Selling in today’s challenging and turbulent market place requires focused goals, a healthy work ethic and an optimistic outlook. While we are not always able to choose our circumstances, we can and must control how we respond to life’s difficulties, setbacks and challenges.

In aviation, the word “attitude” refers to the angle at which a plane meets the wind, whether the wings are level with the horizon, and whether it is climbing or descending. The pilot who fails to take responsibility for the attitude of their aircraft is in serious trouble. And likewise, anyone who fails to control his or her thinking and maintain a positive mental attitude runs a similar risk.

Whatever you think, feel or say about your life today becomes the scaffolding that builds the events you will experience in the future. Every setback and failure you experience also comes with a great opportunity. The key is to look for the opportunity and avoid dwelling on failure. Think thoughts of defeat and you are bound to feel defeated.

The great inventor, Thomas A. Edison, was known for both his optimistic outlook and his relentless determination. In December, 1914, the Edison Laboratory in West Orange, N.J., was almost entirely destroyed by fire. Edison lost $2 million worth of equipment and the records of much of his life’s work. The morning after the fire, as the 67-year-old inventor walked among the ashes, he was anything but defeated. Looking around, he remarked, “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.”

Can a positive mental attitude be used to propel a person to achieve greatness? As a young boy growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, 12-year-old Cassius Marcellus Clay put on his first set of boxing gloves and dreamed of someday becoming the heavyweight boxing champion of the world. The man eventually known as Muhammad Ali used his positive attitude to realize his dream and become the undisputed heavyweight boxing champion of the world and arguably one of the most popular sports figures in history!

Henry Ford was right when he said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t–you’re right.” Your belief system, like your computer, doesn’t judge what you input; it simply accepts it as the truth. The key to cultivating and maintaining a positive attitude is to use your power of choice and take control of your thinking. It’s a challenging task to develop a focused mind, but well worth the effort.