The first time I saw this quote I was immediately drawn to the message. It was the early 70’s and North American confidence had been bolstered by more than two decades of unsurpassed growth and affluence. It wasn’t the first time a thought like that had passed through my head. At the age of five I remember realizing that I didn’t have to think like everyone else. I can’t claim this as an original revelation as I’m sure it had something to do with growing up with the words of Martin Luther King and Gloria Steinem — influential people contemporary with my formative years. I have always believed in the power of the mind to overcome, build, and push forward.
The mind is a big place in a small space.
What we tell ourselves is likely to become our reality. Research shows that children who are brought up with the message that they can be anything they want have a better shot at feeling successful in later life. I believe the same holds true for the self talk that takes place in the adult mind. Self talk can be upbuilding or it can be demoralizing. If you are a business leader you should know that posture, gestures and facial expressions are strongly influenced by our thought patterns. What message is your body language signaling? Are you shoring up your team with positive energy or are you allowing lack of faith to weigh it down?
Being a positive thinker doesn’t mean turning a blind eye to problems. Jim Collins said it best in Good to Great when he published what has become known as the Stockdale paradox: “You must retain faith that you will prevail in the end AND you must also confront the most brutal facts of your current reality.”
Those who say it can’t be done should get out of the way of those doing it.