A Brown Blade Of Grass

Why is it more natural for us to focus on the negatives and or expect the worst outcomes in life?

As humans, why does it seem easier almost for us to descend, deteriorate, or decay rather than to ascend, to grow, to learn, to develop, or to thrive?

I think it just comes down to gravity, plain and simple. Just as it is gravity’s law that what goes up must also come down, unless we put effort into keeping our ideas, our thoughts, our feelings, and our perspectives aloft, just like a ball tossed into the air, they will all come crashing down to earth as well if left unattended.

Truthfully, it is just a guess and the only explanation that I have ever been able to come up with and for whatever reason it just seems to be in our nature.

A few years ago one of my “smarter” friends and I were having a discussion about this phenomena and he had a great way of explaining it. His appraisal of our condition and tendency to see the negative was explained in how we might even look at a lawn full of green grass.

He pointed out that as humans we have the uncanny ability if we were to stare at a perfectly green lawn to notice the one single brown blade of grass and completely focus on that. More often than not, what we originally thought was a pristine and gorgeous lawn would now be almost ruined in our minds only because we focus on that single brown blade.

We give that one little single brown blade of grass the power to completely upset our experience of appreciating everything else that might be right with the lawn. But why? Again, I think that it is just easier… it is easier to focus on the bad and let our emotional state, our thoughts and our feelings slide down the scale as a result. Because to do otherwise, to look at the green grass, to take your attention away from that single brown blade of grass, to focus intentionally on what is right rather than what is wrong takes effort. It takes energy, and it takes work.

How often do you focus on the inconsequential things in life and by doing that end up ruining your experience of the consequential? Are you able to enjoy “what is right” without being distracted by “what is wrong?”

The next time you find yourself having a bad experience, think of the brown blade of grass story and ask yourself on which are you focusing?

It is always easier to look at the downside and to complain. It is much tougher to resist that urge and put effort into seeing and appreciating the upsides and what is good. But I guarantee that effort pays off quite handsomely when it comes to your overall happiness and contentment in life.

The brown grass or the green grass, where will you choose to place your focus?

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado


  1. […] naturally to look at the negative side of things. Why is that? I really can’t tell you. There is the brown blade of grass theory, which more or less says if we look out at a perfect green lawn and see one brown blade of grass; […]

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