June 17, 2011

The problem with "Just Think Positive!"

These days, I spend my time promoting positive thinking. 

But, there's an important distinction between my work and the modern psycho-babble movement that tells people "Just Think Positive", "Fake It Till You Make It" or "Snap Out Of It!".  In each case, when we give this prescription, we ask for the impossible. 

It's like telling someone who's fighting obesity to "just think thin".  They would tell you that it's not that easy.  Same goes with people and their thinking patterns.  Positive thinking (confidence, optimism or the absence of negative thought) are all OUTCOMES of lifestyle design or circumstance. 

Circumstance is when good things happen to you, and your thoughts get sunny.  Those come and go, and this explains why some people are up and down, depending on the direction of their times.  In my work, I offer lifestyle design tips that will produce positive thinking, confidence and happiness - independent of external circumstances. They are outlined in full in Today We Are Rich: Harnessing The Power Of Total Confidence and the first four include:

1 - Feed Your Mind Good Stuff (free 34 page mini ebook)

2- Move The Conversation Forward (talk like you want to think) 

3 - Exercise Your Gratitude Muscle 

4 - Give To Be Rich 

In each case, you need to invest time and energy and in some cases, change your life patterns.  I won't kid you, it's hard work to think positive, even when circumstances are not favorable.  But it's essential if you want to be consistently happy, helpful or effective.  I invest about as much time on positive thinking daily as most people do in physical fitness or beauty.  And it's worth it! 

Posted at 10:17 AM in Abundance , Business Effectiveness  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)



awesome articles.


Another component is that people need to take steps to get themselves into a better place in their lives, whether that means getting out of a bad relationship, quitting a life-sucking job or seeing a therapist. Once you're out of the rut you've been stuck in, it's so much easier to start to think positive, because things ARE positive in your life.


This a great post. A "just do this..." kind of message for a broad fix doesn't accurately portray the time, steps, and work required. It's like shouting "move your arms and legs faster!" to a swimmer during a race.


Love that Mark, "if you feel like crap, shut your trap!"

PS - your point about authenticity is also very important.


Oh, Tim, you mentioned my all-time pet peeve phrase: "Fake it 'til you make it." The problem with that philosophy is...you're FAKING it! I.e., not being genuine, authentic, or even likable.

People have an innate baloney detector. Faking happiness (or faking a smile) is like a limp handshake. It leaves the recipient feeling icky for at least 45 minutes.

Love the ideas in your book! Heck, instead of faking it, maybe when people don't feel positive, they should sneak away and read a chapter or two.

While I'm no fan of "Fake it 'til you make it," I AM in favor of "If you feel like crap, shut your trap." Negativity is contagious, and like most contagious diseases, it is spread by the mouth.

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