No Matter What Situation You’re In, Find Something Good About It

Wilma Mankiller? Cherokee Precept? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Everyone faces major setbacks in life. Maintaining a constructive outlook is essential to being resilient and moving forward. The following guidance can be difficult to follow, but it is enormously helpful:

No matter what situation you’re in, find something good about it.

This advice has been attributed to Wilma Mankiller who was the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. It has also been called a Cherokee precept taught by the elders of the tribe. Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: In 1991 the Sunday newspaper supplement “Parade” magazine published a profile of Wilma Mankiller. The article referred to a terrible automobile accident that injured Mankiller:[1] 1991 August 18, Wisconsin State Journal, Section: Parade Magazine, She Leads a Nation by Hank Whittemore, Start Page 4, Quote Page 5, Column 2 and 3, Madison, Wisconsin. (Newspapers_com)

. . . in the fall of 1979, an oncoming car collided with her station wagon. She regained consciousness in the hospital, with her face crushed, ribs broken and legs shattered. Months of recovery included a series of operations and plastic surgery on her face.

The article described the psychological and physical healing process:

To sustain herself through recovery, she explains, she drew upon precepts that the Cherokee elders had taught her:

“Have a good mind. No matter what situation you’re in, find something good about it, rather than the negative things. And in dealing with other human beings, find the good in them as well.

“We are all interdependent. Do things for others—tribe, family, community—rather than just for yourself.

“Look forward. Turn what has been done into a better path. If you’re a leader, think about the impact of your decisions on seven generations into the future.”

Below are two additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading No Matter What Situation You’re In, Find Something Good About It

References

References
1 1991 August 18, Wisconsin State Journal, Section: Parade Magazine, She Leads a Nation by Hank Whittemore, Start Page 4, Quote Page 5, Column 2 and 3, Madison, Wisconsin. (Newspapers_com)