“I ignore distractions and pursue my goals..” (click to hear it now)
This article originally appeared on this blog in October 2007.
There are two destructive myths circulating around positive thinking today. Unfortunately, these myths are making it difficult for many people to buy into positive thinking as a tool and reap its benefits in their lives.
The first myth is the Kiss the Frog and it Becomes a Prince myth. Fueled by the popularity of a few books, this myth tells people that all they have to do is think happy thoughts and everything they want will manifest in their lives.
People know, instinctively, that this is not true. It leads many people to label all positive thinking as chicanery.
The second, and I find pervasive, myth is that somehow thinking negatively is more “realistic” than thinking positively. I don’t know where this idea comes from, but I wish I’d been there to stamp out the first few sparks before it became the mental forest fire it is today.
This myth claims that the world is an aweful place and thinking positively is unrealistic delusion bound to create heartache. For people who believe that, I have no doubt it is true.
The world is what it is. Thinking positively or negatively about the world does not change the world. It does, however, have a profound effect on a person’s experience of the world.
Positive thinking is not about changing the world it is about transforming ourselves into more capable, caring, compassionate, productive, and successful people. It is about becoming people better able to cope, adapt, and deal with life’s ups and downs. It grants us no immunity from trial or tribulation. Simply put, positive thinking gives us a fighting chance in a world that wants to tell us, “It can’t be done.”
There is a very real price to be paid when we think negatively. Our actions follow our thoughts and when our thoughts lack confidence, conviction, or positivity our interactions with the world will mirror that reality back to us.
All balance is lost and the problem magnified when someone follows this pattern over and over in his or her life. By projecting negative expectations onto the world and getting negative results repeatedly over years, the person’s experience of the world is all negative. The tendency is to think that negativity began “out there” and to react against it.
These people become known as unhappy, miserable, malcontented, criminals, or even terrorists. They believe their unhappiness comes from outside of themselves and so they create negative acts and spread negative energy in the world.
I suppose the debate over the significance of positive thinking will rage on regardless of what I say here. However, there is one truism and there is no escaping it.
Positive thinking is not a cure for all ills, but choosing to think positively will yield better and more consistent results in life than thinking negatively.
Thoughts are free, but the consequences cost. I can’t see any benefit to thinking negatively, though we all do it at times.
My conviction is that we can see the glass as half full without compromising reality.
May you have a peaceful and prosperous Wednesday!