The Power of Negative Thinking

In this New York Times article The Power of Negative Thinking Oliver Burkenham describes how Motivational speaker Tony Robbins encouraged people to walk over hot coals. Robbins told people that the trick is to have a positive mindset but people were not positive enough and so suffered burns. The real trick is to walk quickly and lightly.
power of negative thinking‘What if all this positivity is part of the problem?’ asks Oliver Burkenman. ‘What if we’re trying too hard to think positive and might do better to reconsider our relationship to “negative” emotions and situations?’

Positive visualisation is another popular technique by positive thinkers. Yet recent research by Gabriele Oettingen has shown that it can make you less likely to achieve. Fantasising about you goal actually can deplete peoples get up and go.

‘Or take affirmations, those cheery slogans intended to lift the user’s mood by repeating them: “I am a lovable person!” “My life is filled with joy!” Psychologists at the University of Waterloo concluded that such statements make people with low self-esteem feel worse.’

Burkenham even points out some reservations about fixating too much on goal setting as this can lead to cutting corners just to meet the specific goals set.

‘The Stoics recommended… deliberately visualizing the worst-case scenario.’ Burkenham explains, ‘This tends to reduce anxiety about the future: when you soberly picture how badly things could go in reality, you usually conclude that you could cope.’

Please follow this link to read the original article and let me know what you think.

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July 11, 2013Permalink Leave a comment

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