Rushville Republican


March 19, 2013

Barada: Be positive, have positive outcomes

RUSHVILLE — The famous industrialist Henry Ford once said: “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.” While this short simple sentence may seem a little odd, it contains more truth than most realize. That simple sentence has to do with what some call the power of positive thinking. Interestingly enough, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale wrote a very famous book titled, “The Power of Positive Thinking,” which was first published in 1952. Millions of copies have been sold, and the book has been translated into over a dozen languages. What’s even more interesting is that if one Googles the phrase, “power of positive thinking,” nearly 45 million separate listings come up.

While some may scoff at the notion that positive thinking can produce positive results, the mere fact that there has been so much written on the subject seems to suggest that there must be something to it. Nearly everyone knows that positive thinking is an attitude that sees the bright side of things, that “a positive mind anticipates happiness, joy, health, and favorable results.” Nearly everywhere one looks there are little catch phrases that reinforce the notion that it’s beneficial to see the glass as half full and not half empty. Is it possible, one is compelled to ask, that simply expecting a positive outcome will tend to produce one? While there are those who doubt that “believing will make it so,” too much has been written about the value of having a positive attitude for all of it to be just so much hot air. More basically, what harm can it do to believe that things will work out for the best?

Even in the arena of sports, the idea of expecting a positive outcome has come into vogue. Take basketball for example. More and more coaches teach what’s called “visualization.” As Henry David Thoreau, one of the most well-known transcendentalists of the 19th century and author of the book “Walden,” once said, “The secret to achievement is to hold a picture of a successful outcome in mind.” Here’s now it works in sports: Basketball coaches literally teach their players to visualize the ball going through the hoop when they’re on the foul line. In football, kickers are taught to visualize the ball going through the uprights. The point is, visualizing a positive outcome in advance tends to produce the desired result.

Here’s a silly, but interesting, example of how positive thinking can work in a very mundane way. Whenever I go to one of the shopping centers in Indianapolis with Connie and we’re looking for a parking spot near the entrance, I actually expect to find one. I really do! I expect that there will be a vacant parking spot near the entrance of the mall or shopping center; and, more often than not, I find one. It drives Connie crazy. “How do you always manage to find good parking spots?” she’ll ask me in disgust. My answer? “Because I expect to.” On the other hand, Connie doesn’t expect to find an available parking spot. As a matter of fact, she thinks that she’ll end up parking way in the back; and, to be honest, that’s what usually happens. That kind of positive thinking doesn’t always work, but it works more often than not.

If thinking positively will work for things as mundane as parking spots, why shouldn’t it work in other, more important aspects of our lives? That brings me back to what Henry Ford once said: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” So, there must also be something to the idea that believing you can’t has the same sort of effect on hoped-for outcomes. If you expect to fail, you probably will. Whereas, if you think you’ll succeed, you probably will. Instead of thinking about all the things that could go wrong with a plan or an idea, think about all the things that could go right!

Here’s what psychologist Michael F. Scheier, writing in “The Atlantic,” had to say about his research on the power of optimism and physical health: “We … know why optimists do better than pessimists. The answer lies in the differences between the coping strategies they use. Optimists are not simply being Pollyannas; they’re problem solvers who try to improve the situation. And if it can’t be altered, they’re also more likely than pessimists to accept that reality and move on. Physically, they’re more likely to engage in behaviors that help protect against disease and promote recovery from illness. They’re less likely to smoke, drink, and have poor diets, and more likely to exercise, sleep well, and adhere to rehab programs. Pessimists, on the other hand, tend to deny, avoid, and distort the problems they confront, and dwell on their negative feelings. It’s easy to see now why pessimists don’t do so well compared to optimists …. we’ve been able to document that links between optimism and physical health do exist.”

So, there’s more to the notion of simply expecting a positive result, like finding a parking place. There appears to be solid research that optimism involves quantifiable characteristics that tend to produce the positive outcomes that some would merely write off as “chance,” or “good luck.” There’s clearly more to having an optimistic outlook on life, of expecting a good outcome. And even if it is all nonsense, it’s still a much more pleasant way to go through life!

That’s -30- for this week.


Text Only
  • This column will self-destruct in 5 seconds I've become completely infatuated over the past few weeks with a gift I received a few Christmases ago. It was a completely unexpected gift from one of my big brothers: a set of "Mission: Impossible" DVDs. No, not home videos of me begging my kids to

    April 15, 2014

  • Don't sweat the small things There are a few things in life that really get under my skin, one of which is complaining. Yes, I complain sometimes, but it doesn't last too long at all before I put myself in check. There was a story this week that really touched my heart and like

    April 15, 2014

  • The timeless beauty of wicker No matter what the day may bring, I can leave it all behind when I take my evening walk. Strolling through our historic neighborhood on Indy's south side is a multifaceted treat. It is good for my heart, it erases the cares of the day and it affords

    April 15, 2014

  • Self deposit box I love where I bank. It's a branch inside of a big supermarket. I can make a modest withdrawal and then go and blow every last penny in the cookie aisle. The tellers at the window appreciate me. They know about my obsession with round numbers and und

    April 15, 2014

  • Change can be done here In previous columns I've suggested that one of the factors holding this community back is the relatively poor image many of us have of our town. The point, as some may recall, was made by several people who live in other communities who said Rushvill

    April 15, 2014

  • Second hand rose...or fashionista? "Fashion is an expression of individualism mixed with charisma"....John Fairchild 1940's sensible shoes with a '70's midi-skirt. High waist skirts with over the knee boots. Polka dot shirts with bell-bottom pants. Retro fashion is here to stay, and w

    April 11, 2014

  • Mankind is not causing global warming Back on Feb. 26 of this year, an article appeared on with the following headline, "Greenpeace co-founder: No scientific proof humans are dominant cause of warming climate." Here's what Patrick Moore, a Canadian ecologist and co-founder of

    April 8, 2014

  • One fine day True story here: a long time ago, a young woman from Cincinnati daydreams of growing up and meeting a nice man, getting married, learning to cook, having two children, etc. etc. Eventually, it all comes true for her. Except it all happens in a major

    April 8, 2014

  • It is time we take back our country What ever happened to the America of my youth? That great country that was indeed the jewel of the common person of the world. The country where one could actually, through hard work and industry, make a good living and actually have the OPPORTUNITY

    April 8, 2014

  • Net tricks My wife and I went on a binge last week. If you think I'm talking about an eating binge, you've never seen how thin we both are. If you think I mean a shopping binge, you don't know how cheap we are. And if you think it was cleaning binge, you've nev

    April 8, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.