I once had a boss who would shoot down every single idea that I had because he was afraid that people would find out that I was available to help faculty be successful. He told the university accrediting committee that he was afraid that he didn’t have enough resources to handle the subsequent demand. Given the constraints that I was working in– I wasn’t even allowed to tell anyone about my services–I still found ways to subversively get the word out and faculty were overjoyed when they “found me.”. Ironically, when I was laid off due to budget cuts, he said one of the reasons I was being let go because I wasn’t working with enough faculty. (insert sound of needle screeching across an LP here) I just had to laugh at the absurdity of it all as I found ways to overcome his obstacles.
When I was a child, I was surrounded by “the can do spirit.” This attitude seemed to permeate all areas of our culture and as a result we had an era of amazing growth and prosperity. Shoot! We even managed to do the impossible! We put a man on the moon!
In modern times, the idea of “the power of positive thinking” is believed to be a bunch of hooey. But if we go a little deeper, we find some interesting stuff. Here is what we know from language, cognitive psychology, and positive psychology research: Our thoughts and language impact our world view and how we move about in the world. We will look and find examples to substantiate our beliefs and world view. For instance, if we believe the sky is green, we will search the internet to find proof that the sky is, indeed, green. We will find other people who also believe the sky is green. We will get into arguments with people who say the sky is blue and claim it is a government conspiracy, etc. We will find examples in our daily life that reinforce our beliefs.
A modern retro woman still holds a positive world view and a “can do spirit.” She knows that being optimistic and being careful to use positive language opens up amazing vistas for her and her family. It is how she overcomes obstacles that the world can throw her way. She really is able to look for the silver lining. So what if it is raining, hard, on the last day of the family vacation! It gives the family a chance to re-enact Gene Kelly’s famous “Singing in the Rain” dance!
When Ralph Kramden used to threaten his wife, Alice, with sending her to the moon in The Honeymooners, I doubt he thought that one day man really would be walking on the moon. What is your “moon” and what thought shifts can you make to get you there?
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