I have a button pinned on the inside of my well worn briefcase I carry on research days that says, “If anything can go well, it will.” Notice that it says “well,” not “wrong.” I have found that, by focusing my energy on positive forces, instead of fretting about all of the negatives in life, including wondering what can go wrong, I am able to concentrate on the things that matter, really matter. My mom had a handwritten note attached with a magnet to her refrigerator door that said, “I am alive. God is good. I am going to have a wonderful day.” I liked Mom’s note so much that, upon her passing, I laminated it and placed it on my refrigerator door, where I see it often. In much the same way as my inspirational button pinned inside my briefcase, Mom’s note affirms our choices in life. We can choose to spend our time with people who make us happy or with people who drag us down; we can look for the bright side or see the worst outcome in almost every situation; we can hope for the best future or drown in regret over our past mistakes. The funny part about my button is its source: one of my favorite restaurants, Leonardo’s Pizza in Gainesville, Florida. I have enjoyed Leonardo’s pizzas for decades but never did I expect to receive a profound piece of advice, in the form of a free button, while patronizing this restaurant. Advice comes in many forms, including in a pizza place in a small town. The point of this post is, with many things in life, experiences are within our control. I choose to find out what will go right. I believe, as John Lennon said, “Yes is the answer,” and I will have a wonderful day.
Being positive beats its alternative – pessimism – in many ways. Though, in other posts I’ve noted having one or more “Plan B.” For me, that is not because I think something is going to go wrong. I know it may, but I’m positive that we can overcome most obstacles if we approach them with a “get the job done” approach. “If it can go well” is a good reminder that the majority of our lives, our work, and the work of those around us, does go well. There are certainly some “sad sacks” who seem to be followed by things not going right. I don’t know what to think about them. But, as my friend Dr. Fran Kinne preaches, thinking positive things and doing them, thinking that things will go right, helps ensure that they do. Some people believe that the disappointment which might come if things do not go right is a reason to think or behave otherwise. And, to a degree, realism involves not being overly optimistic. But, one has a choice to think positive or negative, even if only slightly one way or another. Perhaps the old saying, “Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst” provides more cover to ensure that one will be ready whatever may come. And, some pizza from Leonardo’s would taste pretty good sometime soon.