Anonymous Distributor

When animals rely solely on instincts to stay alive, they are restrained by their instinctual fear and their fear of the unknown. They never reach their full potential. Harvey Mackay says people do exactly the same thing.

“In cultures that depend on elephants for labor and transportation, it’s common to tie untrained elephants by their ankles to a bamboo tree, using heavy-duty rope. After three or four days of trying to free themselves, elephants give up.

“From that time on, they can be restrained by tying one leg to a small peg in the ground — something they surely could escape from with minimal effort. But with little resistance, the elephants don’t try to get loose. Despite their superior size, they have learned helplessness. Do you let your past experiences limit your choices?”

Fear of failure also limits us from reaching our potential. “The African impala can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance greater than 30 feet. Yet, these magnificent creatures can be kept in an enclosure in any zoo with a 3-foot wall. The animals will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will land. As with so many humans, extreme caution gets in the way of success.”

If you didn’t know you couldn’t do something, wouldn’t you attempt to do it? “In the 1930s, a leading zoologist concluded after careful study that, according to the laws of aerodynamics, it should be impossible for a bumblebee to fly. That is because its size, weight and the shape of its body are all wrong in relation to its total wingspread.

“Fortunately, no bumblebees have ever studied aerodynamics — so they just naively keep on doing what they’re incapable of doing.”

Habit often keeps us from reaching our full potential. “Flea trainers have observed a predictable and strange habit of fleas while training them. Fleas are trained by putting them in a cardboard box with a top on it. As you watch them jump and hit the lid, something very interesting becomes obvious. The fleas continue to jump, but they are no longer jumping high enough to hit the top.

“When you take off the lid, the fleas continue to jump, but they will not jump out of the box. Once they have conditioned themselves to jump just so high, that’s all they can do. Many people do the same thing. They restrict themselves and never reach their potential.”

Don’t let your instincts keep you from reaching your full potential. Life is too short not to live it fully.


U.S. President Harry S. Truman once said, “A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities, and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.” Which do you think will reach their goals, live a happy life, and achieve their dreams?

Imagine interviewing two people for a job opening you have. Both are equally skilled, but one is always grumbling about how unfair life can be, while the other one talks about what wonderful possibilities exist. Who would you want to hire? Who do you think would do a better job?

Naturally, you would gravitate toward the optimist. If you choose the pessimist, you would be setting yourself up for plenty of aggravation and disappointment, not to mention the negative impact on your staff and customers. Pessimism can bring everyone down, not just the person with the negative attitude. And I believe that’s when a pessimist is happiest!

Pessimists see life as one problem after another. Optimists see life as one opportunity after another.

Here’s a story Harvey Mackay tells about how optimism can be life-changing:

“Within a seven-year time span, a woman’s mother died, her husband divorced her, and she found herself living in poverty just one step away from being homeless. In her spare time, she wrote a book that 12 publishers rejected.

“Finally, one publisher accepted her book about a boy named Harry Potter. And then she wrote a few more books, which became blockbuster movies, and even spawned a theme park.

“J.K. Rowling was an optimist who’s now a billionaire. How far in life would she have gotten by being a pessimist?”


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