What if "Positive Thinking" is completely wrong?

51 replies
I recently watched a webinar that offered an idea that was very simple and yet quite profound. I'd be interested to see what your thoughts are on this.

What if "Positive Thinking" was completely wrong or completely unnecessary? I don't mean "thinking positive", I mean, "positive thinking". What's the difference?

Positive thinking is something that people "try to do". We've all seen the extreme cases where someone is "positive" all the time. They talk positive, act positive (happy, happy, joy, joy) --- except it's really just a facade.

Think about it like this. What happens when you pour clean water into dirty water? Does the dirty water get clean or does the clean water get dirty?

If you think about it that way, the solution is really quite simple. You don't dump a bunch of positive thinking into a dirty brain. Instead, you have to get rid of the negative thinking,

What would that be like? You wouldn't have to "try to be positive". You would just be positive -- automatically. You would have a comfortable, confident, and content feeling -- a feeling of serenity (that feeling of knowing that everything is really okay).

That is a major shift from how most people think about personal development and positive thinking. They try to "do positive thinking". When you get rid of negative thinking, you don't have to try to think positive...you just are (it's more of a state of being than something that you do).

So, the point of personal development and positive thinking books is really about learning how to think once you've freed your mind from negativity (and some of them actually teach you how to get rid of the negativity as well).

What are your opinion? Agree? Disagree?
#completely #personal development #positive thinking #thinking positive #wrong
  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    If there is no negative thinking, how do you know what is positive and what is not? There always has to be some basis for comparison.
    But having more positive than negative is certainly a good thing.
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    • Quote :
      Think about it like this. What happens when you pour clean water into dirty water? Does the dirty water get clean or does the clean water get dirty?


      the answer to me is Both

      the Duality of man.

      right brain/left brain
      women/men
      good/evil
      up/down

      positive/negative

      mutually inclusive? yes
      both needed?? yes

      nothing to us is wrong without it's relation to what is right

      our understanding, perceptions, limits, and patterns are based on "what works"

      IMO

      Quote:

      That is a major shift from how most people think about personal development and positive thinking. They try to "do positive thinking"

      great point!
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  • Profile picture of the author markeeter
    I completely agree with you. The positive thinking that is being promoted now adays is nothing but a quick-fix. we're really kidding ourselves by forcing ourselves to be positive all the time.

    I am not saying that people should go into the valley of despair, all I am saying is that they should be practical and face the reality. They should try to cure the root of the problem instead of being positive and thinking that everything will be alright.

    They need to develop their character instead of just an attitude. If their values and character is strong, then they'll naturally be satisfied and they'll know how to deal with things instead of forcing themselves to be happy and positive,.
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    • Profile picture of the author anwar001
      Originally Posted by markeeter View Post

      I completely agree with you. The positive thinking that is being promoted now adays is nothing but a quick-fix. we're really kidding ourselves by forcing ourselves to be positive all the time.

      I am not saying that people should go into the valley of despair, all I am saying is that they should be practical and face the reality. They should try to cure the root of the problem instead of being positive and thinking that everything will be alright.

      They need to develop their character instead of just an attitude. If their values and character is strong, then they'll naturally be satisfied and they'll know how to deal with things instead of forcing themselves to be happy and positive,.
      Very nicely said.
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      • postives help

        Date:
        December 4, 2014
        Source:
        Springer Science+Business Media


        Summary:

        Researchers link late evenings to repetitive negative thoughts. When you go to bed, and how long you sleep at a time, might actually make it difficult for you to stop worrying. So say researchers, who found that people who sleep for shorter periods of time and go to bed very late at night are often overwhelmed with more negative thoughts than those who keep more regular sleeping hours.

        source : Don’t worry, be happy: Just go to bed earlier -- ScienceDaily
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        • Profile picture of the author UnkwnUsr
          Originally Posted by kirbymarketingconcierge View Post

          postives help

          Date:
          December 4, 2014
          Source:
          Springer Science+Business Media


          Summary:

