"If we cling only to that which we know, then we'll only know that to which we cling."  

Positive thinking is both the all-time greatest tool of the human mind and, by far, the most underutilized. All of us are over-exposed to negativity almost constantly; we are bombarded with it in the form of, among others, negative news reports, traffic, work, bills, aging, personal relationships, temptations, addictions, and just other people being rude.

Each day I try to get a snapshot of the world news. I like to be well-informed of the current events. Unfortunately, the news is almost always bad; at least that's what we see on TV, read in the paper, and hear on the radio. It is difficult to come away without feeling despair and somewhat hopeless.

When despair takes a hold in our lives, it continues to grow until it controls our thoughts, our desires, and ultimately our behavior. We are left with depleted morality, we become ethically impoverished and, perhaps worst of all, we're left with the sense that life, and everything in it, is provisional. Once we reach this point, we're in grave danger. This is why we must remain positive.

A key ingredient of positive thinking, is positive self-talk. Never, never say anything bad about yourself, not to others and not to yourself. Tell yourself (even in your own thoughts) that you're happy, healthy, and that you feel great. If you make a mistake, tell yourself that you'll do better next time. When you do well, tell yourself what a great job you did. When you feel depressed or discouraged, simply say to yourself, "Wow, I feel great! This is my best day."

Some time ago I had to wake up earlier than usual so that I could have as much time as possible to complete a very difficult networking job. Computer networks are inherently complicated and require that the mind be in top form. It was important that I be rested so that I could be physically and mentally prepared for a long day at work. As it turned out, I didn't fall asleep until very late and woke up having slept only a few hours. When my alarm sounded, I felt a powerful pang of depression and fear... I was tired! Desperation set in as I involuntarily began to consider how terrible it was going to be to have to work under such mentally unfit circumstances. I swung my feet to the floor and, with my head hanging low, I sat there swimming in a fog.

The first thought to reach my mind was, "Man, I am ...." I was going to say to myself, "tired" but instead I said, "feeling great!" Followed by, "Wow, for only three hours of sleep, I feel so rested and energetic!" It was a lie! I didn't feel that way at all, however, in a matter of less than ten minutes, I did! By the time I was getting into the shower, I was singing and moving around enthusiastically. I ended up having a very productive and fulfilling day.

It turns out that when we talk to ourselves or when others talk to us, those words and ideas are stored somewhere in the subconscious. -- I know painfully little about the human mind, so I can't elaborate; but suffice it to say, psychologists have determined this to be true. -- This part of our mind is not accessed directly by our thoughts, it does not distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil, truth and error. It simply believes that whatever enters in is true and possible, and that it is our desire to see it to fruition.

When we tell ourselves that we're stupid or that we don't deserve success or the love of others, then we make foolish decisions and our personal relationships begin to suffer. An overweight person won't ever lose weight while dwelling on how fat he or she is. Financial success is not visited upon a person who can't stop worrying about his or her finances and bills. Children whose parents treat them as though they are not capable of doing menial tasks, will develop into adults who find that they can't ever quite make things happen.

Success is almost wholly dependent upon how one views oneself. A person's self-expectancy, what he believes he will have or what he'll do, is the key to making it happen. We always move in the direction of our dominant thought whether that thought is good or bad.

Positive thinking works externally as well. A man who views his wife as a bad cook or as unattractive, will see her that way. Whenever my wife walks by, I think to myself, "dang, she's good looking, I am a lucky man." Never criticizing my wife, even to myself, is among the reasons that she appeals to me and why I love her more now than ever.

Never let your fearful thoughts run amuck, begin positive self-talk immediately following bad news or disappointments. Paint a vivid and detailed image in your mind about what kind of person you want to be and the type of relationships you want to have. Imagine that you have already achieved your goals and expectations and you will find contentment, happiness, and joy.