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Updated on May 10, 2011


 Over the past 10 months, my Hubs have centred on a personal battle against Cancer, in particular T-Cell Lymphoma Stage 4b. Happily, I am now classed as being in full remission which is the best birthday present I could have as I reach 71 on Friday.

Throughout my life, I have always believed that I could be anything I wanted to be and by and large that is how it has worked out. Maybe, the need to bring up two boys, made me less adventurous in the career stakes in my 40"s and 50"s than my natural instincts would have lead me and modified my approach somewhat but I harbour no regrets for that or for the 90"s doing likewise for my stepson.Thus, without knowing it I have been a PMA devotee all my life to a greater or lesser extent.

 People who have read the Hubs, or just even know about my Cancer, often ask me what I mean by PMA. I stress here " what I mean by PMA". The reason for that is clearly that PMA means different things to different people and thus, I have looked a bit deeper into a phrase we often use to see if there are generally common elements, or whether it is a broad canvas upon which each can paint their own picture ,often of hope and aspiration.

Napoleon Hill and W Clement Stone are considered the originators of the phrase and the broad concept of PMA. Google their names to discover about them if you will. Here I am interested in the concept and in advising my take on it.

It seems generally accepted that there are certain key elements to a strong PMA in all cases and below, I list my understanding of them and my personal interpretation.

1. Live for yourself and consider the goals you seek and how to bring them closer. This seems pretty much common sense to me and I do not think there is much to argue about there. Thus, in my recent battle, it was a clear case of wanting to get better and to work along positively with all concerned in aiding me, for example, Hospital, my caring wife and family and friends from near and far. I consistently reminded myself that I had such solid support around me that not to be positive myself was not an option.

2. Develop a realisation that you cannot control outside influences and that it is pointless to worry about things you cannot influence or are now in the past. The facts say 1 in 3 people get Cancer, so my approach was very much not, "Why me?" but "Why not me?" I found using my ears in the Chemotherapy Suite that this was not a view shared by all. Indeed, a Nurse  summed it all up by asserting that there are just two types of patient. Those who have effectively given up and rely solely on the skill of the Medics to determine their fate and the others who are up for the fight still, themselves.

3. The psychology of the above also spills over to the next area that I call Mental Compartmentalism. Put simply that means, for example, that work, for example stays at work and does not dominate every minute of the waking day. There are needs for flexibility in this for at times things like work will need to eat into other time, but as long as balance is restored in the medium term at least, there should not be insurmountable difficulties. In this respect, Cancer has given me a new problem to deal with right now, for my wife complains, with some good reason that I spend too much time on the Computer at all times. It is fine right now as she has gone for shopping therapy, so I am home alone!

4.Life is not a sprint but a marathon is a well used homily but looked at sensibly it can be a good hat peg for living. Learning to pace oneself is a vital part of sensible living. Recovering, as I am now, I get irritated when my remedial exercise programme does not improve me as quickly as I would wish, or that the Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy in my hands and feet will not go away and makes me feel arthritic as well as curbing my mobility.  I know  that time alone will deal with these things and so try to maintain a balance by adjusting to fit where I am now, rather than where I would wish to be, whilst still maintaining my programmes to assist in the recuperation process.It is also worth remembering that every day has 24 hours and thus getting up 15/30 mins earlier aids the pace required.

5. Maintain an open mind. Treat every day as an opportunity to learn something you did not know yesterday. For example, I have today learned that what I have been told about mussels is absolutely wrong! I have always been told that when cooked any mussels remaining closed should be discarded. It is now stated that is wrong and inside the closed shell is a perfectly edible mussel. There you go , not vital to life but at close on 71 news to me! Everyday, provides a learning experience.Helping my step son with a job application and personal statement yesterday, I learned of the subtle changes in approach and format, since those days back in the 60"s/70"s and 80"s when I was reeling them off for myself.

6. Make a record, either mental or logged as to your achievements and store to have available when required.Remembering a past success can sometimes shorten the time needed to get to grips with a current problem and may also bring to mind the opposite and thus reduce the trial and error factor. Alongside this always be prepared to look out for and when required ,help others in whatever way that help may be required or you are equipped to assist in.A positive Mental Approach to the problems of others can also be most beneficial to yourself.

By and large, the above are those hat pegs on which I hang my own PMA. Essentially, when the Consultant gave me the news in front of my wife and elder son, of the Lymphoma, I can recall being quite unemotional and sharply analytical. It was as if somehow I received simultaneously as the news of the Lymphoma, messages telling me that we could beat the disease. I do not know from whence they came, but that was how it was. Later, I determined that everything happens for a purpose and so the perforated bladder hell that was just behind me, had a silver lining as it was through the operation to deal with that, that the Lymphoma was discovered. Thus, the timing effectively said, there is treatment for this not to be delayed. So it panned out but do not be mistaken into thinking PMA, not least my own version of it, is the be all and end all of all things. Far from it.

What not to Expect from PMA.

It is totally incorrect to give any impression that PMA alone will make everything happen as one would wish. The old adage of actions speaking louder than words is key in this respect. Having PMA is a good thing but it will never alter Fact and Reality. What PMA can do is to give a different viewing point to enable alternative possibilities to be seen, understood and acted upon. Approaching a problem to be faced in a different way can expose the solution.

Perhaps PMA"s biggest attribute to the holder is to shut out the doubters and negative approaches. President Obama caught the mood with his campaign slogan "YES! WE CAN!" It grasped the fact that in life there are more who are of a negative aspect than positive and they need support to eschew their doubts and become involved in a swelling crowd of positively. Negative thinkers desperately want to be positive but lack personal confidence to be so, until convinced by the power of others that it will be a better way to be.Positive Mental Attitude helps the individual  maintain CONTROL, whilst Negative Attitudes cede that control to others.

Being prepared to assess that which is behind and that which is reality is the key to moving forward. "Yesterday is History, Today is reality.Tomorrow is a mystery". There is hard sense in that and worrying about things that you cannot alter is a big cause of negativity. Far better to focus on important things and to give yourself time to review them.

Important things will differ from person to person but generally most will benefit from the factors below:

1. FAMILY. Make sure that your family gets your most important element-------- your time.

2. LIFE. Accept it as not being a rehearsal and thus, focus on your dreams and aspirations.In other words, do not die wondering!

3.OTHERS. Consider others and respect them, even if not in agreement and whether family,friends, or in business. As regards to the latter, be decent to those you pass on the way up as you may meet them again on the way down.

4. PERSONAL. Project your own course. Learn your own lessons as quickly as possible, discarding the bad and retaining the good. Build on a firm base of experiences and be realistic but optimistic in all that you do.

If, to the above, PMA is properly added, then there is a general basis for progress. Different people will progress in different areas for we are not all the same and PMA alone is not the ultimate secret for all round success. At the same time, having PMA and applying it sensibly to one"s thoughts and actions will, in my experience, be beneficial to the harboured hopes and aspirations that one realistically harbours. 


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