Positivity with Strategy, a Recipe for Success

* Positivity is Fickle – Strategy is Enduring*

I like to think that I am an inherently positive person. I grew up in a household that instilled belief, confidence, and encouragement into me on a regular basis. Hearing these things made me feel good – like I could accomplish anything as long as I put my mind to it.

This was great when I was younger, and even to this day I hold these types of values close. Being positive feels good and who doesn’t like to feel good?

Who doesn’t gain gratification from delivering an uplifting message to another person that provokes them into action?

We admire those individuals who have the uncanny ability to come up with the right message in the right moment.

And then there are those who know what they are thinking but aren’t quite able to form the words to express their ideas. That’s ok too. There are numerous quotes from our favorite gurus that can serve the same purpose. Either way, no one can deny the spark that’s ignited when the right words tap into our psyche.

As humans, we thrive off this energy! It doesn’t always have to be for the purpose of engagement or action, but it can also be for those moments that when life is getting the best of us.

How many times have we heard the saying “You never know what someone else is going through?” It’s cliché but it’s also real.

Positive ThoughtsOur thoughts empower us but or words can weaken or empower others.

Each thought we have triggers an electrochemical reaction in our bodies. How we feel is due to chemical reactions released in our brains, a result of our thoughts. Positive thoughts trigger “feel good” chemicals and negative thoughts trigger “downer” chemicals.

I am, and will always be an avid endorser of positivity. But is it enough? My answer is no.

Overall, positivity is important and critical for success. But it is not always efficient or effective. Why you ask? Well, because the reality is that life isn’t always positive. There are times when life turns us upside down and the last thing we want to hear is some tongue in cheek quote about cheering up.

Upside Down

Life is full of moments that get the best of us. What if you’ve been at your job for several years, worked your way up the ladder, built great rapport with your co-workers and management, are fulfilled with where you are on this journey, and you find out they are downsizing and have to let you go?

What if you are an entrepreneur who owns a brick and mortar business and you’ve invested everything you have, and the building that leases the space to you burns down? Now, all of your hard work is reduced to a pile of ashes and you have nothing?

You aren’t going to be positive.

How about dealing with a bad break up or divorce?

Investing years into another individual…building through the ups, enduring through the downs, undergoing transformations for the betterment of the relationship, and planning out your future together only for it not to work out in the end?

We’ve all been there and we’ve all experienced this heartache. We’ve all traveled through the roller coaster spectrum of emotions that accompanies tough break-ups. It’s anything but positive.


If you are someone like me who has lost a parent or maybe even two, you know the pain that comes with death.

Losing my father damn near broke me. He was my best friend, my role model, and my real-life hero. In the immediate aftermath of his passing, it was extremely difficult for me to be positive. I’m sure this is no different for parents who have lost a child.

Yes, I know I used extreme examples of how hard life can sometimes hit us. But hidden in between those extremes are many small-scale obstacles that have the power to derail us just as much. And if we aren’t careful, their lasting effects can be just as destructive.

So, if positivity isn’t always efficient or effective, then what is? A plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim…otherwise known as strategy.

Strategy is of greater importance than positivity.

If our actions are contingent upon whether or not we are positive, then we are only going to complete half of what we set out to accomplish. I’m saying half but that could be a bit generous. For some of us, that percentage will be much lower. If we fill ourselves with positivity and we don’t get what we want, does that mean there’s something wrong with us? Were we not being positive enough?

If we’re running East to see the sunset, it doesn’t matter how positive we are, it’s not going to happen. But strategy on the other hand, can be utilized no matter what we are feeling, because it’s built on a higher principle than positivity.

Positivity is fickle; strategy is enduring.

Positivity is fickle, it comes and goes like the wind. We don’t have to work for positivity, it could be given to us at any moment. With strategy, we’re talking about the act of marshalling resources from ourselves for their highest and best use.

It’s about lifting our gaze above the moment and using our imagination to go into the future and pull what we want into the present.


That is what all highly successful people do; they imagine what they want to do, where they want to go, who they want to be, and then they give themselves the space to grow into the person who can accomplish the feat. They don’t believe that there won’t be any distraction.

Being strategic doesn’t mean there aren’t any distractions, it means being prepared to execute despite them. When we have imagined something in great detail, it makes us better able to handle the distractions of the present moment. We know which battles to face and which ones to avoid because they don’t move us toward our goal.

Positivity is the start, but if it’s not solidified into strategy, our goals will always have a difficult time materializing.


Carlton Mack is a dedicated father,
passionate student of life,
and author of
Attributes of Man and Redemption.


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