          Researchers link late evenings to repetitive negative thoughts. When you go to bed, and how long you sleep at a time, might actually make it difficult for you to stop worrying. So say researchers, who found that people who sleep for shorter periods of time and go to bed very late at night are often overwhelmed with more negative thoughts than those who keep more regular sleeping hours.

          source : Don't worry, be happy: Just go to bed earlier -- ScienceDaily
          Interesting article maybe late nights are indicative of a restless mind. I know I often stay up late and sometimes worry about things I want to accomplish or things I should've accomplished but didn't because of procrastination. It is a hard habit to break.
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  • Profile picture of the author anwar001
    Just trying to be positive on the outside all the time is nothing but BS. You have to get rid of your inner fears and apprehensions if you really want to become positive, confident and fearless from deep down. That is what really matters. So you have to let the negative inside of you to surface so that you can take steps to get rid of them.
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    • Profile picture of the author rbarnhart1
      Great replies. Thanks for sharing your insights

      @laurencewins

      If there is no negative thinking, how do you know what is positive and what is not?
      Two quick distinctions. First, outside of us, there will always be negative for comparison. It's not like negative will just disappear once we "become" positive. Second, by eliminating the negative from within, we are operating from a clean space -- it's like the difference between clean fuel and dirty fuel in the gas tank. One works really well, the other not so much.

      @Kirby

      the answer to me is Both
      From a philosophical standpoint, I would probably agree with this. However, if you get a 5 gallon bucket and fill it half way with dirty water and then pour in a gallon of clean water -- I think you'll agree that the water would still be classified as dirty. In fact, if you stir it around really well, the difference in the before and after would likely be negligible.

      @markeeter

      They need to develop their character instead of just an attitude
      Absolutely. That's a great point. Behavior flows naturally from character, values, and beliefs.

      @anwar001

      Just trying to be positive on the outside all the time is nothing but BS
      Very true. I never really liked the phrase "fake it until you make it". I suppose there is some validity in the concept, because you do have to create the reality of it in your mindset and belief. But, when it's taken too far, people are just not being true to who they are.

      Thanks again for sharing. Hopefully a few more people will share their opinions as well.
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  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    Good post.

    Positive thinking as some sort of goal runs contrary to the LAW of attraction. If you wish to possess it, you have it all wrong.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ariah
    I recently saw a good grab from the movie Snowpiercer...

    Watch Your Thoughts, They Become your Words; Watch Your Words, They Become your Actions Watch your actions they become your habits, watch your habits they become your character, watch your character it becomes your destiny.

    I think it's more complicated than just thinking positive. The subconscious mind is a vast reservoir of cr*p

    When it comes down to it, if you really want to change your life, the crux is decisions. Make different decisions and all the negative thoughts in the world wont stop you from reaping the results of those decisions
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    • from RBarnhart:

      From a philosophical standpoint, I would probably agree with this. However, if you get a 5 gallon bucket and fill it half way with dirty water and then pour in a gallon of clean water -- I think you'll agree that the water would still be classified as dirty. In fact, if you stir it around really well, the difference in the before and after would likely be negligible.

      From a reality standpoint, it's drinkable water.

      you take a glass of water that's exactly half.

      it's half full, AND half empty - that is a Fact. that is reality.

      testable, verifiable, observable

      positive thinking isn't right OR wrong...it's both

      mutually inclusive, and not prone to human seperation, partition, and rationalization.

      Buddha was right, as "clouds that pass in the sky", philosophy is a cloud...like our human existence....just "passing though"

      sorry for the bad news. but meaning and purpose, positive and negative, is what we determine it is.

