?

I’ve had this video and accompanying article sitting in my drafts for more than five months now. I remember talking with Michelle at the time about how changing your outlook on life to a more positive one can have a profound impact on your happiness.

Quite often, the biggest obstacles we face are the limitations we place on ourselves. We convince ourselves that we’re not good at something or lie to ourselves until we believe that something really is unachievable, when in reality things couldn’t be farther from the truth. Believe in yourself and you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve!

Unfortunately for Michelle, she was raised by parents who believe that everyone is always against them. They believe that people should never let their guard down and that you constantly have to be looking out for your own interests and watching your back or people will screw you over when you least expect it. Whereas most people understand that respect is earned, Michelle was raised by parents who believe that respect has to be demanded or people will walk all over you. Understandably, when you’ve been raised with such a bleak outlook on humanity, it’s difficult to change your way of thinking, but that’s no way to live…

Correspondingly, I’ve always believed that people treat you the way you want to be treated. The power to change how others perceive and interact with you is yours alone. Sometimes, for example, we unconsciously cast ourselves into a subordinate role and then wonder why people don’t treat us as equals… Or to use my previous example, if you’re always expecting that bad things will happen to you, they probably will. We may not realize it, but we are constantly setting expectations of how we want to be treated through the things we do and say. Your outlook on life has a similar effect – the way we think shapes our expectations of what lies on the road ahead.

Of course, having a positive attitude about everything doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have an easy life, but it does make you better equipped to deal with whatever comes. Small challenges become insignificant, maybe even fun, while large obstacles now appear much smaller… A negative outlook, on the other hand, makes anything seem insurmountable.

I could go on, but instead I’ll share with you a story that Cesar Millan sent in a weekly email newsletter back in :

Building a Dream

[…] I was reminded very much of this event last Thursday, as I stood on the American side of the border and revisited the place where I came across illegally over twenty years ago.

It was a very emotional moment for me, remembering how I arrived, because I went back to that place on another very important anniversary. Eight years ago last Thursday, "Dog Whisperer" premiered on TV, and I saw my dreams come true. I had come to America a poor boy with only a hundred dollars on me — well, actually, a coyote (or smuggler) relieved me of that money before I came over the border. I spoke no English, and I slept under a freeway for two months until two very kind women gave me a job grooming dogs and let me sleep in the shop. And then suddenly, I’m a TV star.

Well, not so suddenly. It did take fourteen years, and during those years, so many people showed such unselfish kindness to me that I never doubted such a thing as The American Dream was true. I would not be where I am today without their help and trust. When I first arrived, even if I had been the most incredible pack leader (or brain surgeon or athlete or whatever), without some people giving freely from their own good fortunes, I could have starved to death under a bridge in San Diego, and no one would have ever heard of me.

Of course, without dogs to help and so many people so passionate about them, I would not be where I am today, either — in a position to give back so much. This is another reason that my final episode of "Dog Whisperer" was so meaningful to me. I got to end the series helping someone who was where I was when I first came to America — homeless.

I have also been fortunate enough that I was able to start my own Foundation to carry on the work of rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming abandoned dogs, which is my way of giving back everything wonderful I have been given.

Despite what some have said, nobody becomes a success entirely on their own. It took people with belief in me to help me learn English and open my first Dog Psychology Center. It took people with a vision to give me a TV show, then it took passionate fans to make that show a success through nine seasons.

Countries can declare themselves independent, but people cannot, no matter how much they might think they need no one else. We, humanity, are a pack, and we all rely on each other. There is no wrong in asking for help if you need it; there is no reason to not offer help if you can.

All you need to get others to believe in you is to believe in yourself first — then follow your dream and pursue your passion.

Sung-Bong Choi, Cesar Millan – there are countless examples like these where people endure immense challenges and what seems like an impossible situation, only to come out on top. We like to hear these stories because it puts our "problems" into perspective and reminds us that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. But are you focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel, or are you letting yourself become overwhelmed with how dark the journey there is?