Riding down Fifth Avenue last week (well, one doesn’t really “ride” down Fifth Avenue these days, it’s more like crawling with fits and starts – mainly “fits,” whatever they are – thanks to the endless construction/destruction of NYC streets, but never mind), I saw a great looking guy crossing the street wearing a sort of fedora and dressed in a lightweight “Bogie-in-Casablanca” trench coat. I could almost hear “As Time Goes By” playing over the sounds of horns honking and the siren of an ambulance.

“Wow,” I said out loud and craned my neck to see him as the light changed and my cab lurched forward.

Here’s the thing: It actually wasn’t only what he was wearing; it was the way he was wearing it. And I don’t mean just the slant of his hat or the turned up collar of his coat, I mean his attitude. Besides the fact that he “walked tall” (his posture was straight, his shoulders were squared, his chin was up), he had a slight smile on his face. Not a grin, just a nice, warm expression – as if he were remembering something pleasant – or anticipating something really good. He walked briskly but not fast. It seemed like he knew where he was going but didn’t want to miss anything interesting on the way. There was an aura of energy and optimism about him – from his hat on down. He was unforgettable.

A couple of days later, same avenue, same traffic jam, same cross walk, I noticed a good looking, fit woman, dressed in jogging shorts with great legs, a bright orange top and a snappy purple baseball cap, walking – also briskly – across the street. She looked terrific.

But that’s where the similarity to the “Bogie guy” ended. Her shoulders were hunched, her head was tilted down and there was a look on her face that combined worry with distaste. Kind of like she had just bitten into something really unpleasant – or was about to.

“Hmmmmm, I said (out loud as usual), “I do’t think she’s gonna have a good day.” “Probably not,” grunted the cabbie.

It’s true: Whether we know it or not, we all exude a certain “aura;” an “attitude” that creates positive – or negative – energy in the air around us. And people feel it. Oh, they don’t bother to analyze it the way I did, but they feel it. And they react to it…in subtle ways. They might move towards you in a room, on a bus, in a meeting – wherever. Or away from you. They might be eager to hear what you have to say – or simply listen politely…and tune out.

We like to hang out with “winners.” I don’t mean moguls of industry, World Series champions or rock stars (although they’re nice, too…), I mean “regular” people whose “spirit” is upbeat, who don’t take themselves too terribly seriously – who can shrug when things don’t go their way and move on…with optimism. We’re more likely to date them, to hire them, even to trust them. Confident, positive people usually don’t take advantage of others; in fact they’re more likely to be supportive – even when nobody else is.

So this week, let’s try on a new “this is gonna be good” attitude (or re-ignite our old one…). This week let’s walk across that street, down that hall, into that restaurant…or just out that door with our own special brand of √©lan… and expect that the world will react the way I did when I saw the “Bogie Guy,” and say out loud…”Wow!”

And what about trying on a new hat while we’re at it? Or even an old one? Hey, it’s summer – hats are big! Get a little crazy. Let ‘er rip…

Here’s looking at you kid…

Take a listen to Billie Holiday singing “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.”

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