      It is contrived, artificial, and human invention ( based on metaphor's like a bucket of water) we place onto it

      that dosn't mean there is no value to life or being positive. just not an objective existence of something seperate from us.
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  • Profile picture of the author Odahh
    look .. this can easily go off the raile ..

    there is value in being in a state where you tend to think and feel more positive ,,

    but when positive thinking become naive recklessness yeah it is bad ..

    look took adult beverages a night can be part of a healthy lifestyle..3 or more and you have a problem

    positive thinking the keeps you in positive mental state fine..

    positive thinking that feels to notice and fix proplems .. and leads to a state of denial bad ..
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    • Profile picture of the author rbarnhart1
      Odahh said:

      positive thinking the keeps you in positive mental state fine..

      positive thinking that feels to notice and fix proplems .. and leads to a state of denial bad ..
      Yes, that's it exactly. And if you can remove the negative, you no longer have to "try" with being positive. We create a natural state of being that is automatically positive.

      kirby said:

      It is contrived, artificial, and human invention ( based on metaphor's like a bucket of water) we place onto it
      I kind of get what you mean, but at the same time, metaphors and analogies are great tools to provide understanding of complex ideas.

      I could have left out the analogy, but the comparison is so connected and provides instant understanding of what was meant. People are pouring in these positive affirmations and goals, and all things positive and wonder why it doesn't work. It doesn't work because it's just getting mixed up in all the junk that's in the brain (the negative).

      If you extract the negative, and then you pour in affirmations and goals and other positive things, there is now distinction and clarity for the brain to work with. Perhaps it is contrived, but for me it provides an interesting thought mechanism or distinction that has value.

      Kirby -- you've always got a great counter-point. It has given me lots to think about and at times it's been challenging. I value clarity and understanding, so hopefully we are coming closer together on that. Cheers.
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  • Profile picture of the author smoor2012
    My take on this is the fact that you address a negative situation with a positive attitude, knowing you can ultimately solve it. The negative does not derail you for long. You have confidence that you can solve it and keep going with your original plan, even if that takes longer than planned.

    A leader will listen to a problem, acknowledge it, find out how it can be solved, and do it.

    A positive, confident attitude doesn't mean you ignore or pretend that the negative is not there. That doesn't help anybody involved.

    A positive, confident individual can handle most any obstacle. A negative, insecure individual will let almost any obstacle beat them.

    I like to think this forum has more of the positive, confident people as members. Based on most of the comments in the threads I read, I think that is the case.

    This is why I like this forum. Our mindset is definitely what determines the core of our decisions on a daily basis.
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  • Profile picture of the author aresdiva
    I've read about something very similar except the person used a different analogy: when your computer is infected with a virus, the virus gets in the way of what you want to do with the computer until you get rid of the virus. In this case the computer is your brain, the virus is negative thoughts/beliefs in your subconscious, and the stuff you want to do on the computer is all the positive thinking/feeling tools at your disposal (like affirmations, visualization, etc).

    Which might be why many people who consume personal development material are getting small or sporadic results at best. The positive stuff you're uploading just joins the negative stuff already there, slowing down or halting any progress you try to make...unless maybe you do it long and often enough to somehow override the negativity eventually, but it seems a lot of people don't have the patience (or the stamina) for it.
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    • the reason for analogies, metaphors, and life is "like a box of choclate's"

      is

      because it's all "relative"???

      To be positive, you have to have negatives in your life.

      human limitation dictates it, no matter how high we value ourselves and the human

      species.

      sometimes we can have bad questions!

      for example :

      is it right or wrong? is Kirby the most incredible person alive today?

      @RBarnhart -

      you told me, rightly so, that "I'm all over the place"

      Questions :
      can you form an attachment (think Buddha's assertion - attachments create Suffering), on a metaphor?
      So much so, you believe it's more "real" than it really is?
      Then, WE, can push it harder onto others???
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  • Profile picture of the author socialentry
    It's not BS.

    The way it's explained here is sometimes bs but

    Legendary Cus Damatio used it on Mike Tyson constantly.
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    • Profile picture of the author rbarnhart1
      smoor2012 wrote:

      A positive, confident individual can handle most any obstacle. A negative, insecure individual will let almost any obstacle beat them.
      I agree. That is why negative, insecure people have poor results with positive thinking. They "try to do" positive thinking but they don't get the results that other people experience. Then they say it doesn't work, etc.

      aresdiva said:

      Which might be why many people who consume personal development material are getting small or sporadic results at best
      Yes, exactly

      kirby said:

      So much so, you believe it's more "real" than it really is?
      Then, WE, can push it harder onto others???
      That is an interesting possibility. Although, from my perspective, there doesn't seem to be much purpose in being attached to a metaphor or to push ideas.

