Why Not be Positive?

I pride myself at looking at the world with a glass is ‘three-quarters full’ attitude.

I like reading Seth Godin . Mostly for his positive attitude. You should surround yourself with positive thinkers. It will leak into your thinking and behavior. Not that everything a positive thinker is correct or the gospel, just that you only have so much time, so why waste it.

My blogroll is filled with positive thinkers. I am removing the few remaining negative thinkers over the next few days. Smart people, just so wrong all the time.

There are lot’s of successful worriers and haters, but the real wealthy people are just the opposite. Less friction in the end and when you get to the finish line, you will be ready to enjoy it and ‘Pay it Forward’.

Here is a four year old post from Seth Godin that struck a big chord with me…it asks… Why Not be Great? Yes indeed:

Here’s a question that you should clip out and tape to your bathroom mirror. It might save you some angst 15 years from now. The question is, What did you do back when interest rates were at their lowest in 50 years, crime was close to zero, great employees were looking for good jobs, computers made product development and marketing easier than ever, and there was almost no competition for good news about great ideas?

Many people will have to answer that question by saying, “I spent my time waiting, whining, worrying, and wishing.” Because that’s what seems to be going around these days. Fortunately, though, not everyone will have to confess to having made such a bad choice.

While your company has been waiting for the economy to rebound, Reebok has launched Travel Trainers, a very cool-looking lightweight sneaker for travelers. They are selling out in Japan — from vending machines in airports!

While Detroit’s car companies have been whining about gas prices and bad publicity for SUVs (SUVs are among their most profitable products), Honda has been busy building cars that look like SUVs but get twice the gas mileage. The Honda Pilot was so popular, it had a waiting list.

While Africa’s economic plight gets a fair amount of worry, a little startup called Kickstart is actually doing something about it. The new income that its products generate accounts for 0.5% of the entire GDP of Kenya. How? It manufactures a $75 device that looks a lot like a StairMaster. But it’s not for exercise. Instead, Kickstart sells the machine to subsistence farmers, who use its stair-stepping feature to irrigate their land. People who buy it can move from subsistence farming to selling the additional produce that their land yields — and triple their annual income in the first year of using the product.

While you’ve been wishing for the inspiration to start something great, thousands of entrepreneurs have used the prevailing sense of uncertainty to start truly remarkable companies. Lucrative Web businesses, successful tool catalogs, fast-growing PR firms — all have started on a shoestring, and all have been profitable ahead of schedule. The Web is dead, right? Well, try telling that to Meetup.com, a new Web site that helps organize meetings anywhere and on any topic. It has 200,000 registered users — and counting.

Maybe you already have a clipping on your mirror that asks you what you did during the 1990s. What’s your biggest regret about that decade? Do you wish that you had started, joined, invested in, or built something? Are you left wishing that you’d at least had the courage to try? In hindsight, the 1990s were the good old days. Yet so many people missed out. Why? Because it’s always possible to find a reason to stay put, to skip an opportunity, or to decline an offer. And yet, in retrospect, it’s hard to remember why we said no and easy to wish that we had said yes.

The thing is, we still live in a world that’s filled with opportunity. In fact, we have more than an opportunity — we have an obligation. An obligation to spend our time doing great things. To find ideas that matter and to share them. To push ourselves and the people around us to demonstrate gratitude, insight, and inspiration. To take risks and to make the world better by being amazing.

Are these crazy times? You bet they are. But so were the days when we were doing duck-and-cover air-raid drills in school, or going through the scares of Three Mile Island and Love Canal. There will always be crazy times.

So stop thinking about how crazy the times are, and start thinking about what the crazy times demand. There has never been a worse time for business as usual. Business as usual is sure to fail, sure to disappoint, sure to numb our dreams. That’s why there has never been a better time for the new. Your competitors are too afraid to spend money on new productivity tools. Your bankers have no idea where they can safely invest. Your potential employees are desperately looking for something exciting, something they feel passionate about, something they can genuinely engage in and engage with.

You get to make a choice. You can remake that choice every day, in fact. It’s never too late to choose optimism, to choose action, to choose excellence. The best thing is that it only takes a moment — just one second — to decide.

Before you finish this paragraph, you have the power to change everything that’s to come. And you can do that by asking yourself (and your colleagues) the one question that every organization and every individual needs to ask today: Why not be great?

Sure, we have had an awesome run in the four years since this post, but come on…has there EVER been a better time/opportunity to leverage yourself?

If YOUR answer is Yes…please go here … and don’t come back :) .


  1. Barry Green says:

    Hey Howard

    Really appreciate your thoughts on positivity, and all your activity of late since I thought your were “off” for a couple weeks.

    My theme of late has been “The Good that you seek, is seeking you.” With increased self-awareness, understanding and growth comes a clarity, and an uncanny “coincidental” nature of events that is often “too much” to accept or trust. When we are being our most authentic, creative and grateful selves, we glimpse the interconnectedness of all things, realize the potential goodness of/for all, the endless opportunities and beauty of this mysterious gift called “human-beingness.”

    Thought does seem to equal experience, so being positive makes perfect sense. Tell me what level of wealth, what measure of security equates to a static state of safety and peace? What is it that people are really afraid of? The very separateness of their outlook and sentiment, while perhaps empirically logical and palpable, enslaves the very folks who fear losing control over their experience. They know not that they have already “lost control” over the one thing we might have control over, one’s mind.

    Sorry for the late rant, but please keep the “larger perspective” stuff coming. Investing/trading to me is a practice that helps spur my personal development.

    I love seeing the interconnectedness of everything, and it is indeed such an exciting time to be alive. Change is afoot, and it is all Good!

    Barry Green
    Life Coach, Realtor, Investor, Anti-Human Trafficking Acitivst, Surfer, Husband, Father

  2. greenskeptic says:

    Excellent, post, Howard. And good to be reminded of Seth’s wisdom. Let’s b e positive in the New Year; my motto for the year: “It’s not too late in 2008!”

  3. bocagirl says:

    That’s why I like this blog so much, is the positive attitude. I need to stay focused on looking forward to new solutions and new ways of doing things, not wringing my hands over past problems.

    Greenskeptic, it’s not only not too late, it’s just the beginning of things we can only imagine today. :)

  4. rol lew says:

    “Sure, we have had an awesome run in the four years since this post, but come on…has there EVER been a better time/opportunity to leverage yourself?

    “If YOUR answer is Yes…please go here … and don’t come back .”

    Am I understanding it wrong? Should you have said If YOUY answer i “NO”…..

    I read 5 blogs daily…. you site, howard, is just so easy to digest and use.
    Thanks a bunch.

  5. Bill aka NO DooDahs! says:

    What better place to send pessimistic gloomsayers? Go to InstantBull’s Alexa ranking of market blogs – start at the top, work your way down. You’ll find a few.


  6. Nick O'Neill says:

    Great post Howard … Seth has some great stuff to say. There are always naysayers but they never get things right because they aren’t willing to take the risk to try something new. As Seth says, they stick to “business as usual.” Luckily for us, the world is filled with those people. It makes it easier for us to succeed :)

  7. R Tsang says:

    Howard you are a champ, thank you.

    Just got into work not so long ago and showed up to a completely empty, quiet and somewhat lifeless environment.

    Luckily however I have and will always have the internet to feed and fuel.

    To 2008 and beyond!


    PS notice the cheesy Buzz Light Year [from the movie Toy Story] reference that I just thought of and LOL to.

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