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Our happiness depends on the habit of mind we cultivate. – Norman Vincent Peale

What kind of life do you want for yourself? If you answered, ‘an amazing life traveling to exotic destinations with more free time to spend with friends and family’ but you feel stuck and unhappy in a below-average life with little time to do much for yourself – would you like to see an upgrade?

One of the ways we can see positive changes take place in our lives is by changing our mindset. You might have heard the saying ‘you are what you eat’. We are aware that we feed ourselves a steady diet of processed foods high in fats and calories, we will harm our bodies. The same rings true for our mental and emotional health. Our thoughts lead to behaviors, behaviors lead to habits, and habits create our lifestyle.

Would you like to see improvements in your life? If you think can, then you will see improvements, maybe even a complete transformation. If you don’t think you can make changes for the better, you are right, you won’t see any changes. The choice is yours.

Let me share a short children’s story, ‘The Little Engine That Could’ about the power of positive thinking:

A little steam engine had a long train of cars to pull.

She went along very well till she came to a steep hill. But then, no matter how hard she tried, she could not move the long train of cars.

She pulled and she pulled. She puffed and she puffed. She backed and started off again. Choo! Choo!

But no! the cars would not go up the hill.

At last she left the train and started up the track alone. Do you think she had stopped working? No, indeed! She was going for help.

“Surely I can find someone to help me,” she thought.

Over the hill and up the track went the little steam engine. Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo!

Pretty soon she saw a big steam engine standing on a side track. He looked very big and strong. Running alongside, she looked up and said:

“Will you help me over the hill with my train of cars? It is so long and heavy I can’t get it over.”

The big steam engine looked down at the little steam engine. The he said:

“Don’t you see that I am through my day’s work? I have been rubbed and scoured ready for my next run. No, I cannot help you,”

The little steam engine was sorry, but she went on, Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo!

Soon she came to a second big steam engine standing on a side track. He was puffing and puffing, as if he were tired.

“That big steam engine may help me,” thought the little steam engine. She ran alongside and asked:

“Will you help me bring my train of cars over the hill? It is so long and so heavy that I can’t get it over.”

The second big steam engine answered:

“I have just come in from a long, long run. Don’t you see how tired I am? Can’t you get some other engine to help you this time?

“I’ll try,” said the little steam engine, and off she went. Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo!

After a while she came to a little steam engine just like herself. She ran alongside and said:

“Will you help me over the hill with my train of cars? It is so long and so heavy that I can’t get it over.”

“Yes, indeed!” said this little steam engine. “I’ll be glad to help you, if I can.”

So, the little steam engines started back to where the train of cars had been standing. Both little steam engines went to the head of the train, one behind the other.

Puff, puff! Chug, choo! Off they started!

Slowly the cars began to move. Slowly they climbed the steep hill. As they climbed, each little steam engine began to sing:

“I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I think I can – I think I can – I think I can I think I can–“

And they did! Very soon they were over the hill and going down the other side.

Now they were on the plain again; and the little steam engine could pull her train herself. So, she thanked the little engine who had come to help her, and said good-bye.

And she went merrily on her way, singing:

“I-thought-I-could! I-thought-I-could! I-thought-I-could! I-thought-I-could! – I-thought-I-could! I-thought-I-could! I-thought-I-could! I-thought-I-could!

-Story by Watty Piper                                                                                   


At no point in the story does anyone tell the Little Engine she is unable to pull the train over the mountain. It was merely a question of whether she was going to try or whether she going to maintain the status quo.

We all face mountain-like obstacles but, whether we overcome them or not depends on our mindset and positive thinking will help us overcome just like the Little Engine. Do you tell yourself – I Can Do This?

Positive thinking means approaching your life with a positive outlook. It doesn’t mean you ignore bad situations, it simply means you make the most out of bad situations. You try to see the good in other people and view yourself and abilities in a positive light. Optimistic people view the glass as ‘half full’ rather than ‘half empty’. They focus on the bright side of life and expect positive results.

Here is a list of a few Characteristics of Positive Thinking:

  • Optimism – a willingness to make an effort and take a chance instead of assuming your efforts won’t pay off.
  • Acceptance – acknowledging that things don’t always turn out how you want them to, but learning from your mistakes.
  • Resilience – bouncing back from adversity, disappointment, and failure instead of giving up.
  • Gratitude – actively, continuously appreciating the good things in your life.

The thoughts of successful people tend to be optimistic. They rarely ever see themselves as the victim in any situation. They only see opportunities to learn and grow! Are you learning and growing from your experiences?

You can’t have a positive life with a negative attitude. When negativity controls your thoughts, it limits your behaviors, actions….and….opportunities! You could be blocking yourself from reaching the next level simply because of a negative attitude. Will you have negative thoughts from time to time? Yes. That is part of the human experience. We acknowledge that we won’t always be happy-go-lucky, but learning how to manage negative emotions and thoughts is the key to having a quality life and being successful. Negative thinking and emotions have their place according to psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, ‘they allow you to sharpen your focus on dangers, threats, and vulnerabilities. This is vital for survival’. She continues, ‘on the other hand, positive thinking and emotions broaden and build our resources and skills, and open up possibilities’.

Here are 7 practical tips to help you get more positive:

  1. Start the day with positive affirmations
  2. Focus on the good things, however small they are
  3. Find humor in bad situations
  4. Turn failures into lessons – and learn from the!
  5. Transform negative self-talk into positive self-talk.
  6. Focus on the present instead getting mired in the past or losing your way in the future.
  7. Find positive friends, mentors, co-workers to support and encourage you.

-Larry Alton,

‘One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself’. – Lucille Ball

Answer these questions:

  • What helps you stay positive?
  • What keeps you motivated?

Leave a reply in the comment section below


Recommended Reading:

Getting Back to Happy: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Reality, and Turn Your Trials into Triumphs by March Chernoff and Angel Chernoff

Hard Optimism: How to Succeed in a World Where Positive Wins by Price Pritchett

Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment by Martin E. Seligman


‘We don’t see thing as they are, we see things as we are’ – Anais Nin


-With Your Success In Mind,



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Adrian Jefferson Chofor is a Confidence Coach, #1 International Bestselling Author, Motivational Speaker, CEO, owner and founder of Aspire to Inspire Transformational Practice, LLC helping women, teens, and tweens with her programs achieve the level of confidence needed to be fearless and boldly pursue their dreams. Adrian is an experienced and committed accredited personal development coach specializing in confidence building and living authentically.

She has been recognized by organizations such as America SCORES, Kaiser Permanente, Toastmasters International, the New York City Department of Education, and Families in Global Transition. She has been quoted in major media outlets such as ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS. Her #1 International Bestselling Book, Aspire to Your Greatness! was nominated for the Independent Authors Legacy Award (IALA) Authors in Leadership award. She was featured in the Toastmasters International global campaign ‘Find Your Voice’ and received the Leadership and Communication award.

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