Why Positive Thinking Doesn’t Work, And What Does
The word “Positive Thinking” sounds good but does it even work?
Positive thinking is defined as expecting positive results and focusing on the bright side of life.
But if positive thinking is one of the keys to success, why do many people can’t get it to work?
Life sometimes is not as simple as we want it to be.
And if we could understand the missing piece of positive thinking, we can use positive thinking to its fullest.
Underneath the Positive Thinking
So it goes like this.
You hear that “positive thinking = events going our way” and then resonate with it.
Then something negative happens and you push away negative feelings to think positive love and light.
But the negativity doesn’t go away and you are bum about positive thinking.
Or cling to the LOA’s positive thoughts attract positive conditions wholeheartedly.
Recently there was a study which suggests that negative thinking can be good for you.
So now we have two contradictory statements that seemingly works.
Which camps actually work – positive thinking or negative thinking?
Well, what is considered positive and negative?
You can’t simply have positive thinking while standing in front of a mirror repeating affirmations and feeding positive thoughts.
Affirmations doesn’t work if your subconscious mind don’t believe you.
This kind of positive thinking isn’t positive thinking.
It is lying to yourself. And your subconscious knows it.
And when the first obstacle hits, our whole facade fades away.
Why Positive Thinking is Hard for Many
Our mind is heavily influenced by the outside world.
No matter how positive we think we are, something is going to ruin it.
As human beings, we chase pleasure and avoid pain.
Pleasure and pain are all outside of us that can change in an instant.
And as long as we seek pleasure, we will have pain.
That pain will influence our positive thinking and force us to think differently.
Things outside of us which we have no control over and, yet, it affects us deeply.
A family member’s death, losing our fortune, relationship failure, old age, and sickness all despite thinking positively to our circumstances.
How is it that we continue to suffer despite applying positive thinking?
Reality is that life is suffering. Suffering exist.
But we can suffer less by thinking positively.
Positive thinking doesn’t mean to expect good things, it means to think conductive and productive to your well-being.
This is why negative thinking can help because it is conductive to your survival.
Negative thinking, on the other hand, doesn’t help your well-being – it is thinking in a pattern that makes things worse.
It’s not about removing suffering or negativity from existence, it is about having more positive conditions than we do with negative conditions.
Even with those setbacks, we can overcome them and still reap the benefits of positive thinking.
Where is the True Positive Thinking?
You can only have positive thinking if you can back it up!
By being good at what you do and feel great in who you are.
There are 3 types of positive thinking:
- positive thinking applied to self
- positive thinking applied to circumstance
- and positive thinking applied to reality
When positive thinking is applied to self, that is called self-confidence.
It is the feeling that you are comfortable with who you are.
Generally, it comes from what we think we are.
If you think you are great, then you will have general positive thinking.
However, society expectations and family upbringing will influence your self-confidence.
So you must be independent from what other people think and give more worth into what you think.
And if you have something you don’t like about yourself, you own it and accept it instead of hiding and running away.
Things you can’t change, you accept. Things you can change, you improve.
But all our shortcomings we must first acknowledge them.
Now positive thinking applied to circumstance is what you feel in relation to what you are doing.
Not everyone is confident in everything, there are some things we are less confident in.
I might be good in piano but I know I’m terrible in basketball.
So I won’t have the same confidence I do with basketball than I do with piano.
This kind of positive thinking must come from competence – being good at what you do.
So practice until you are good enough.
And preparing for all the uncertainties in your task at hand.
By knowing your skills and being prepared, you’ll eliminate most of your negative thinking which comes from uncertainty.
When you are thinking negatively, it’s usually because you don’t know what to do or it failed miserably in the past.
Lastly, positive thinking applied to reality is being independent of the outcome.
You can have self-confidence, competence, and being prepared but it doesn’t guarantee you success.
Because most likely you will deal with reality…and reality always changes.
There are always factors in which you have little or no control.
Every time I failed, it was a matter of time before my self-confidence was shattered and replaced by doubt and fear.
And I would avoid getting up because I thought to myself, “Why would it work if it hasn’t work in the past?”
I realized that even though I have self-confidence and I was prepared, I haven’t found a way to sustain positive thinking.
How to Sustain Positive Thinking
Reality is that we go through life with disappointments.
It’s not practical to think that our life will always be magically swell until our death.
And I have found that we can’t have positive thinking unless we dramatically lessen our negative thinking.
In other words, we need to have positive thinking in the face of disappointments.
If we can become independent of life’s disappointments, we eliminate the biggest enemy of self-confidence and competence.
Don’t be afraid of making mistakes because it teaches us how to be successful.
The more mistakes you make, the more feedback you get to improve yourself.
Schools, parents, and friends influenced us that doing something wrong means something bad.
But nothing we do is a life or death situation even though it feels like it.
Everything we do is a speck of dust compared to the movements of the Universe.
So feel free to make mistakes so that you can learn and grow to become better.
And the key element in doing that is the ability to quickly move on from things that don’t work out, to be independent from disappointments.
After all, we all have ups and downs. It is a part of life.
We always have a choice in where we want to go.
As they say, one door closes and another door opens.
What to Do Instead
Learning to acknowledge reality is the first step to true positive thinking.
I know, it might sting a little. For some, it might be a lot.
But the only way to guard our self-confidence and belief of skill is to see our circumstance as it truly is whether we like it or not.
Only then can we make a choice to a positive future.
I would not have the confidence and persistence if it weren’t for my mistakes.
And because of it, I was able to have positive thinking despite the challenges before me.
So don’t use positive thinking as a end all of your problems.
See the reality of the situation. Then choose how you want to live your life.