Harvey Mackay Academy's Blog

A farmer’s plow broke, and he thought he would ask his neighbor Murphy if he could borrow his plow. As he was walking to the Murphy farm, he thought to himself, “I hope Murphy has finished all his own plowing. He’s kind of lazy, and he might not have done it yet.”

After a few more minutes he thought, “What if Murphy’s plow is old. He won’t want to lend it to me then.” Then he thought, “Murphy was never a very helpful fellow. He might not lend me his plow, even if it’s in perfect condition and he finished his own plowing weeks ago.”

As he arrived at Murphy’s farm, he thought, “Murphy can be a mean old fellow. I bet he won’t lend me his plow just to watch me go to ruin.”

Finally the farmer knocked on Murphy’s front door.

“Good morning!” Murphy said. “What can I do for you?”

The farmer blurted out, “You can keep your bloody plow!”

Thinking negative has no positive. Negativity makes a person look at the land of milk and honey and see only calories and cholesterol.

I constantly preach: “Never say no for the other person.” People go around all their lives and say – I can’t sell him or her. He or she won’t mentor me. Or in this case, Murphy won’t lend me his plow.

Maya Angelou, one of my favorite poets and authors, said: “I am convinced that the negative has power and if you allow it to perch in your house, in your mind, in your life, it can take you over.”

That is why I don’t hang around with negative people. A negative person brings you down. A negative person sees the difficulty in every opportunity, while a positive person sees the opportunity in every difficulty. A positive mind anticipates happiness, joy, health and success.

Dr. Herbert H. Clark, a psychologist from The Johns Hopkins University, discovered that it takes the average person about 48 percent longer to understand a sentence using a negative than it does to understand a positive or affirmative sentence.

Norman Vincent Peale wrote a book a few decades ago, which I reread and study every now and then, titled “The Power of Positive Thinking.” I recommend this little gem to everyone.

One of my favorite aphorisms goes like this: Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

This gives you a choice, a positive or negative path. Clearly, the positive path will lead to a more rewarding, more contented life.

If you think positively, you will be more inclined to speak positively. Positive words will spur positive actions. If you behave in a positive way, you will form good habits. That will lead you to your destiny: what you will eventually become as a person.

Years ago, I came across an essay that really solidified my commitment to positive thinking. It has been credited to several people, most often Robert J. Burdette or the ubiquitous “unknown.” Regardless of whoever authored it, here is the message for you to contemplate:

“There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept from fear and apprehension.

“One of these days is Yesterday with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back Yesterday. We cannot erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone.

“The other day we should not worry about is Tomorrow with its possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise and poor performance. Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control. Tomorrow’s sun will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in Tomorrow, for it is yet unborn.

“This leaves only one day – Today. Anyone can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities – Yesterday and Tomorrow – that we break down.

“It is not the experience of Today that drives men mad. It is remorse or bitterness for something that happened Yesterday and the dread of what will happen Tomorrow.”

That’s a difficult formula to improve upon, and perhaps even more challenging to practice. But I promise you, I’m positive you will be better off for trying!

Mackay’s Moral: Whatever the mind expects, it finds.

About the Author

Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.