The easiest way to get people who live in Cleveland and have a bad opinion of Cleveland to have a better opinion of Cleveland is to get them to pay attention to different things, and to prioritize that attention. This evening I could have dwelt upon how empty the downtown was, but instead I marveled at the Christmas lights on Public Square and thought about the care that someone took in hanging them. It made me remember what the real stars look like.
On the bus home, I could have looked with distaste on the mercurial meth-head, but he kept jawing about going home to see his mother, and there was a dad playing peekaboo with his little daughter. Her laughter cheered everyone on the bus.
Back when I was full time undergrad I tossed about phrases like “your focus determines your reality,” but it’s more meaningful to say “pay attention and get what you pay for.”