GOT PMA(?): How To Manifest A Positive Mental Attitude With Little Victories

Greetings friends!

Do you have PMA?  …All the time?  …No matter what?  …Really?  If you answered “No!” to any of these, please read on.

PMA simply stands for Positive Mental Attitude.  Maybe you think of it as an abundant mindset or as a level of enthusiasm.   One might even go deeper and credit PMA with higher levels of personal achievement.  Some might not think of it at all.  As for me, I personally like to think of PMA as a tool for fixing anything that sucks!

Seriously, though, I’m fortunate to be naturally optimistic.  It’s very easy for me to have PMA and see the silver lining in anything.  But the fact is that manifesting PMA is toughest in moments where we are stressed, anxious, or experiencing fear.  Who doesn’t experience some of these, or all of these, to some degree each and every day?  Consequently, if we’re continually negative we risk being kept from achieving our weight loss and wellness goals, or improving our relationships, or we may not feel great about life in general.

If you’ve read about PMA before, others might encourage you to find it by doing the following:

1. Slow down
2. Help others
3. Live for self

These concepts make sense, I guess; but what do they really mean?  Can you apply them now – this minute?  Let me give you another step to add to the list:


I first learned about PMA in 1996.  I was a young Marine enrolled in a “life in captivity” course called SERE: Survival, Evasion, Resistance, & Escape — which basically taught us how to survive as POWs (prisoners of war).

I’ll never forget that training, but one lesson that really stuck with me was how the instructors talked about PMA.  Their message: PMA is necessary to survive the most extreme conditions you can imagine.  Said another way: PMA will save your life!

They demonstrated this lesson with stories of the American POW’s that survived Hoa Lo Prison in North Vietnam during the war.  Sarcastically referred to as the Hanoi Hilton, Hoa Lo was commonly translated as “fiery furnace” or even “Hell’s hole.”  It was located far behind enemy lines.  Air Force and Navy pilots that had been shot down were taken there.  They were beaten, starved, isolated, indoctrinated, interrogated, and basically tortured physically and mentally day in and day out.  Most of these brave Americans were held in the Hanoi Hilton for many years.  John McCain himself was there for five years.

These men showed amazing resilience to survive by staying positive and finding little victories against their captors.  For example, they were able to maintain their military discipline despite their guard’s daily attempts (beatings) to fracture their camaraderie (Little Victory!)  They smiled like it was Christmas Day during propaganda pictures while flipping the bird to the camera (Little Victory!)  Another guy was filmed playing a game of billiards for the American Press before being isolated and beaten.  Later in the day when making announcements over the intercom to the other POW’s he said “…today, I played pocket pool!” (Little Victory!)

Their stories of PMA and little victories went on and on.  I wish I had known this lessons when battling childhood obesity as a kid and young adult.  Do you see how little victories can manifest PMA?  Can you look at your situation relative to others (like the men in the Hilton) and feel blessed, thankful, and positive?  Couldn’t you find a way to achieve a little victory when you don’t want to do something – like make good food choices or exercise your body?  Why not find little victories to improve all aspects of your life?

Remember: life happens in 24-hour chunks.  Yesterday is gone.  Tomorrow doesn’t exist yet.  Today is now.  Find little victories; change what you focus on; say things in a positive way; locate humor.  Find your PMA now and discover an easier way to accomplish the goals you’ve set for yourself.  Like Charlie Sheen says: “Winning!  (duh).”

Tell me one of your little victories.  Leave a comment or send me an email.

Until next time,


Leave a Reply