I do understand the backlash against positive thinking. From a certain perspective, positive thinking looks like insincere tripe. And to the extent that you are trying to make yourself think or feel something that is NOT TRUE, it is tripe. However…
When we “realistically” look at how bad everything is, what is the effect? I notice that when I am in a lousy state of mind, fully in touch with everything that’s bad and wrong, I tend to be tremendously unproductive. My focus shifts from doing what I have to do, to doing what I can to change how I feel, and my strategies for doing so aren’t all that great. They include watching TV, surfing YouTube, playing solitaire, and overeating.
At the same time that realism is being touted, there is a corresponding bias against happiness and contentment. This arises as a result of the belief that if we were happy and content with things now, we wouldn’t want to change anything. Many people believe that happiness and contentment actually suck the life out of dreams and aspirations. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
Happiness and contentment are productive states. I’ve noticed that when I’m happy and content I get things done and when I’m getting things done I’m happy and content. Sure, it’s possible that you are different. So I suggest you monitor your results. And to the extent that dissatisfaction and unhappiness sap your powers, revisit the positive thinking approach using the power of questions.
Instead of asking yourself and proving everything that’s wrong, ask yourself what’s right. This is not about convincing yourself of something you don’t believe. That is an approach that makes positive thinking seem false and insincere. Instead, ask what is actually right in your world? Play with it. Make a list. And just check out the extent to which your state impacts your productivity and effectiveness.
In my next blog post, I’ll talk about how much we follow courses that are already designed for us, and where we need to create them.