Thursday, August 9, 2012

Negative Thinking Gaining Respect

Thanks to BLW for pointing me to this NY Times article titled The Power of Negative Thinking. No, it's not my post, just shares the same name.

Of course, the NY Times piece goes into more scientific evidence, but again, this is a personal blog and my own personal experience. I'll admit, though, it's nice to finally have some validation after being bombarded with the positive thinking mantra.

I'll say it again: if positive thinking is working for you, that's great. Enjoy.

What bugs me is this mindset that if positive thinking isn't working for you, then there's something wrong with you. I don't agree.

It reminds me of what we have heard from Olympic medalists and reality show contestants: that all your dreams can come true if you just want it bad enough. I'm sure there are many sitting at home who didn't make the cut who believe that they wanted it just as much as those who won the awards.

I have actually done that walk across the hot coals in a Tony Robbins seminar (and in San Jose, of all places) . And, no, I didn't pay for it; my boss at the time did. I made it about 3/4 of the way through before I felt them. And, yes, I thought it was my own mindset that made it burn. And so did many of the participants. I'm embarrassed to even write that now.

When things get rough, some people like to say, "well, at least things can't get any worse." "Oh, no," I say. "Things can always get worse."

For me, that attitude helps me to appreciate what I have now. Because even though my cat died and some aspects of my life aren't going exactly the way I want them to, some other things haven't fallen apart yet. The girls and I are having a fantastic time doing the musical together, I still enjoy the company and support of my colleagues, and every good laugh makes for a better day.

Whenever I need a little perspective, imagining how much worse it could be is what gets me through. That, and the knowledge that nothing lasts.

So if you find yourself feeling worse after your best efforts to think positively, you might want to try negative thinking on for size. And hey, if it doesn't work for you, then at least you weren't expecting much in the first place! 


Missy June said...

When I'm anxious or fearful, I often imagine the worst possible case scenario...then can be grateful I'm net there (yet, at least). It gives perspective to the present and helps be thankful for the positives in my life, even if they live in parallel to some negatives. Ying and Yang, I think?

Craig said...

I agree with you 100%. In fact, I've written a book that covers this very subject. It's called "Half a Glass: The Realist's Guide". I got tired of people being so negative about negative thinking! If you would like, you can sign up for free and get pdf's of the book or email me directly and I'll mail a copy to you. There really is no catch, no follow up scams. Just a free book on how negative thinking can be useful.

Craig said...

A url would have helped!