A funny thing happened the other day. A guy I know – I play soccer with him a couple times a month and would know him as an acquaintance rather than a friend – came to service our gas central heating system.

In he breezed, and asked me if I had the ‘destruction’ manual for the boiler. He probably gets to say it numerous times a week to break the ice with the customer and it made me smile as I handed over the instruction manual – to use its more common moniker.

Within 5 minutes the system had switched on of its own accord without the controller computer telling it to – not good – and ten minutes later the fuse blew on the system and shorted the circuit for the utility room.

He had indeed used the destruction manual to destroy the central heating.

It got me thinking about something I learned about early on in my managerial career, namely the self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s the notion that your attitude towards an impending situation can often govern how it turns out. If you think a meeting’s going to go badly, it probably will. If you go in with a positive mindset, you tend to get a positive outcome. Clearly there’s some cause and effect at work here.

It follows, therefore, that a positive disposition is always worth the effort, as it will help the end result favour you and also perhaps rub off on others as well.