Always look on the bright side of life.”

“Wake up and smell the roses.”

“See the glass as half full instead of half empty.”

These popular sayings are designed to help us to get out of our ‘funky’ states, to awaken the go-getter within us and help us live peaceful happy lives. Believing in such sayings and adopting a positive mindset can and does help people through life’s small challenges as usually, those who think positively have a problem-solving outlook on life. This is a wonderfully useful trait to possess, but positive thinking alone has its limitations.

Looking back now, it was a pretty green way of looking at things but thinking positively was my default way of dealing with life in most instances. I often chose to see the good, hardly ever focusing on the negative and took a very optimistic approach to life. This was how I wired, I believed in this even before I started reading the Anthony Robbins, Dr Phill and Jack Canfield self-development books. Being this way, served its purpose on many an occasion. I still do lean towards a more favourable outcome in most instances, but now I am wiser.

Positive thinking can do the very opposite of what you want. You see, if you always believe only good can happen, you then become blind to (or choose not to see) the not so great stuff that takes place. I am hesitant to use the word ‘bad’ because the word conjures up something that is negative and has no use. I believe that uncomfortable or painful (more useful words) situations are there to teach us something.

I am talking about problems that cause deep angst, extreme pain, worry and hurt, such as: dealing with the loss of a business, becoming bankrupt, losing a baby, coping with the end of a relationship, struggling with ill-health, facing severe self-hate, facing a cancer diagnosis etc… You know what your pain is. Whatever that pain is, it is there to tell you something, if you will just listen.

It was clear to me from very early on after my cancer diagnosis, that I needed to take control of my thoughts and go beyond believing that as long as I adopted good thoughts, everything would be okay. This was too damn important to switch off and become blind to my predicament.

My business mind clicked into place as soon as I knew what I was dealing with. I kept at the forefront, the vision: I want a future with me in it. I then had to (with the help of the surgeons) create an effective strategy that was robust and had a high chance of success. I did my due diligence in between hospital appointments and researched the hell out of DCIS and invasive ductal carcinoma, with and without metastasis, with and without chemotherapy, with and without radiation.

It was important for me to do the risk assessment, know what the possible hazards are and have plans put in place to tackle any unfortunate outcome. I created a business plan for my life and my possible untimely death.

I believe people create their own luck by great preparation and good strategy.

Jack Canfield

This was strategic thinking working its ass off! I had kicked its predecessor ‘positive thinking’ to the kerb. I needed a method that was realistic in its assessment of the moment, forward thinking and laser focused on the goal.

My leadership skills faced their ultimate challenge. Keep Rebbecca alive!