Change Your Outlook: Focus on Pros Instead of Cons

Have you noticed how almost every situation or circumstance in life contains both pros and cons? Sometimes when we’re battling with the cons, it can be difficult to see the pros, but it’s always possible if we try. If nothing else, we can see how the negative situation can help us grow in some way—patience, perseverance, forgiveness, trust in God, etc.

I had to put this principle to work several years ago concerning our neighborhood. If I wasn’t careful, I let a couple of cons—and I don’t mean crooks, I mean negative things—really get on my nerves and suck the joy out living where we do. And it was nothing horrific—just a lack of consideration.

So to keep the negative thinking at bay, I tried to remember the positive things—the pros. When I stepped outside at the right time in the morning, I could hear church bells calling children to school. And nothing says “fall” like being able to hear the high school marching band practicing a few blocks away. We also had some nice neighbors (and still do) and were in a convenient location for the most part. As I looked at the pros, I was reminded how good we actually have it in our neighborhood.

Are you faced with a situation where it might be helpful to balance the cons out with the pros? A situation where some time spent looking at the positive might change your outlook? I’ll fess up to another. I have an ongoing struggle with my attitude concerning our community and all the things it doesn’t have to offer. Maybe I need to make a trusty list and look at the pros, huh?

“. . . if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 NIV

*When has focusing on the positive helped change your outlook and attitude?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early November. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Wiertz SebastienCreative Commons License


  1. Cheryl, focusing on the positive is an excellent habit to develop. The older I get, the more I realize that nothing is perfect, not one thing. Every single thing has its down side, and the only way to not go through life perpetually dissatisfied is to focus on the good parts.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Hi Cheryl,

    I have loved the practice started by Ann Voskamp to look for the positives, the gifts from God. It is pivotal, I agree. I like to do it during my journal and Bible time each morning, listing them out across the page.
    How are you? How are your sweet grandkids? What writing projects are you working on now? I still have your mother of the bride book right in plain sight in my kitchen bookshelf, right above Jana Botkin’s art pieces, in fact. :)

    Jennifer Dougan

    • Jennifer, I loved Ann’s One Thousand Gifts book too. So helpful to take note of the gifts God blesses us with day in and day out, isn’t it?

      Our grandsons are still super sweet and growing up so fast. The older set of twins started homeschool kindergarten a couple of weeks ago and the younger set turned 4 yrs old in August. They bring so much joy to our lives :)

      I’ve had a challenging year health-wise and am still dealing with post-concussive issues. As you can imagine, that has slowed down my writing progress, but I am slowly but surely working on a Christmas devotional book and would love to see it published one day.

      So glad you still have my Mother of the Bride book handy. You may need it one day before long! :) Blessings to you and yours, Jennifer!

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