When President Kennedy proposed in 1961 that by the end of that decade the United States should set as a goal landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth, nobody could deny he was taking a positive approach.
He and his advisers knew that the challenge to achieve a moon mission was immense – dangerous and expensive, too – but it was the right message at the right time, and in six short years the impossible was achieved (unless you’re a committed conspiracy theorist, that is).
However, although the project was driven by positivity, I’m sure it succeeded in part because there were those who took the trouble to think through what could happen were things to go wrong.
That wasn’t pessimism, it was realism.
It’s also important to recognise that JFK allowed that the whole thing was going to take time.
Note that it was ‘by the end of the decade’ rather than ‘by this time next week’.
Of course, when life seems to have dumped you into the abyss, it’s not terribly easy to take a positive approach, is it?
In fact, if someone suggested that I should do so, on one of my shabbier days, I’d probably tell them where to stick their approach.
However, deep down I think even I’d acknowledge the merit of keeping a small part of my mind open to better times.
Perhaps it would be reasonable, for instance, to accept that things could just get better, even if it might take months?
After all, they put a man on the moon. You could feel better.