By Steve Young

Despite all the glorious possibilities we began 2010 with, it's hard to quibble with those who see this past year as an utter disappointment. From BP CEO Tony Hayward's empathetic appreciation for the Gulf Coast oil spill's devastating effect on an untold number of lives and livelihoods ("I would like my life back") to legendary Washington correspondent Helen Thomas' empathetic appreciation for the Jewish people's history of persecution ("They should go home, to Poland, Germany, and America and everywhere else") there was no shortage of discouraging moments.

Still, a heaping helping of disappointment from this past year can yield a recipe for real possibilities in 2011. All it takes is a pinch of optimism, a pound of imagination, and a truck load of intense therapy.

2010 failure: Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell said in a commercial, "I'm not a witch. I'm you." It's still not clear whether the electorate voted against witchcraft or themselves.

2011 possibility: O'Donnell has opened the door for frequently disenfranchised warlocks, sorcerers, and wizards to find their rightful place in the American electoral process.

2010 disappointment: The Supreme Court decided that corporations should have the same voice as the common folk - except much louder.

2011 possibility: The Supreme Court decides that corporations should end up paying the same share of taxes as common folk.

2010 disappointment: Julian Assange's WikiLeaks revealed thousands of classified documents, causing embarrassment and concern by governments all over the world that may no longer get away with dishonesty and corruption.

2011 possibility: Assange begins hacking in and about Philadelphia and Harrisburg.

2010 disappointment: Jersey Shore, Miami Beach.

2011 possibility: Jersey Shore, Tehran.

2010 disappointment: Lower Merion school officials used school-supplied laptops to secretly spy on students.

2011 possibility: Lower Merion parents provide students with laptops so they can secretly spy on schools.

2010 disappointment: Offshore drilling was suspended temporarily after five million gallons of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico. Fox News host Glenn Beck questioned the drilling hiatus, saying, "If a house burned down, would we stop building houses?"

2011 possibility: The construction industry announces that it had quit building houses in 2010 due to concerns that they might burn down, but Beck's reasoning has revealed the absurdity of that position. Houses start going up again, and the real estate market comes roaring back.

Steve Young is the author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful ... Mistakes, Adversity, Failure and other Stepping Stones to Success." For more information, see www.greatfailure.com.