Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right

The secret, the law of attraction, a positive mental attitude – many authors and speakers over the years have taught that what you think about, you bring about. Even in the Book of Proverbs it says, “As a man thinketh, so is he.”

Is it true? Do good thoughts lead to good actions and good results? I don’t have a definitive answer. I don’t believe that thinking about fifty-dollar bills is going to make them magically appear in my wallet. However, I do believe that your expectations that good things will happen makes them more likely to do so.

I went to Goodwill today in search of a pair of black shoes. I found a single pair of Kumf’s, just my size (40 wide). Brand spankin’ new. A $225 value, only $9.99. Do I always fine exactly what I most desire at Goodwill? Definitely not, but I look at least once a week, and I assume I will find what I want eventually. Yet so many people I talk to curl their lip and say, “Goodwill? I’m sure they wouldn’t have anything I want, so why bother?” Well, if you never try, you certainly won’t find anything there.

Here’s another example: I always assume that people are going to be friendly. I talk to virtually everyone (which makes Quinland cringe, as it probably made me cringe at 14 when my mom did it), and I expect it to go well. Is everyone receptive? No, but most are, and if anyone is not, I figure they are having a bad day.

I also expect that I will always be able to find work. I don’t know why this is – do I have an overinflated sense of my employability? – but I have always been able to get work when I wanted it, from even before I was legal age to seek employment. It’s worked out that way, too. Does this mean that anyone who can’t find work is somehow “doing it to themselves” by their thoughts? Not at all. It’s just that my expectation that I can get work – coupled with my willingness to be underemployed when needed – cause me to get up and look for it with that much more energy, confidence and enthusiasm that I would otherwise.

Maybe that’s the secret, the law, the key: thinking you can do something gives you confidence  which gives you energy and a sense of calm. Perhaps that confidence and energy inspire the others around you, be they potential friends, employers, or spouses.

Conversely, if you believe you can’t do something, you are probably not going to make the attempt. That’s a guaranteed recipe for failure, because – as they say about basketball – you are going to miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. If you do decide to try, going in with an attitude that says “I’m a failure, this won’t succeed,” probably causes you to be more anxious and jittery, more nervous about what you’ll say, and more timid about talking yourself up.

To make a long story the teensiest bit shorter: I need to believe in myself when it comes to making the changes I want to make at home. I need to trust that I will let things go, that I will establish routines, that once and for all I will maintain a clutter-free environment.

So far this year, I’ve been doing pretty well. I stretched this morning, and filled a second Goodwill box to go along with the easy-to-purge stuff in the first box.  This was trickier. It wasn’t just the low-hanging fruit; I had to take inventory of when I last used some things and be tough with myself on deciding to live without them. Out the door went two pair of shoes, an extra bathroom scale, two purses, and a few blouses. Not a ton of stuff, but it’s a start.

And I know I can keep it up… because I expect to.

(Edited to add the shoe story, which was the inspiration for the whole post, and which I would have remembered had I not fallen asleep sitting up – twice – while writing this post. Argh. Early to bed tonight!)

2 thoughts on “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right

  1. Well done! A very positive outlook for the New Year. I am going to try and do the same. New Year, fresh start, de-clutter my life and try and be more organised. Thank you for this post, it spurred me on to better things.


    1. Thanks, Jo! It’s great to have you here.

      I appreciate your comment – it’s good to know that I’m not all alone out here, trying to start over 🙂


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