Two hikers were camped out overnight in the mountains. A thunderous voice roused them from their sleep. The voice said, “This will be the saddest day or the happiest day of your lives.” It then instructed them to pack up their belongings, make their way to the river, gather stones, and continue their journey.

The hikers did as they were instructed and stumbled to the river. Shortly after sunrise, they reached a valley and decided to rest. They pulled out their packs to examine the stones they had collected. To their surprise, what they had thought were river rocks were actually gems.

The first hiker said, “Now I know why this is the saddest day of our lives. We should’ve gathered more stones.”

“You must be kidding!” the second hiker said. “This is the happiest day of my life. Look at the wealth we attained.”

Therein lies the perfect example of the saying: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

How you look at life can drastically affect how much you enjoy your life. Optimists expect the best out of life. Good news: It’s an attitude that can be learned.

If you want to maintain the right attitude in the face of adversity, start by telling yourself you can change. Use positive language. Replace words and phrases like “impossible” and “I can’t” with words that emphasize success: “challenging” and “I must.”

Create the right environment. Listen to uplifting music. Watch inspirational movies. Read motivational books.

Appreciate your life. Take time to enjoy what you’ve already achieved with your life.

Let go of mistakes.

Mackay’s Moral: It’s just as easy to look for the good things in life as the bad.


Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or