By Sunny Simon

     Nothing delights me more than a positive thinker. I encountered such an optimist the other day, only this character had feathers. While walking around the lake I stopped to watch a Mallard duck studying a swan feeder. It was obvious he wanted dinner, but without the long neck of a swan, those food pellets were impossible to reach. I watched sensing that little guy was determined to find a way.  Several minutes later he performed a Michael Jordan jump. The duck went from ground zero to three feet straight up but still could not score a meal.

     Who knew ducks could jump? Actually they are not built for jumping, but my determined feathered friend found a way. This guy won my heart. I stepped up to the feeder and grabbed a handful of pellets for my new friend.  He quacked. I laughed and we happily parted ways.

     As I continued my walk, I realized the duck reinforced an important life lesson. There is power in a positive mindset. His optimistic thinking did not solve his dilemma, but it made a huge impression on me, one worth addressing. Positive people are memorable. Win or lose, it makes no difference. These role models inspire and impact others.


     Think being optimistic is a bunch of rose- colored-glasses hooey? Not so. According to psychologist, Michael F. Scheier, optimists are not Polyannas; they are problem solvers always working on improving the situation. Makes sense to me. It was obvious my Mallard friend worked hard on solving his problem.

     Perhaps you don’t feel naturally optimistic and label yourself a realist. No worries. According to Dr. Srikumar Rao, author of the book, “Are You Ready to Succeed?: Unconventional Strategies for Achieving Personal Mastery in Business and in Life,” we all have the power to rewire our brain. In his Ted Talk, Dr. Rao provides strategies to help plug into our hard-wired happiness and coax out our inner optimist.

     Want to work on being more positive? Try conditioning yourself. Create random moments of positivity by pushing negative thoughts to the background. Too often we let good moments pass without a second thought. This week, when you experience something pleasant, perhaps as small as a good laugh between you and a friend, savor it.

     Here’s more homework for the week. Think of a problem you’ve been struggling with, then think of the duck. If a duck can brainstorm a possible solution, you can too. Let the power of positive thinking help you live life to the fullest. Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at