      I have no desire to push anything on someone else. My intention is to share a useful concept and reach mutual agreement on what it is and how to use it.

      I enjoy sharing, but I value clarity. Hopefully I do not come across as pushing an idea. If I have, I apologize. I sincerely only want to share and come to understanding.

      I will only try to convince if you want to understand. If there is no desire to understand, then the conversation has no value. I only share information that I have found value in and that I believe can have value for others.

      Hopefully I have not overstepped that intention.
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      • nothing here is forcing me into something.

        @ Rbarnhart - your posts are good, your demeanor good.

        If you can put up with me (and endless debate with frustrating, circular arguments), you can handle anything!


        a continuum that we all walk??? and all paths are different
        (what is debate for 1 person, could be offensive to another)

        ----> communication - dialogue/debate - persuasion - force

        ----> biological - human language - marketing - politics/war/propaganda

        what if positive thinking isn't wrong, just our cultural "mode of thinking"

        we try to see things in black and white???

        definition of Mode
        mōd/Submit
        noun
        1.
        a way or manner in which something occurs or is experienced, expressed, or done.


        meditate on your "Inner Search Engine", is it all just 0's and 1's
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  • Profile picture of the author abundantlife085
    Here's my take on this. Trying to control your thoughts or judge your thoughts is not helpful. To get where you want to go, first - decide what you want, second - listen to your thoughts.. then if anything "negative" comes up (ie something that tells you why you CAN'T do what you want), that is simply an opportunity to:

    #1. Challenge that belief (Is this really true? How do I know it's absolutely true?)
    #2. Come up with a solution/workaround if it is a valid problem.

    "Negative" thinking is simply thinking of problems and then letting them make you feel bad and become unmotivated instead of finding solutions to keep moving forward. Turn that around by always finding a solution to whatever problem pops into your mind.

    No matter what you're trying to do, pretending it will be easy and everything will be perfect, and ignoring potential roadblocks isn't going to help you get past those roadblocks.
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  • Profile picture of the author fsiegel
    Banned
    I read through the thread and I agree with pretty much everyone. Positive thinking has recently been a getaway by many people.

    I also believe that people should have a balance between negative and positive thinking.
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  • Profile picture of the author rickdangelo
    I don't think it is completely wrong. It can be wrong but not totally. People will use and abuse it no matter what. Some will use it as an excuse or whatever. But whichever way, I still believe Positive thinking can still work, maybe not for you but for somebody else.
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  • Profile picture of the author jakeking
    I don't think its wrong but I cant say its right too. I guess as long as you dont use it as an excuse to make mistakes, its okay. and also a balance between positive and negative is good too.
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  • Profile picture of the author Vierka
    Yes, you need to abandon negative thinking first to think positively. For example by redirecting your mind and think of something that is better. If f someone said something horrible to you in an email or in a comment, you don't keep thinking of it all day but think of how many people you have helped doing your business, you think of your followers who like what you do. What you focus on expands.
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  • Profile picture of the author dndoseller
    Exactly, you have to stop feeding the negative thinking and let the momentum of it peter out and subside. It will still be there but you can't fight it - or you just add to it.

    If you verbally review your goals and affirmations morning, noon and night, and try to think of them as much as possible in between.... your thinking will definitely be more positive after 90 days. There is no doubt.
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  • Profile picture of the author beastwood
    Banned
    I don't find the need to stop the negativity, I think its more into moderating it. You have to have some negativity to be able to truly sense the positivity.
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  • Profile picture of the author RachelTravels
    Really interesting perspective!
    I would agree.. when you hear "positive thinking", it's something you're attempting to do.
    I struggled with this for a while.
    Then you get to a point where you stop "trying", and just DO it. Takes some of the energy out of forcing it!
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    • Profile picture of the author DGFletcher
      I utterly hate "positive thinking".

      There was an article in a printed book when I was in middle school about a woman that was really focused and motivated, and when they tested her, she was basically in Controlled Rage.

