Leave negative attitudes behind

Published 11:12 am Thursday, February 20, 2014

Welcome to the first meeting of Death to Negative Attitudes (DNA). It’s great to see so many concerned citizens willing to work together to improve Ironton. We have a plethora of talented people in this room, but those who have succeeded have done so individually.

The goal of this group is to create passion and instill pride in our city so everyone prospers, most importantly our children and grandchildren. I’m so glad you’re here! First, a few group rules:

• If you have a grudge against someone else in the room, please leave it at the door. It’s to our benefit to all work together. After the meeting, work your differences out in private and notice how much better you feel.

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• We do not permit gossiping, judging, conceit, immaturity, name calling, indifference, sarcasm, blaming, insults, alibis, envy, greed, lethargy, or hopelessness. This group is designed to be — and remain — positive. We’re here to shoot for the moon, not bury dreams alive.

• Some of you are more successful, financially speaking, than others. In here, we are all equal. Every opinion is considered. Every voice is heard. Every idea is a potential oil strike, no matter how silly it may seem on the surface. However, please do not offer opinions or ideas solely because they might boost your personal interests. In this group, we are a team. This team will fail if its players are more concerned with personal stats than wins. And if the team fails, so do all of the individuals.

• Everyone must work together. This means we must respect and encourage one another and use our specific talents to invest in our home town, not for personal gain but community pride. Personal gain will come for all of us if we manage to instill community pride. This is the final and most important rule. If we can accomplish this, I guarantee we will win.

Roughly 11,000 people live in Ironton, a number that would barely fill 10 percent of Ohio Stadium in Columbus. But we have some very talented residents, each masters of his or her own craft, whom collectively, if a little bit of time was spent sharing these crafts for the betterment of the community, could make this city great.

Imagine if all of our talents were pooled. Imagine if we all followed the rules of this group even when we aren’t in the group. How much better would this community be? How many corporations would consider making Ironton home to one of their franchises? How many of our kids and grandkids, once they grow up, would simply move across town instead of across the country?

The answers to these questions are up to us. Ask yourself this — “Am I willing to step out and be positive, give freely of my talents to bolster my community (and, in turn, myself)?” If so, please remember the group rules we discussed earlier. Negativity rapidly destroys growth. But anything can be planted in a positive, fertile mind. Imagine the possibilities if we had 11,000 positive, fertile minds working in unison.

Sports analogies are my favorite way to express ideas, so I feel I must mention a guy from Ironton who didn’t believe the naysayers — the many who laughed at his dream and said he’d never make it. Instead of giving up and accepting these opinions as fact, he kept his focus on his goal.

He struggled at first, wondering if the naysayers might be correct. But his determination to succeed trumped all the negative voices. He believed in himself. And that belief alone, an inner voice that told him to put all of his effort into his dream no matter what, eventually paid off. Why? Because he didn’t let anyone else tell him who he was supposed to be.

He wanted something, worked for it, and got it.

Unless you live in a cave, you know I’m talking about Tyler Whaley. He dreamed of being an Ohio State Buckeye. Not only did his belief in himself make him a Buckeye, but he earned the right to serve as the go-to fullback in the 2008 BCS National Championship game. A Columbus Dispatch sports writer, Ken Gordon, wrote a book about Tyler’s unusual determination.

We need a bunch of Tyler Whaleys to step up in Ironton…people who bat away the negative vibes and fuel themselves on the positives because they believe their dreams are achievable.

We have the talent. All we have to do is fill the roster and write a play book.

OK. Let’s get started…


Billy Bruce is a freelance writer who lives in Pedro. He can be contacted at hollandkat3@aol.com.