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Son Of A Preacher Man: III. A Positive Mental Attitude

Posted on February 19 2018

Son Of A Preacher Man: III. A Positive Mental Attitude

I think that making the decision to change your general attitude towards one of looking for the positive side of any situation and even just to be able to say to yourself “oh well” when things don’t seem to be going so well, according to plan, or going your way is a really powerful thing. There hasn’t been any situation in my life that has been so bad that I haven’t, at the very least, been able to look back on it and learn something in order to be able to grow and hopefully become a better version of myself.

I’m sure if you look back on your own past experiences that seemed to be awful, even devastating, at the time, that you will be able to find some form of benefit hidden there somewhere . Perhaps; an area where you have been able to grow or maybe you have even been of some help to others, or one day will be able to. I tell you what, there is nothing quite like the feeling that rushes over you when you know that you have been able to actually be of some help to someone else during their time of need simply by having been in their shoes before.

Now, I know for a fact that there are plenty of you out there who have been through far greater trials and tragedies than I’ll (hopefully) ever know, so I don’t say these things lightly, I just hope to be able to help some people change their mindset from looking at situations in a negative manner, to searching for any possible sign of something good, because this type of mental attitude can completely turn your entire life around and you’ll wonder what on earth you’ve been doing with yourself (and to yourself) up until this point!

Only yesterday I saw a video of a man who had possibly been in some sort of terrible accident at some stage of his life. He had lost both his arm and his leg on the left side of his body, yet he was racing a modified bicycle on a velodrome at over 40k’s an hour! I am certain without a doubt in my mind that this man has a positive mental attitude towards life, the life that he still has as opposed to going off and spending the rest of his time looking at his affliction in a negative manner and feeling sorry for himself. If this were the case there is no way he would have gone through all of the countless hours of exercise and physio to be able to even ride a bike, let alone race one!


Our situations are the realisation of every fear and idea acted on in past and as of now and here.

What I mean by this is; the way you look at any given situation will determine the outcome. If you are anxious about something, your focus is directed towards that feeling of fear, which is a negative feeling. Chances are, you probably won’t succeed in whatever you are trying to accomplish if you are focusing on things that you feel will cause you to fail (the reasons why you can’t). In fact, there is even quite a good chance that you don’t even try out certain things simply because you don’t think you can do it!

On the other hand, if you are thinking about something-anything, in a positive manner, you are likely to believe that it is achievable. Or at least you are probably willing to give it a go. By getting started on the aspects that you know you can do, you needn’t worry so much about the bits you could have difficulty with. If your focus is on the CAN DO portion of the task at hand, it’s more likely you succeed. It’s all in the mindset, the way you feel, or even just your FAITH IN YOURSELF, that determines the ACTIONS that you will naturally take towards accomplishing whatever your desire was!

The term that has been given to this sort of outcome is Positive Manifestation. I used to believe in myself without even realising it! I even used to use “positive manifestation” without even realising it.

Even when I did learn about the terminology, I certainly didn’t believe in the concept. I used to laugh at Emma for telling me that she positively manifested me!

I would say, “Wait a minute – I was born before you were!” 😂

“I manifested you into my life” she’d retort 😋.  I still didn’t get it.

Now I can think of so many examples of using my positive mental attitude to achieve my desires in life, I have shared some with you in my previous blogs and here are a couple more stories from the Son of a Preacher Man:

Busted Old Ford that I used to sit in and dream of.

As a 17 year old I would go to a mates place on the outskirts of Sydney every weekend for a barbie. He had an old wreck of a 59 ford sitting on his property. It was love at first sight! I would sit in it for hours, every weekend and picture myself driving around, looking over my shoulder at the atomic tailfins through the space age, wrap around, rear window. Sometimes I would even fall asleep in the car! I don’t believe that positive manifestation is some sort of magic, I believe that it’s as simple as keeping your desires on your mind with a positive attitude towards them – believing – in other words,  and you will (unknowingly or subconsciously) make decisions in your life that will lead you towards those things. You will attract circumstances that can make it a reality. For my 21st birthday I bought myself an original paint, engine & interior, one owner, two door, left hand drive, 1959 Ford. Now, whenever I look over my shoulder to change lanes and see the tailfins, I am instantly taken back to that old wreck sitting in the weeds and am full of gratitude for what I have, knowing that I am literally “living the dream.”

Sideways in MY  ’59 Ford! Pix By Pete Walker

During my early Twenties, I was working as an auto electrician. There had been some sort of a stuff around with my apprenticeship (dodgy dealings by an employer) and well- I got stooged; spending nearly 3 of the 4 year apprenticeship on 1st year wages. Then after that, being paid below minimum wage as I got stuck running an entire workshop on my own for an owner who was never there. I guess, I was never really aware of my rights as a worker and wasn’t really brought up to be assertive over that type of thing, I was just doing what I could to keep my job and get by.

This situation had me locked into a very negative state of mind along with the added sense of little to no self-worth. I would drive home to the granny flat that I was sub-letting in Moggill wishing so much that I owned my own home. Being in this negative frame of mind, I would tell myself that I would never own my own home. I was stuck where I was and I believed this with all my heart. I finally hit rock bottom and knew that, somehow, I had to change my circumstances, I had to at least try if I ever wanted to feel some sort of happiness. Underneath it all I still had a huge desire to achieve some of the things that I knew could only possibly ever be dreams if I stayed where I was. I wanted them to be GOALS!