      I'm like that. I've had to give up on a recent sales job because the whole office was so fake-chipper I couldn't focus. My current job's just fine with me being in quiet controlled piss-off the whole day.

      To the *customer*, I have Chipper Happy Voice and everything's fine. They don't know that in *my* head, they are Statistic #197 out of 400 and the wheels are cranking through getting Their Money into My Pocket through controlled rage. Having my *boss* tell me to always be chipper instead of being Cranky Stats with me... yeah, that screws me up.
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      • Originally Posted by DGFletcher View Post

        I utterly hate "positive thinking".

        There was an article in a printed book when I was in middle school about a woman that was really focused and motivated, and when they tested her, she was basically in Controlled Rage.

        I'm like that. I've had to give up on a recent sales job because the whole office was so fake-chipper I couldn't focus. My current job's just fine with me being in quiet controlled piss-off the whole day.

        To the *customer*, I have Chipper Happy Voice and everything's fine. They don't know that in *my* head, they are Statistic #197 out of 400 and the wheels are cranking through getting Their Money into My Pocket through controlled rage. Having my *boss* tell me to always be chipper instead of being Cranky Stats with me... yeah, that screws me up.

        how do you feel about Anger?

        as motivation?

        seems to me it is only seen as negative (culturally), but can be productive.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sandycmy
    Interesting post.

    ( my opinion)

    I feel positive or negative is very subjective. Here's how

    Lets say that you have some value work to completed right away, then

    a) if you are here in this forum for some kick of positive thought

    b) Read your favourite personal development stuff, blog or participate in forum OR

    c) do meditation to remove negative thoughts ...

    Don't you agree that all above 3 can be termed as negative by itself ? though we love to think it to be positive

    I'm victim of scenario 1

    But, I feel we trying to be perfect at thought level is insane, it can disturb us. Let the mind do it's part of drooling, gossiping and negative foreplay. If you do some good work which satisfies you ... then go have a beer with friends and celebrate ...

    Serenity too is subjective, we need to tailor make it our behaviors ...
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    • Profile picture of the author rbarnhart1
      @DGFletcher -- Are you really this angry most of the time? I was like this when I was in my 20's. The problem is that it usually peaks out somewhere -- and when it does, the results can be disastrous.

      Holding rage in and holding it back actually will begin to have an impact on your health as well. Most of the major killer diseases are stress related.

      If you can find a way to release that anger and let go of it (meaning you don't let it build back up), I promise you the benefits are worth it.

      I honestly and sincerely hope you find a path that will allow you to do this. Everything you touch is tainted by the anger (believe me, I know this to be true). If you would like to talk to an ex-anger addict, feel free to send me a PM.

      And don't worry, you never have to fake happiness or cheerfulness to move forward.
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  • Profile picture of the author SilentPerception
    Originally Posted by rbarnhart1 View Post


    Think about it like this. What happens when you pour clean water into dirty water? Does the dirty water get clean or does the clean water get dirty?

    If you think about it that way, the solution is really quite simple. You don't dump a bunch of positive thinking into a dirty brain. Instead, you have to get rid of the negative thinking,

    What would that be like?
    Hi Rbarnhart,

    I commend you for arriving at this logical point. Your analogy was very clear and simple. If it is agreeable with you I would like to use your quote as a basis, and deviate in a different direction.

    The question "What would that be like?" Implies that 'we don't know what it's like' and stimulates speculation. I feel this takes us in a wrong direction. I suggest the following question.

    [Rbarnhart1]: ... Instead, you have to get rid of the negative thinking,

    How do you do that?

    We have negated positive thinking as a means of psychological change. What does that mean? That means, in response to observing inharmonious or dangerous behaviour in ourselves we don't create the conception of 'what we want to be'. To create the positive is a form of escape. We create the ideal and pursue that, and through doing so we neglect our problems. When we cease to create the ideal we exist in state in which we left with our problems. Without any ideal to distract us we are left to observe the operation of our problems. That very act of observation is the factor responsible for the learning of our problematic behaviour and the reconditioning of the brain to free itself of it.

