September 2014

As chief elected officer of the Society, ASSE's president promotes the advancement of the Society and the safety profession, and represents ASSE before members, other relevant professional societies and various governmental agencies. Professional Safety shares his latest thoughts on the Society, the profession and its practice.

Read past messages in the President's Message Archive.

President's Message - May 2003

How and what you think can actually shape your destiny. Much more can be gained by thinking positively.

2002-2003 ASSE President Mark D. Hansen, PE, CSP, CPE

Optimism Breeds Success

Remember when people worked for one company throughout their entire careers? That's a rarity today. It seems even new employees can't be expected to stay long, as they are often eager to jump at the next best opportunity.

People who excel in their professions aren't simply gifted or fortunate-they have harnessed and effectively use qualities that all people have. One such quality is faithfulness to a commitment. What does that encompass?

Let's start with the three "Ds": diligence, dependability and discipline. Diligence means finding ways around barriers, focusing unrelentingly on the details and expending the time required to complete the assignment. Dependability means completing a task regardless of obstacles. Discipline refers to following a proven methodology to complete the task and to ensure high-quality results.

Success also requires persistence. Too often, people experience a setback and give up on themselves, their dreams and aspirations. Those who succeed rarely choose the path of least resistance when faced with major life challenges.

Seeing beyond failure is another mark of success. John Milton wrote, "The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven." How and what you think can actually shape your destiny. We've all been in situations with a Doubting Thomas-someone who can only see the potential for failure and drags others into this mindset. Much more can be gained by thinking positively and using your mind as a creative, problem-solving tool. Focus on the goal rather than the obstacles and you can accomplish what seems to be impossible.

Successful people spend much of their careers doing things that others told them were impossible. Often, it boils down to attitude. Just ask Chuck Swindoll, a chancellor of the Dallas Theological Seminary. "The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life," he says. "Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. . . . The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past . . . we cannot change the fact that people will act a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it."

We can't control what happens to us, but we can control how we react. If we choose to let it get us down, we will live in the shadow of pessimism. If we choose to not let it get us down, we will live in the light of optimism. The choice seems clear.

Mark D. Hansen, PE, CSP, CPE