I read about a schoolboy who brought home his report card. It was heavy with poor
grades. "What have you to say about this?" asked his father. "One thing for
sure," the boy replied, "Dad, you can be proud. You know I haven't been
Morning Glory, August 12, 1993.
Exceptional winning streaks by teams at relatively obscure high schools or colleges are not uncommon, but even so we
feel an obligation to report that the girls' volleyball team at Dayville High School in Oregon ran off a string of 65 victories
before losing. What makes this streak so appealing is that Dayville High has only 18 girl students: 16 are on the
volleyball squad and the 17th keeps score.
Although Dayville is one of the smallest Class B high schools in the state, it won the Class A volleyball championship
for three years running. Part of its success must be due to its unbridled optimism. The letter that brought word of the winning
streak said that after the defeat, "The team rebounded and has a winning streak of one."
An optimist believes we live in the best of all possible worlds. A pessimist fears this is true.
The tire is only flat on the bottom. Winners see risk as opportunity. They see the rewards of
success in advance. They do not fear the penalties of failure. The winning individual knows that bad luck is attracted by
negative thinking and that an attitude of optimistic expectancy is the surest way to create an upward cycle and to attract the
best of luck most of the time. Winners know that so-called luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity. If an
individual is not prepared, he or she simply does not see or take advantage of a situation. Opportunities are always around, but
only those who are prepared utilize them effectively.
Winners seem to be lucky because their positive self-expectancy enables
them to better prepared for their opportunities. When asked by a news reporter how she thought she would
do in one of her early career swimming meets in the United States several years ago, 14-year-old Australian Shane Gould replied, "I
have a feeling there will be a world record today." She went on to set two world records in the one-hundred- and two-hundred-
meter freestyle events. When asked how she thought she would fare in the more testing, grueling, four-hundred-meter event,
Shane replied with a smile, "I get stronger every race, and besides ... by parents said they'd take me to Disneyland if I
win, and we're leaving tomorrow!" she went to Disneyland with three world records. At 16 she held five world records and
became one of the greatest swimmers of all time, winning three gold medals in the 1972 Olympics. She learned early about the
power of self-expectancy.
Denis Waitley in The Winner's Edge (Berkley Books) quoted in
Bits & Pieces, March 4, 1993, pp. 13-15.
As soon as I began unloading my groceries, the checkout clerk excused herself, saying she'd be right back. I continued
emptying my shopping cart when I heard a woman's voice behind me. "Pardon me," she said. "Is this line open, or are you just an
Patricia Carroll in Sunshine Magazine.
Two boys who were twins, one an incurable optimist, one a pessimist. The parents were worried about the extremes of
behavior and attitude and finally took the boys in to see a psychologist. The psychologist observed them a while and then
said that they could be easily helped.
He said that they had a room filled with all the toys a boy could want. They would put
the pessimist in that room and allow him to enjoy life. They also had another room that they filled with horse manure. They
put the optimist in that room. They observed both boys through one way mirrors. The pessimist continued to be a pessimist,
stating that he had no one to play with. They went to look in on the optimist, and were astounded to find him digging through the
manure. The psychologist ran into the room and asked what on earth the boy was doing. He replied that with all that manure,
he was sure there had to be a pony in the room somewhere.
I passed a sand lot yesterday,
Some kids were playing ball
I strolled along the third base line
Within the fielder's call.
"Say, what's the score?" I asked.
He yelled to beat the stuffing,
"There's no one out, the bases full,
They're winning forty-two to nothing!"
"You're getting beat, aren't you my friend?"
And then in no time flat
He answered, "No, sir, not as yet!
Our side hasn't been up to bat!"
During his days as president, Thomas Jefferson and a group of companions were traveling across the country on horseback. They
came to a river which had left its banks because of a recent downpour. The swollen river had washed the bridge away. Each
rider was forced to ford the river on horseback, fighting for his life against the rapid currents. The very real possibility of
death threatened each rider, which caused a traveler who was not part of their group to step aside and watch. After several had
plunged in and made it to the other side, the stranger asked President Jefferson if he would ferry him across the river. The
president agreed without hesitation. The man climbed on, and shortly thereafter the two of them made it safely to the other
As the stranger slid off the back of the saddle onto dry ground, one in the group asked him, "Tell me, why did you select
the president to ask this favor of?"
The man was shocked, admitting he had no idea it was the president who had helped him.
"All I know," he said, "Is that on some of your faces was written
the answer 'No,' and on some of them was the answer 'yes.' His was a 'Yes' face."
C. Swindoll, The Grace Awakening, Word, 1990, p. 6.