Why Real Achievers Don’t Practice Positive Thinking.

Charcter is talking positive but does this change things?

Positive thinking is what this character likes to doAre you trying to change your life by thinking positive?

If you are you could be in for a big downer. In a post on his website the very successful entrepreneur Michael Masterson cites a new book by Julie Norem entitled “The Power of  Negative Thinking”. He comments that his long held belief about the in-effectiveness of positive thinking is yet again confirmed. “My belief that, though positive thinking may work for people who already have an optimistic way of looking at their abilities, it doesn’t work for people who are pessimists”.

The book has a reference to a study that was done where researchers divided their subjects (all identified as pessimists) into two groups. They told one group that, based on their past performance, they were going to do well on a standardized test they were about to be given. All these subjects indicated on a pretest survey that they did, indeed, feel optimistic about their results. The second group was not given any encouragement. The results? The first group, the temporarily optimistic pessimists, actually performed worse on the test.

I agree with Mr. Masterson.

For the past thirty years I have been telling anyone who would listen that the practice of positive thinking is a bit of a ball and chain. One shackle that already optimistic and successful people refuse to wear. Here’s the danger. If you get yourself on a big high about something that hasn’t happened yet you could be setting yourself up for serious disappointment.  Creating a mindset bolstered only by the practice of positive thinking is like a high rise built on quicksand. It’s unauthentic and downright deadly to your success in the long term.

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Belief Thief

I got to thinking about the mindset of all these people, many of whom are ordinary career employees, who are struggling to make sense out of the economic rubble around them. Seems like every time I look into one of those on-line forums the complaints pour out like a torrent out of a ruptured dam.

I hear a lot of them center their complaints around the lack of belief they now have in themselves because of the bind they find themselves in. They seem to feel that, as economic downturn victimitis sets in, their sense of control over their family’s future is weakening. They sound rather helpless like they’re all on the verge of falling into the chasm of despair and hopelessness.

Closeup of young and old men's eyeballs

A good example of this was an interview on TV one night with a news reporter and some autoworkers from Oshawa Ontario. This particular family had two generations who had followed the heard and went to work at the same GM plant every day collectively for several decades. One was a retired worker and the other was his son. Both looked like deer caught in the headlights of the new reality.

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