What Are You Writing About: The Little Black Dot Or The Vast White Part?

I once read an anecdote that highly inspires and teaches a great lesson, and I have decided to share it with you here.

One day, a professor entered his classroom and asked his students to prepare for a surprise test. They all waited anxiously at their desks for the exam to begin.

The professor handed out the test papers with the text facing down, as usual. Once he had handed them all out, he asked the students to turn over the papers.

To everyone’s surprise, there were no questions – just a black dot on the center of the paper. The professor, seeing the expression on everyone’s face, told them the following: “I want you to write about what you see there.”

The students confused, got started on the inexplicable task.

At the end of the class, the professor took all the test answer sheets and started reading each one of them out loud in front of all the students.

And you know what? All the students, with no exception, defined the black dot, trying to explain its position on the center of the paper. After all, had been read, the classroom filled with silence, the professor started to explain:

“I am not going to grade you on this. I just wanted to give you something to think about. No one wrote about the white part of the paper. Everyone focused on the black dot – the same thing happens in our lives. However, we insist on focusing only on the black dot – the health issues that bother us, the lack of money, the complicated relationship with a family member, the disappointment with a friend. The dark spots are very small when compared to everything we have in our lives, but they pollute our minds. Take your eyes away from the black dots in your lives. Enjoy each one of your blessings, each moment that life gives you, and live a life filled with joy and love.”


I want you to ponder on this illustrative story. The Professor almost said it all. Now, I put it to you dear reader; what are you writing on? Is it the little black dot on your life or the vast white part of your life?

See, depression and worry are enemies of your happiness. Where these two thrive, it is hard to move towards your desired future; living a successful and rewarding life becomes a mirage. This is because a person who is depressed and worried remains in a state of stagnation for lack of happiness and passion; the fuel that drives him towards the realization of his dreams.

What brings depression or worries?

I have come to realize that one major thing among others that make people unhappy with their lives and feel life is not worth living is, focusing on what they lack instead of seeing the many good things they should be grateful for in their life.

Why would you do this? As a matter of fact, the good things you have in your life are much more than the bad things you might have suffered (or may be suffering). Yes, the things we have are much more than those we lack. But rather than seeing these many good things, we shift our attention to the few bad ones. You must know that this is a strategy from Satan to stop you from becoming a happy better person and living a meaningful life. And the earlier you realize this and fight against it, the better.

If you really want to move on in life and actualize your dreams, refuse to act like the students in the above story. Move your attention from the things you lack or the things that are not working and see the many other good things that the Lord has given to you. You may truly be lacking some things or having some reasons not to be happy (the broken relationship, exam failure, failed business, illness, and the like), but seriously, they are nothing compare to the goods things you have for which you should be grateful. They are just a little black dot. You have a vast white part to focus on. This is why a song writer wrote:

“…Count your blessings and name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

Oh yes! You are not happy because all your focus is on the little black dot when you have the whole of the white part of your life that should make you happy. Try it; I mean, count your blessings – take a view of the white part of your life – if you will not see more than one thousand and one (1001) reasons to be happy and grateful to God.

If you’re still in doubt that your life has nothing good to write about and there is no reason to be happy, then, think about being alive. Having life (good health) alone is more than enough a reason to be happy. If you doubt it, then remember the last time you were down with that illness and how you felt about life. Better still, take some minutes to visit the hospital closest to you. You will find that you have every reason to be happy with your life; challenges notwithstanding.

Dear HBY reader, I encourage you, if you have been writing on that little black dot in your life, shift your eyes from it and focus on the white part. Instead of getting discouraged because of the pain, shame, delay, etc., challenges are causing you, focus on the lessons they stand to teach you, and how you’re getting stronger and better in character as a result of going through them. No matter how overwhelming they are, realize that waking up from bed today strong and healthy is enough to be happy and thankful to God Almighty. And if you do this, I’m fully confident that you will enjoy your life more and live more meaningfully.

I hope you find this article helpful. Do share it on Facebook and other social media platforms. Pass it on to someone you think may be going through one challenge or the other and so feeling there is nothing to be happy about in life.

What do you think are some of the negative effects of focusing on the black dot (what seems not to be working in our life) instead of the white area of our life (the good things we enjoy)? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Many thanks and God bless you for visiting. Be a happy better you; live a happy better life.                                            

Author: Oghovemu Okpu

I’m a writer and founder of Happy Better You (HBY); a personal development platform where I help you with the tips, resources and inspiration you need to become a happy better version of yourself so that you can live the happy better life you were created to fulfill.
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