    So, How do you get rid of "negative" thinking?
    You cease to escape it, and through so doing naturally come upon a perception of it. The learning that comes as a result of that perception, distils the water.

    Perception is the act of psychological purification.
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    • Profile picture of the author heavysm
      Once you have broken past dwelling on the past and future and settle on being simply "present" in the here and now...I personally find it far more refreshing than trying to be positive.

      I find that i am naturally expectant that my goals will come about when im in the present moment. This isn't positive thinking because I'm not thinking about having a positive outcome, but i do internally feel the expectation that things will be just fine.

      I also feel as if releasing negativity from your life is far more than simply having the majority of your thoughts as positive. When a true release happens this is at the subconscious level where we don't typically have the best control over ourselves. But when it happens negativity in many ways just doesn't exist for you.

      So i agree with you in a very deep way. Once we get out of our own way we tend to naturally get what we want whilst thinking better because there isn't a shred of negativity to anchor us back.
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      • Profile picture of the author rbarnhart1
        @SilentPerception - Awesome comments. Thank you for sharing that. I believe your ideas combined with what Matthew and heavysm said basically answers the question that I inadvertently left unanswered.

        How to get rid of negative thinking? As heavysm pointed out, learning to be aware in the present moment is the key first ingredient. The practice of "no-mind" is the second step (as taught in various places, such as The Master Key System, The Power of Now, and A Bug-Free Mind).

        The third step is to begin to observe the thoughts that are going through your mind. Record the random complaints, criticisms, and negative beliefs that show up. Analyze each of these. Answer the following question: "How does this thought serve me?" If the thought does not serve you, release that thought and don't allow it to clutter your mind anymore.

        There are a lot of other things that you can do to eliminate negative thoughts, but that is the basic process. Thanks for following up on this post -- I probably should have included this in my post. :-)
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    • Profile picture of the author Joe Mobley
      Meditation.

      I will tell you that meditation is not about getting rid of negative thoughts. It's about you controlling your thoughts.

      Joe Mobley



      Podcast: How to Meditate - An Interview with Brian Johnson





      Originally Posted by SilentPerception View Post

      Hi Rbarnhart,

      I suggest the following question.

      [Rbarnhart1]: ... Instead, you have to get rid of the negative thinking,

      How do you do that?

      ...

      So, How do you get rid of "negative" thinking?
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  • Profile picture of the author Matthew Trujillo
    Originally Posted by rbarnhart1 View Post

    I recently watched a webinar that offered an idea that was very simple and yet quite profound. I'd be interested to see what your thoughts are on this.

    What if "Positive Thinking" was completely wrong or completely unnecessary? I don't mean "thinking positive", I mean, "positive thinking". What's the difference?

    Positive thinking is something that people "try to do". We've all seen the extreme cases where someone is "positive" all the time. They talk positive, act positive (happy, happy, joy, joy) --- except it's really just a facade.

    Think about it like this. What happens when you pour clean water into dirty water? Does the dirty water get clean or does the clean water get dirty?

    If you think about it that way, the solution is really quite simple. You don't dump a bunch of positive thinking into a dirty brain. Instead, you have to get rid of the negative thinking,

    What would that be like? You wouldn't have to "try to be positive". You would just be positive -- automatically. You would have a comfortable, confident, and content feeling -- a feeling of serenity (that feeling of knowing that everything is really okay).

    That is a major shift from how most people think about personal development and positive thinking. They try to "do positive thinking". When you get rid of negative thinking, you don't have to try to think positive...you just are (it's more of a state of being than something that you do).

    So, the point of personal development and positive thinking books is really about learning how to think once you've freed your mind from negativity (and some of them actually teach you how to get rid of the negativity as well).

    What are your opinion? Agree? Disagree?
    You say the real answer is to "Get Rid of Negativity" instead of focusing on "Positive Thinking" but you don't explain how one can "get rid of negative thinking". If the answer isn't through "Positive thinking" than what other alternative do you suggest people do that provides better results ? Here's how I do it, I focus on a good habits for 30 days such as exercising, eating better, building a better business and other positive things, in turn I live a better life.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rory Singh
    Everything we experience in life has either a 'positive' or a 'negative' meaning. Some person may look at something and see a glass half empty. Others may look at the same thing and 'jump' for joy because they saw this as a glass half 'full'.

