A Shot of Espresso: The Right Mental Attitude

You must develop the right mental attitude on your road to success. Without being overly simplistic, think of “The Little Engine That Could”, a timeless story used to teach children the value of optimism and hard work. Instead of having an “I think I can’t” attitude, replace it with an “I think I can” attitude.

A positive outlook is necessary to see change coming, to be able to work with the change, and to make the most of whatever change comes down the pike in your life. If you expect change, you’ll be in a better position to accept it and make the most of it.


A fabulous book regarding change and positive attitude is “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson, MD. This motivational business fable describes change in one's work and life and four typical reactions to those changes.

“What you are afraid of is never as bad as what you imagine. The fear you let build up in your mind is worse than the situation that actually exists." ― Spencer Johnson, Who Moved My Cheese?

In order to gain right thinking (being positive), you must decide to look at the bright side of life. Instead of seeing the cloud, see the silver lining in the cloud. Instead of seeing downsizing as a horrible thing that will plummet you in to bankruptcy and homelessness, consider it an opportunity to look for a better job and a chance to try new skills and career paths that you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to try before. When I was laid off from my corporate job in 2007, it became the spark I needed to jumpstart my consulting business and writing my first book. Before you become illogically pessimistic, consider all sides of a situation and start crafting the life or career you always wanted.


In order to maintain a positive outlook, you must also be realistic. For example, if you’ve gained 30 pounds in the last 3 years, it would be highly unrealistic to expect to drop those 30 pounds in 3 weeks. If you take an honest and realistic assessment of your skills and goals, you’re much more likely to find success in whatever field or career best suits you.

Maintain a cautious optimism as you seek success, not be blindly optimistic about every situation. There are some circumstances in which positive thinking cannot overcome the situation you’re faced with.


Consider Lamar Jackson, quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens; he’s a man who’s in excellent shape. But if he decided to trade in his helmet and pads for ballet toe shoes, he likely wouldn’t make it, despite his physique. Blind optimism also puts you at the mercy of con men and charlatans—your optimism must be tempered by context and relevance.


No matter what your abilities are, using them realistically will get you much farther than not. Your right thinking, paired with your abilities, put you on a course for success—no matter what field you’re in!


"A Shot of Espresso" column is where I share quick tips to jumpstart your day towards success. An Espresso is a concentrated form of coffee served in small, strong shots and is the base for a number of coffee drinks. It's made from the same beans as coffee but is stronger, thicker, and higher in caffeine.

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