A farmer's plow broke, and he thought he would ask his neighbor, Murphy, to lend him one.

As he was walking to the Murphy farm, he thought to himself, "I hope Murphy has finished all his own plowing. He's kind of lazy, and he might not have done it yet."

After a few more minutes he thought, "What if Murphy's plow is old? He won't want to lend it to me then."

Then he thought, "Murphy was never a very helpful fellow. He might not lend me his plow, even if it's in perfect condition and he finished his own plowing weeks ago."

As he arrived at Murphy's farm, he thought, "Murphy can be a mean old fellow. I bet he won't lend me his plow just to watch me go to ruin."

Finally, the farmer knocked on Murphy's front door. "Good morning!" Murphy said. "What can I do for you?"

The farmer blurted out, "You can keep your bloody plow!"

Thinking negatively has no positive.

Negativity makes a person look at the land of milk and honey and see only calories and cholesterol.

I constantly preach: "Never say no for the other person." People go around all their lives thinking things like "I can't sell anything to him or her," "he or she won't mentor me," or, in this case, "Murphy won't lend me his plow."

Maya Angelou, one of my favorite poets and authors, said: "I am convinced that the negative has power ... and if you allow it to perch in your house, in your mind, in your life, it can take you over."

A negative person sees the difficulty in every opportunity, while a positive person sees the opportunity in every difficulty. A positive mind anticipates happiness, joy, health and success.

Norman Vincent Peale wrote a classic book a few decades ago, which I reread and study every now and then: "The Power of Positive Thinking." I recommend this little gem to everyone.

One of my favorite aphorisms goes like this: "Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny."

If you think positively, you will be more inclined to speak positively. Positive words will spur positive actions. If you behave in a positive way, you will form good habits. That will lead you to your destiny — what you will eventually become as a person.

Years ago, I came across an essay that really solidified my commitment to positive thinking. It has been credited to several people, but most attributions are "unknown." Regardless of who authored it, here is the opening verse: "There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept from fear and apprehension."

The days? Yesterday, because it is over and beyond our control and tomorrow, because it is not here.

That leaves today, as the essay goes.

"Anyone can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities — Yesterday and Tomorrow — that we break down. It is not the experience of Today that drives men mad. It is remorse or bitterness for something that happened Yesterday and the dread of what will happen Tomorrow."

That's a difficult formula to improve upon, and perhaps even more challenging to practice. But I'm positive you will be better off for trying.

Mackay's Moral: Whatever the mind expects, it finds.

Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or email harvey@mackay.com.