There is a wonderful story about the famous escape artist, Harry Houdini that illustrates the theme of this issue of my newsletter. As the story goes, the great Houdini often boasted about how he could escape from any confinement or jail cell.

One day, he was challenged by the keeper of a new, high tech, high security jail – purported to be escape proof. Houdini accepted the challenge and was given a specific amount of time to complete this seemingly impossible task. Poor Harry tried everything with no success. He attempted to pick and manipulate the lock and every other trick he knew. The lock did not budge. After many hours, with his body drenched in sweat, he collapsed against the door, which opened.

You see, it had never been locked in the first place. It was all in his mind! The great Houdini was held prisoner by his own thoughts. His thinking kept him from breaking out of the jail cell. He believed the door was locked, believed it would be difficult to open and, sure enough, it was. How many of us are held prisoner by our own thoughts? How many times do we create our own “jails” in our minds? How many things have you wanted to do but did not because you thought you would fail? Are your thoughts and beliefs keeping you a prisoner in your own mind?

Remember the statement made by Henry Ford who said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Have you given much thought about how your attitude, whether you are an optimist or a pessimist, affects you business, organization or school?

Have you thought about how it affects you personally? And what about the team you are a part of? What is optimism? It is a belief that things in our past were good for us, even if that means they were hard and taught us lessons. It is also the belief that things will be better in the future.

Here are some contrasts between optimism and pessimism and how they affect us: Optimism breathes life into you each day Pessimism drains you Optimism helps you to take needed risks Pessimism plays it safe and never accomplishes much Optimism improves those around you Pessimism drags them down Optimism inspires people to great heights Pessimism deflates people to new lows There is only one way that optimism and pessimism are the same, and that is they are both self-fulfilling. If you are an optimist, you will generally find that good things happen to you. And if you are a pessimist, you will find yourself in the not-so-good situations more often than not.

So can a person just become an optimist? Yes! We can choose to look at the world any way we want to. We can choose to look at the world and think the worst, or we can tell ourselves the good things about each situation. As you find yourself looking at your enterprise, begin to view it through the eyes of an optimist, and you will reap the rewards listed above, and so will the people around you. Have you ever met a successful pessimist? Become an optimist and see your world change before your eyes!

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