Monday, August 8, 2011

Go Poop On Someone Else's Party! :)

Yesterday a friend on facebook posted a link to this blog post - http://www.fastcompany.com/1768515/how-positive-thinking-and-vision-boards-set-you-up-to-fail. I read it because I am a big believer in positive thinking and I wanted to hear what they had to say against it. I need to mention that the link now seems to take you to an abbreviated version of what I read yesterday.  Much is left out in this version, which takes away from the initial effect it had on me.


While I would have to agree with what they say when taken literally, that positive thinking alone, will not get you closer to your goals, I take great issue with the overall tone of the post. Positive thinking (or visualizing success or whatever you choose to call it) is a tool, and a great one.  Can we please not throw the baby out with the bathwater? In all the reading I've done on the subject I don't think I've ever heard anyone claim that merely wishing for things will magically make them happen. If there are people out there doing that, then they may very well be missing the point.


And I believe that the author of that blog post has missed the point as well if that's what they think of positive thinking and it's place in reaching goals. They state that "Negative" thinking, on the other hand, has gotten a bad rap. This is mostly because the people who advocate "positive" thinking lump all the "negative" thoughts together in one big unpleasant pile, not realizing that some kinds of negative thoughts are actually necessary and motivating. There is a big difference between "I am a loser and can't do this" (a bad, self-defeating negative thought), and "This won't be easy, and I'm going to have to work hard" (a very good negative thought that actually predicts greater success)."


My thoughts are , since when is acknowledging that something will be a challenge the same as a negative thought? That makes zero sense to me. That's in effect saying that challenges are negative things. NO No no......challenges are the very things that provide us with the most personal growth. They are good and necessary, not negative! So to my way of thinking (screwy as it may be), the author just contradicted himself. Am I that far off base in not viewing a challenge as a BAD thing to be dealt with? That's like saying that life is basically a negative thing cause let's face it folks, life is one challenge after another! If I went around looking at life like that (and for way too long I did) I would feel no hope in ever living the life I want. 


Reading that post (the full one) had the immediate effect of causing me to feel despair. That may not have been the intent and I acknowledge that I am fully responsible for feeling that way (I was tired?). The good news is that after a few minutes of self pity I got over it. Once upon a time I would not have been able to pull myself out of that feeling so easily. The doubts would have taken me over to the point that I would have been immobilized. That was before I found out what a useful tool positive thinking is. Now I know that getting stuck in negative feelings is a sure way to keep me from doing what needs to be done. I am waaaaay more productive when I am feeling positive about life and my place in the world. 


I am a regular reader of the Tiny Buddha blog. From today- http://tinybuddha.com/quotes/tiny-wisdom-on-choosing-for-yourself/. The quote this post is based on is "Believe nothing no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and common sense.” ~Buddha. Boy do I ever love this quote! And down in the comments someone writes "When experience contradicts what's written, follow experience. To me this is authentic living". That does it for me even more. 


I have personally experienced the benefits of positive thinking in my life. I'm sticking with experience! And for the record, I use more than just one tool in my approach to reaching life goals. I'm really into using thankfulness as a way to open myself to all the good that is available. I'm also using the daily morning pages concept as taught in "The Artists Way" by Julia Cameron. And then there's this little thing called being flexible. That may very well be the single best thing in my arsenal. When I lose the tunnel vision and allow for possibilities that had not even occurred to me before, the most amazing things happen.  :)


I am overall a picker and a chooser. I am a cafeteria style spiritualist. I do not believe there is any ONE right way. I do not follow any one faith or program. Through trial and error I figure out what works for me. And I in no way assume that it will work for anyone else. While I am happy to share my thoughts, I understand completely that the listener may either not be in a place to hear what I'm saying or may simply not be interested because they have something else that works better for them. And that is a beautiful thing. That we can all be free to express ourselves as different facets of the universe. 


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