No sooner had I made the decision to change my attitude and thus my situation when I was offered a job delivering gas cylinders. Not knowing if I could even physically do the tasks expected I accepted the position out of sheer desperation to change my situation. The more work I completed each week, the more money I could earn – and earn it I did.

Finally, I was able to believe in my dreams again; that I would one day own my own home.


That is – once I had paid off my personal loans- another situation that had been weighing me down. My generous disposition had lead me to make some poor financial decisions back then. I had a habit of buying cars that I couldn’t really afford, and instead of selling them I decided to give them to my siblings. I felt a responsibility to them and did not want them to have to live in poverty. This meant that I had accumulated about Thirty thousand dollars worth of debt. I know it’s a nice thing to do, and I definitely don’t regret doing it but it did contribute to my living in debt and it was a tough situation for my own start in life, so probably not the best decision to make looking back now. What was that I was saying about growing from experience?! I never regretted getting a loan to buy my ’59 ford though, and never will!


So there I was, driving a truck and making gas deliveries. It wasn’t the easiest of jobs, the cylinders weighed nearly twice as much as I did and I had to negotiate them up steep driveways and over all sorts of hazardous terrain – often running to the gate before some vicious dog would come running around the corner!  But I didn’t care- I was working hard for the money! On occasions when I would work out west, I’d drive the gas truck home at night and take a detour as I came through Mount Crosby to have a look at one particular, picture perfect, stereotype, little post-war house that really caught my eye- it even had a few ’50s cars in the yard!


I would think to myself how charming it was and wonder what the story of the old couple was who lived there? How nice it must be to live there; set amongst the gum trees with no neighbours in sight. I was certainly not in the market to buy a house at this stage of life, but it got me thinking about what I wanted. I decided on three definite criteria that my dream house must have. They were somewhat contradictory to each other but I thought If I am able to somehow come across all 3 things then maybe I really could enjoy a little place of my own?

A real home! The three things I had decided on were:
1 )To live in Mount Crosby,
2)To have enough room for my cars & to not have neighbours on top of me, and
3)To get it for under $300,000.
This last point is what felt like the contradictory part. I had seen some properties around the area sell for what seemed like way below what they should be worth, whilst other places were selling for over $1M! It is a lovely hilly area mostly consisting of acreage properties covered in natural bushland. The main road sits up atop the bushy clifftops that look down over the Brisbane river. It seemed like a bit of a stretch but it was what I wanted all the same.

One of these nights as I drove past the little old fibro home, trying  to catch a glimpse of a better-old fashioned way of life, I saw that there was a For Sale sign out the front! There’s no way I could afford a house in Mount Crosby though, or anywhere for that matter! I hadn’t been in my new job for a whole year yet and only a couple weeks beforehand I had paid the last of my personal loan off. (Boy was that a good feeling!) I had been able to save rather a lot keeping my living costs to a minimum; staying in that little Granny Flat and my diet pretty much consisting of only weetbix!

The main reason I was drawn to living in that granny flat was – of course; because there was a massive old timey shed on the property. It had been built out of reclaimed materials which were taken out of old Queenslander houses back in the 1950’s. I loved the feeling that shed had and this is where I could store and work on my classic cars. To make it even more affordable, I had struck up a deal with Ginette (who lived in the main house) that I would mow the lawns and whipper-snip along the driveways edge in exchange for use of the shed. The property was on ten acres and mainly consisted of bushland but there was also a fair bit of grass, so it was a bloody big job to mow that place! Especially before I could afford the ride-on mower I had always wanted and finally splashed out on – a vintage Cox owned by one of the company executives since new, in mint condition – of course! But I was delighted in the fact that I was making it financially viable to have a big shed for my cars in an old timey bartering kind of a way.

Although I had emptied my savings account to pay off my loan, I couldn’t resist looking up the address online to find the little house for sale. Once again I couldn’t believe it,
1)it was (obviously) in Mount Crosby,
2) it was a 1/2 acre property surrounded by cultural heritage listed land covered in beautiful eucalyptus trees and no easily visible neighbours with a school across the road, and
3) it was under $300,000!

I told my new girlfriend Emma all about it but, not entirely believing in myself, said how there was probably no way I’d be able to get a home loan. With something as simple as a few encouraging words from Emma;

“Why not go and see? You never know your luck. What have you got to lose?….you should do it!” Emma is an eternal optimist.
Feeling a little more positive about the possibility after Emma encouraging me, I arranged to meet the home loans manager at the bank and it turned out that there was a good possibility that I would be granted a loan,  Holy hell! It turned out that the deposit I was saving up for was going to be nowhere near as high as I was expecting and I just happened to have the exact amount saved up in the bank! Selling my vintage cars to get the money was not even close to an option for me at that stage of my life =)


I decided to take the plunge and do it! I bought the house and I worked harder than ever to now pay my rent, my mortgage, and complete some minor renovations before Emma and I moved in together. But I was able to somehow manage it all and it has worked out better than I could have imagined!


Emma was able to help me change my mindset from thinking there’s no way, to believing in myself just enough to take the first steps towards the “can do” part of achieving my vision; just with a few simple words of encouragement. I hope that I am able to encourage you to believe in yourself. Focus on the things that you desire with a can do attitude and you will be well on your way to living a fuller life. A life where even whilst driving to work, you can have actual happiness knowing that you are working towards your definite purpose in life.

I believe that with this type of attitude, you and I, will both get there!


Matthew Coto.


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