There was an advertisement in a leading newspaper about how to make money.

Readers were asked to send $10.00 to learn exactly how to make more money. A lot of readers responded to the advertisement. The reply came promptly though the mail in about seven days: “This is how you should make money….”

 

Positive thinking

I am absolutely sure that this type of blind, positive thinking was not what Norman Vincent Peale meant when he wrote his landmark bestseller, “The Power of Positive Thinking.”

 

 

Why Should we Learn about Positive and Negative Thinking?

We are what we emotionally feel most of the time. It is through the thinking process that we feel. Whether or not you are positive or negative will create a dramatic difference in life. If you are a blind positive thinker, you could lose big time in life, especially in business. If you are a chronic negative thinker you might not reach anywhere in life, either. Do you think it is important for you to see where do you stand?

 

# 1 Is it Positive Thinking or Stupidity?

A lot of people still believe that positive thinking or having a positive attitude is the solution to any professional or business-related problems. Blind positive thinking, in my opinion, is a perfect recipe for failure, both in life and or business. It is as if you are saying, “There are no weeds in my garden,” again and again, ignoring the fact that there are indeed weeds that you need to kill.

 

# 2 I am Not a Positive Thinker; I am a Realist

 

“But I am not a positive thinker. I am an intelligent person. I am a realist.” This is what some of my seminar attendees tell me. I understand you are intelligent, but let me ask you a question: How often do you challenge yourself? How often do you ask yourself, “What else am I capable of doing? Is this my true potential?” Most people would say no. You want to know why? Because negative thinkers are too scared to even dream. “What if I fail again?” they think. “Isn’t it better to keep my expectations really low so I can predict a mediocre outcome… most of the time?”

 

Positive thinking attitude

In the garden example, a negative thinker would say, “Oh! My God! How could this happen? My garden is all weeds! Why does this happen to me? How could God do this to me?” As you can see, they amplify their problems and focus their energy into it. Thus, realistic thinking is limited thinking that prevents you from finding your true power, let alone full potential.

You must be wondering, “If both of these attitudes are wrong, is there a third alternative?”

 

# 3 Strategic Optimism

 

Time and again, it has been proven through studies on the topic that optimists enjoy more income and joy than pessimists experience. According to Tali Sharot, a cognitive neurologist who extensively studies optimism, we are wired to look on the bright side.

Strategic Optimism is a term that I use for the ability to think negatively in the short term, but be optimistic about the long term. You know this already. One oversimplified statement would be “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.” Why is it so important to think negatively in the short term? Let us ask Bill Gates, the richest man in the world. As per Bill: “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.”

 

Below are a few strategies for those “cockeyed optimists” or more extreme realists. Which are you? How does your personality fit into this discussion? Is your perspective a healthy one, or can it benefit from a little moderation?

 

A) For Positive Thinkers Only: What does that mean to me, personally? It means that you and I have a tendency to be overly positive about the near future. If you are an uber positive thinker, you generally agree with every idea and everyone you meet. Stop for a second and question this perspective. Practice disagreeing, at least in your mind. See if something makes sense before being overly positive and moving on.

 

Think positive

B) For Realists Only: What does this mean to me, personally, as a realist? It means that you and I have this tendency to be overly negative about the long term. Most people in this category tend to argue with ideas and disagree with people. If you are a realist, stop for a second and agree with some unintelligent, positive thinker (you can start with me!). Try some new ideas and be willing to jump in and try something new a few times. Be ok with failing… if you do. Continue to be negative about the short term, but change your perspective about your long term strategies.

 

Positive thinking attitude pic

 

To both of my positive-thinking and realist-thinking friends, please use strategic optimism to keep a healthy balance. Try this simple idea for a few days and let me know how it worked for you. I am all ears!