You must develop the right mental attitude on your road to success. Without being overly simplistic, think of “The Little Train Who Could.” Instead of having an “I Can’t” attitude, replace it with an “I Can!” attitude.

A positive outlook is necessary to see change coming, to be able to work with the change, and to make the most of whatever change comes down the pike in your life. If you expect change (but not from a vending machine!), you’ll be in a better position to accept it and make the most of it.

A fabulous book regarding change and positive attitude is “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson, MD.

In order to gain right thinking (being positive), you must decide to look at the bright side of life. Instead of seeing the cloud, see the silver lining in the cloud. Instead of seeing downsizing as a horrible thing that will plummet you in to bankruptcy and homelessness, consider it an opportunity to look for a better job and a chance to try new skills and career paths that you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to try before. Don’t be pollyannaish, but do consider all sides of a situation before you adopt a negative perspective.

In order to maintain a positive outlook, you must also be realistic. For example, if you’ve gained 30 pounds in the last 3 years, it would be highly unrealistic to expect to drop those 30 pounds in 3 weeks. If you take an honest and realistic assessment of your skills and goals, you’re much more likely to find success in whatever field or career best suits you.

Maintain a cautious optimism as you seek success, not be blindly optimistic about every situation. There are some situations in which positive thinking cannot overcome the situation you’re faced with.

Consider Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots; he’s a man who’s in excellent shape. But if he decided to trade in his helmet and pads for ballet toe shoes, he likely wouldn’t make it, despite his physique. Blind optimism also puts you at the mercy of con men and charlatans—your optimism must be tempered by context and relevance.

No matter what your abilities are (and they are fabulous!), using them realistically will get you much farther than not. Your right thinking, paired with your abilities, put you on a course for success—no matter what field you’re in!

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