Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 26 seconds

Eeyore & Pooh

I recently read an article in INC. magazine that I liked very much. It explained that not everyone is an optimist, and just wanting to be one is not enough to create a convert. It acknowledged that not everyone is wired that way.

Those with a pessimistic attitude are often good planners of the worst case scenarios. Everyone knows an Eeyore with an” it’ll never work” attitude. The promising news is that a pessimistic attitude, can also be a path to success, if used properly. The article went on to say that successful people tend to plan ahead but also adjust their course as they go.

I was reminded of a skit I performed at my Boy Scout summer camp, at Utica Reservoir in the Sierras. I do consider myself an optimist, but, like everyone, I have had occasional short lived bouts of crushing pessimism and doubt.

The key to my lifelong successful attitude can be traced back to those good old days in Boy Scout Troop 6 Berkeley Hip, Hip, Hooray!

The Skit:

A young platoon of soldiers was preparing to go into battle. It turns out that supplies were scarce and, unfortunately, there were no weapons left to distribute. “There is a shortage of conventional weapons,” the platoon leader said, “We are setting up this special unit to use a different kind of weaponry.” Eager to learn about the new high-tech weapons, the young soldiers paid very close attention. The Lieutenant had each soldier go through the motions of pulling a pin  and throwing an imaginary grenade just as if it were real. He said “When you first see the enemy a long way off, take cover and throw your grenades, as you do, yell Boomety Boom Boom Boom! That ought  to get most of them, but if some slip through, pull out your hand and imagine you are holding a powerful pistol.” “Aim very carefully and squeeze the trigger yelling Bangety Bang Bang Bang! That ought to get the rest of them.” Heed my words,” he said with the confidence of a true leader, “you’ll each return victorious, safe, and sound.”

The power of suggestion is a mighty thing, but none of the soldiers was buying the special weaponry deal. They were surely going to die on the battlefield!

War is Hell

Weeks later they were marching along when they were spotted by the enemy. Out of options, they had to engage. Realizing they were sitting ducks, the soldiers dove for cover. They instinctively followed their training, pulling imaginary pins and hurling their make believe grenades over the ridges, after all, what did they have to lose? “Boomety Boom Boom Boom!” they yelled. They were very loud and quite convincing. As they peeked over the ridge to check their results, they saw, to their amazement, that there were half as many enemy troops headed their way. The grenades were working! Emboldened by their success, they pointed their hands at the advancing enemy and started pulling the triggers wildly on their imaginary guns, “Bangety Bang Bang Bang! Bangity Bang Bang Bang!” The roar of the battle was deafening and the enemy kept falling.

Thrilled with their success, the men were jumping for joy when they noticed a new wave of the enemy marching over the ridge. They had a confident, calm, and determined aura about them. A hush fell over the battlefield. When they were in range, the order was given to throw grenades, “Boomity Boom Boom Boom!” they yelled! “Boomity Boom Boom Boom!” The enemy continued to steadily advance. The grenades hadn’t put a dent in their numbers. The the men pulled their imaginary pistols, aiming very carefully as they were about to get overrun, “Bangity Bang Bang Bang, Bangity Bang Bang Bang!” Their weapons were worthless against their new foe, how could this be? Panicked, they began retreating. It was then  that they heard an ominous sound coming from each enemy soldier in unison, a sound that they had not prepared for. “Tankety tank tank tank.”


My point is, that I have become emboldened with the confidence, and certainty, that I am the best at what I do. I am a professional and an expert in my field. I walk tall and proud knowing that what I have to say and offer is the best. In the event that you are getting killed by the competition, or you are stuck with some seemingly insurmountable situation, become a creative problem solver, develop a plan quickly, adapt, adjust your course if necessary, and overcome.

Muttering “Tankety Tank Tank Tank” may be the key to unleashing your inner self confidence, allowing you to develop the attitude you need to get past any obstacle keeping you from being successful.

On a sad note, Zig Ziggler, one of my hero’s and an eternal optimist passed away at 86. He will be sorely missed.

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