How my Life as a Prism Philosophy Helped my Brother

Depression runs in my family. Especially with the men, though I know it’s most common with women. My grandma gave us all prisms and told us to let our life be a prism, as I talked about in my first post, with the good creating even more beautiful things, and not letting the bad affect us.

But my brother had a hard time of it after college. He graduated with his Master’s in Business Administration, but he couldn’t find a job. Mind you, he went to Saint Louis University, which is a fantastic school, so it’s not like his degree was crap.

He went to interview after interview, but never got hired.

He was also having a tough time in his personal life because he couldn’t afford his apartment in the city, and my parents couldn’t help him with rent. His options were to move back in with them, or get a job. And he wasn’t having much luck with the latter.

I was still in college at the time, also SLU, and wanted to help my brother. This is how that conversation went, (roughly):

“I can’t get a job. No one calls me back after the first interview,” he told me.

“Why do you think that is? You’re qualified for the positions, right?”

“Yes. I mean…I think so. I don’t know if they should hire me. I’m not the best guy for the job, probably.”

“David! You have your Master’s, you’re intelligent and a hard worker. I don’t know what more they could want!”

He began to deny it, to shake his head and act like he was nothing. But no one is nothing.

“It’s easy for you, Justine. You’re so upbeat and happy and everyone loves you. It’s like life gives you everything you ask for.”

“Do you remember what grandma always told us?” I asked him.

“About the prisms. Yeah.”

“David, you’re letting in the dark. It’s not supposed to be able to change us, but YOU ARE LETTING IT. You have a great degree.  A great family who loves you. You are worthy. Maybe you should keep that in mind for your next interview. A positive attitude goes a long way. You think people like me just because? My life is what I make of it. Grandma taught us that. You need to start living it.”

He called me after his next interview, ecstatic.

“I did it, Justine! I was positive and smiled a lot, like you do, and I did my best to be confident, and I got the job!”

25 years later, he runs that company now. Almost. He’s VP, but he’s earned it. He’s happily married, with beautiful kids, now nearly grown. Maybe I’m not being modest, but I KNOW it was that conversation with me that helped him change his life. He needed to understand that value of his own self-worth, which, before grandma’s philosophy, he was ignoring.

Until next time,


My “Life as a Prism” Philosophy

A prism is, by definition, a transparent optical element with flat, polished surfaces that refract light. Two or more of the flat surfaces must have an angle between them.

You’ve likely seen prisms before. Sometimes they look like glass pyramids. Light goes in one side, and throws rainbows on the other side. It is truly beautiful.

I was given my first prism when I was 8 years old. It was a gift from my grandma, who collected them. She told me to look at that prism as if it were my life. When darkness hits a prism, nothing comes out, but when light hits a prism, it refracts into something even more beautiful.

“Take this outlook on life, Justine,” she told me. “Take the light, the good things, and make them even better. The darkness will come, but it doesn’t affect the prism. It can’t stop it from throwing rainbows again, just like the bad things in life will never stop you. Fight through them and know that the light will return.”

At the time, I was young and didn’t quite understand. But as I grew older, I really tried to do this. And I’ve found my life has been pretty great. Not perfect, but my grandma’s words led me to a positive outlook on life, one I have stuck to all these years. The good can be great; the bad cannot last.

This is my philosophy. I’ll go into more detail in future posts, how I put it into action, how it’s specifically helped me, etc. I just wanted to explain it, how I came about it and why.

Best of luck to my readers!

Until next time,