Positive Times for 2022

By Nancy Brannon, Ph.D.

You may have seen the symbol (+X) in a circle on some cowboys’ hats and wondered what it means. Is it a gang symbol for a math cult? Is it a merit badge for mathematics achievement? Signs of the times (pun intended)?

None of the above. It is a symbol of the American Hat Company meaning “Positive Times,” reflecting the mantra of the late Keith Maddox (1945-2019). It began as a cattle brand and was adopted by the American Hat Company as a lasting legacy of Keith and Susan Maddox, as well as a guiding principle for the business and a way of life. “Positive Times” is a reminder to put positive energy into every aspect of the world that you touch.

Keith Mundee, President of American Hat Company, told us that the symbol is a way of keeping the Maddox legacy alive. And it doesn’t have to be worn exclusively on American Hat Co. hats, but can be won on any hat, clothing, or anything you want to put it on.

“Keith had a profound impact on my life,” Mundee said. “When I left Cinch to work here, some people considered it a step down, but I considered it a giant step forward.” Mundee told how he became friends with Maddox and liked a phrase that Maddox often said: “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much room.” Mundee said that “Keith mastered the law of attraction,” a philosophy that suggests that positive thoughts bring positive results into a person’s life. The opposite is that negative thoughts bring negative outcomes.

Mundee recalled the time that he gave his two daughters copies of the book The Secret. Coincidentally, Maddox had also given his two daughters copies of the book. Great minds think alike? Mundee says, “The Secret provides a spiritual basis for the notion that what energy you put out is the energy you receive. If you put out negative energy, you attract bad vibes. If you put out positive energy, you attract positive vibes.”

Mundee talked about his first marketing plan for American Hat Co. He told Keith that they should give away something every day. “How can we afford to do that?” Keith asked him. Mundee said his plan was to use social media to give away a positive thought every morning. So Keith’s daughter Treasure Maddox started posting on social media a positive thought every morning. “People liked and shared the thoughts,” Mundee said, “and it’s amazing all the letters, cards, and messages we have received from folks who were affected by these positive thoughts. Keith sowed a lot positive things in a lot of lives.”

Read more about Keith Maddox, his Positive Times brand, and his acquisition of American Hat Company at: https://americanhat.net/keith-maddox-the-hat-king/

We think that (+X) Positive Times makes a good theme for 2022 and it sure trumps (- ÷) “negative division.” Negativity and divisiveness can bring on individual health problems as well as societal problems. “Frequent criticism, cynical thoughts, denial” and derogatory comments toward others “can create neural pathways in the brain that encourage sadness” and conflict. “These negative tendencies can cause our brain to distort the truth and make it even more difficult to break the negative cycle,” say the health experts at Marque Medical.

“Negativity can manifest in numerous ways, including cynicism, hostility, polarized thinking, jumping to conclusions without sufficient evidence, blaming,” and more. “Extended bouts of negativity can result in serious health problems because it sends our body into stress mode. Extended periods of negativity slow digestion, and decrease the immune system’s ability to fight inflammation.”

[source: https://marquemedical.com/damaging-effects-of-negativity/]

Having a positive attitude can enrich your health, your life, and the lives of all those you come in contact with.
The Mayo Clinic has found health benefits to positive thinking. “The positive thinking that usually comes with optimism is a key part of effective stress management. And effective stress management is associated with many health benefits.

“Positive thinking means that you approach unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include: increased life span, lower rates of depression, lower levels of distress, greater resistance to disease, improved psychological and physical well-being, improved cardiovascular health, better coping skills during hardships and times of stress.”

Read more about positive thinking from the Mayo Clinic at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950

Socially, positive thinkers enjoy more confidence and rich relationships with others. Positive thinkers come up with constructive solutions. Positive thinkers often have more empathy, are pleasant company, and can deal with conflict more effectively.

[source: https://www.thelawofattraction.com/why-positive-thinkers-have-better-relationships/]

In 2018, Tara Parker-Pope wrote about “The Power of Positive People” in The New York Times. Her article gives evidence of how surrounding yourself with positive friendships can exert a measurable influence on your health behaviors and, ultimately, on longevity.  

[source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/10/well/the-power-of-positive-people.html]

Tchiki Davis, Ph.D. published an article in Psychology Today on January 1, 2021, “The Power of Positivity.” She also finds that “Positivity can lead to better mental health and well-being.” Examples of “how to use the power of positivity in your life include: self-oriented positivity (I’m a good person); other-oriented positivity; gratitude; paying attention to the positive; savoring; and future-oriented positivity.”

[source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/click-here-happiness/202101/the-power-positivity]

Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D., wrote in Psychology Today in March 2020, “Is There Really Power in Positive Thinking?” He begins with the 1950s book by Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking, and examines whether “an optimistic attitude and positive thoughts can lead to better outcomes and greater life satisfaction.”From there he fast-forwards to Rhonda Byrnes’ 2006 book, The Secret and says “Byrnes suggests that simply thinking about positive outcomes will lead to them.” From there he explores research on the role that “positive emotions play in improving one’s mood and leading to healthy physical and psychological outcomes.” The research concludes that the role of positive thoughts and emotions can produce beneficial outcomes. “It is important to be positive and realistically optimistic, and it also takes constructive behaviors to achieve positive outcomes. And having supportive others who encourage us goes a long way to achieving success.”

[source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/202003/is-there-really-power-in-positive-thinking ]

In fact, Peter Pan’s (J.M Barrie, 1904) instructions are to “think happy thoughts” and you can fly! “Just think of happy things and your heart will fly on wings…”

There are plenty more examples of the benefits of positive thinking to be found. We think that adopting the American Hat Company’s mantra – (+X), Positive Times – can not only improve individual lives, but also make the world a better place. Let’s make Positive Times in 2022!

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