Monday, November 2, 2009

I Believe In The Power Of Positive Thinking

By Devon Rhodes

Just call me Pollyanna...

Everyone does.

Many people today don't actually know where this saying came from, but almost everyone can tell you that Pollyanna = Unrelenting Optimism.

Pollyanna was a series of books beginning with the 1913 best-seller by Eleanor H. Porter about a young girl who learned to look on the bright side of things, "the glad game," by turning any situation around into a positive point of view. Punished by being locked in the attic by her aunt, Pollyanna instead appreciates the view. Even harshly tested by becoming paralyzed after an accident, she comes around to being glad she still has legs and eventually learns to walk again, ostensibly overcoming her handicap through the power of positive thinking.

Now, I'm not talking about faith healing. But I do believe in the ability to lift oneself up and find ways of making things happen, discovering new paths and alternatives to get you to your goal, by not allowing obstacles and failures mire you down.

Just think about how other people's moods affect you. Even a stranger on the street can sour your mood with a negative display or mean or thoughtless action. Now consider how you feel when witnessing a random act of kindness, receiving an unexpected compliment or acknowledgement, a little atta-boy (or girl) from someone you hold in high esteem. Goes a long way towards making you believe that anything is possible.

A new verbal coin, pay it forward.

In the instances when giving up means checking out, holding on to your positive point of view can make all the difference. I don't think there's a published writer out there that hit a homerun first time up to bat.

This brings me to another point. Being positive does not mean disregarding home truths and reality. All the positive thinking in the world will not get a trite, error-riddled manuscript published. However, taking the criticism or rejection as an opportunity to learn, change, grow, mature, develop, and so forth is a better use of time and energy than being angry or closed-minded.

Lest you think I'm all sweetness and light, I do have a very active Devil's Advocate that plays straight man to my Pollyanna.  Here is a real-life conversation they had today:

DA:  Okay, time to give it up. You still have over 6K to write AND the synopsis.
Polly:  I'm going to have some coffee and start writing!
DA:  The submission due date is TODAY! Are you crazy?
Polly:  Well, that is an awful lot. But..I'll bet I can do it. Even if I don't, at least I took a crack at it!
DA:  I'd like to take a crack at you...

Tonight, just before this post:

DA:  So are you happy now? My fingers are mush.
Polly:  We got it done, didn't we? Go us!
DA:  It's probably crap. I mean, who writes 10K in one sitting?
Polly:  It's great, and even if they don't take it, I'm sure some pub will like it.
DA:  I have callouses on my fingertips.
Polly:  Don't worry, as soon as we get done with our OGG post, you can go soak.

I've been very blessed, and so it's probably easy for me to feel positive. Most things that I have truly wanted in my life, I have been able to achieve. But which came first?

Very few things get me down for long. I always find a way to... the silver lining in the cloud...
...turn the lemons into lemonade... the rainbow through the storm.

I believe in looking on the bright side.

Yours very truly,
(Proud to be) Pollyanna


  1. Polyanna/Devon,

    Welcome to the Grip. A wonderful post and I'm delighted I'm not the only person left on this planet who shares your optimistic outlook.



  2. When it comes to conflicts in life, I'd rather laugh than cry. Sometimes a positive outlook and a sense of humor can help one get through the darkest of times:)

  3. Hey Polly - lovely post! :) I'm with you - it really is all in how you look at things. Opportunities come to those who invite them in, not to those who shut the door. Plus, negative people are no fun to be around.

  4. Hi Devon!

    Congratulations on your first post on our little blog. I believe in positive thinking also, but as with many things I have a hard time practicing what I'm sure is true. I think positive thinking is very related to what Lisabet wrote about natural magic. We shape our reality.


  5. Assume the best is going to happen, but be prepared for anything.

  6. Hello, Devon,

    A very hearty welcome to Oh Get A Grip!

    As Garce says, I think that your post is definitely related to the point I was trying to make in mine. Attitudes and beliefs mold reality. If you had given up when your Devil's Advocate tempted you to, your story would not have been written and you would have missed your deadline. Hard to get more real than that.

    I'm looking forward to getting to know you better here in the Blogosphere.

    Warmest wishes,

  7. Thank you everyone for your warm welcome and observations!

    I do believe that you can shape and define your reality with your outlook. And in the meantime, it makes a much more pleasant bedfellow than negativity. :)

    Love to all.

  8. Okay Devon, you be Pollyanna and I'll be Johny Come Lately (because I am posting this a day late, I'm afraid). Welcome to OGG! I like the attitude, especially the part about dealing with reality. One thing that has always annoyed me about people who are overly optimistic is that they don't ever consider reality. I'm a "hope for the best, prepare for the worst" kind of gal myself, so I tend to get a wee bit cranky around overly happy people when the chips are down.

    Glad to see you're here!