Positive thinking is for losers
Since Norman Vincent Peale's book "The Power of Positive Thinking" was first published in the 1950s, belief in the clout of excessive optimism has almost become a modern religion. If only people can believe in themselves, their abilities and how great their future is going to be, everything will work out just fine, the argument goes. It's how you "perceive" life and how hopeful you are that supposedly defines your success.
It's time somebody exploded the wilder of these myths.
Here are some examples of some dangerous positive thoughts that are probably very common:
- "Sure other people have had problems with drugs, but I'm stronger than them. I'm sure I can take this for fun and be just fine afterwards."
- "It's not necessary for me to put too much effort into my studies. I'm already a special and brilliant person, so it's a waste of time to work too hard."
- "There's no problem with me putting this holiday on my credit card. I'll just work harder and save harder next month to pay it off."
- "The road rules don't apply to me like they do other drivers. I'm an excellent driver, so nothing could possibly go wrong."
I'm sure with a bit of thought you can come up with some examples of your own. Once you come to terms with the seemingly heretical fact that excessive optimism can be dangerous, you can draw a mental picture of the damage that the cult of positive thinking is doing to society.
It's what you do that defines you and creates success. How optimistic you are is virtually irrelevant.
In fact, it can be negative. Someone who believes their abilities are sub-par will put in much more effort than someone who thinks they're a genius who doesn't need to work.
Research has proven this fact, with American secondary students performing poorly in international comparisons, despite having the strongest self-belief. Asian students, who had a much lower belief in their own abilities, actually performed better.
Having good information and knowledge about the world is what powers the best decisions. This is true in business, love, art and all other aspects of life. The belief that we can achieve better results by lying to ourselves about our own excellence and the certainty that everything will work out goes against this golden principle.
Take a realistic view of your own ability and prospects. Then work to improve them.
This is a much better principle than that the power of self-belief can cure all ills.
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