Positive thinking is wonderful. Many are the paeans sung to it. It promotes health and upward mobility. It’s self-fulfilling — or so positive thinkers think; they wouldn’t be positive thinkers otherwise. If you think you’ll succeed, you’re likely to.

Negative thinking, too, can be self-fulfilling. To launch an enterprise in the uneasy spirit suggested by a U.S. Bureau of Labor finding that 70% of start-up businesses fail within a decade is to court failure within a decade, if not sooner.

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