    Life is happening and we are seeing or perceiving it one way or another.

    The ONLY thing that matters is what meaning we give something.
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  • Profile picture of the author Joe Mobley
    Originally Posted by rbarnhart1 View Post

    What happens when you pour clean water into dirty water? Does the dirty water get clean or does the clean water get dirty?
    Keep pouring, it'll clean up.

    Joe Mobley
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    Follow Me on Twitter: @daVinciJoe
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  • Profile picture of the author mobiusman
    Originally Posted by rbarnhart1 View Post


    That is a major shift from how most people think about personal development and positive thinking. They try to "do positive thinking". When you get rid of negative thinking, you don't have to try to think positive...you just are (it's more of a state of being than something that you do).

    So, the point of personal development and positive thinking books is really about learning how to think once you've freed your mind from negativity (and some of them actually teach you how to get rid of the negativity as well).

    What are your opinion? Agree? Disagree?
    Thanks for posting this rbarnhart1. This type of self-motivation is one of my favorite topics.

    Not to put too fine a point on it but 'positive thinking', the like of which was popularized by Norman Vincent Peale, has over time developed into a terrible hoax. This was brought to light in popular books such as "SHAM" by Steve Salerno and in "Brightsided" by Barbara Ehrenreich. In fact the current popularity of obligatory positivity and cheer as demanded in corporate America appears to be largely responsible for the hubris that caused poor decision making that resulted in the financial crisis of 1980's.

    Before it's collapse (the largest bankruptcy in American history) a Lehman Brothers trader had tried to point out to his boss his worry about the exposure risk that the company had acquired in the real estate sub-prime market. The employee's comments were seen as too negative and he was fired. This sort of thinking was going on in lots of other competing financial organizations and it could of brought down the entire world economy if it weren't for emergency governmental intervention.

    Positive thinking is tremendously difficult to maintain for long periods. That is probably due to the fact that humans naturally have a negativity bias. This can be illustrated by our sensitivity to the taste of that which is sweet and that which is bitter. Our taste buds have a detection factor for sweetness that is around one part in two hundred but for bitter it jumps to one part in two million. We needed this because toxic elements are often bitter tasting.

    'Thinking positive' is very different from 'positive thinking'.

    Both of these statements together present an interesting dichotomy. Like, which comes first... the chicken or the egg?

    Due to my training as a visual artist I prefer to look at things through visual modeling. So, the answer is the question there is no answer. There never could be because thinking that's shaped like this is a perfect example of what I like to call 'circular thinking'.

    There is no escape from a hamster-wheel like that and it creates a lot of frustration in the one doing the thinking. Our head brain is said to use up to one third of all of our body's electrical energy which explains why circular thinking is so exhausting.

    What I see has to happen is a change in the 'shape' of the thinking itself. It must go from circular to 'reciprocal'. (Circular describes a wheel whereas reciprocal describes a mobius strip.)

    This approach is way more effective than just trying to choose different thoughts. That's because, just as your coffee cup can't refill itself, the head brain's thinking has a hard time fixing itself.

    Authentic change in the system of thinking like this can only be triggered by an active agent that is external to the head brain yet still inside the person. It must change from "positive thinking", which is a ton of work to maintain, to "thinking positive" which is the result of a mindset that is naturally aware of how things are and grateful that it has another opportunity to make things better. (A young child thinks like this.)

    So, how exactly can a change like this happen? Simple. We need to use another brain. Fortunately we have one and it's in our gut.

    Of course I'm referring to the finding that there are 100 million neurons that are hidden in the linings of our digestive tract and that this one weird structure, which is now known in scientific terms as the "enteric nervous system", is a brain that's able to operate by itself without instructions from topside.

    As I see it there appears to be a reciprocal relationship between these two different brains and that relationship, when it's at its optimum, is best modeled
    as a mobius strip where two things seem to merge into one. The head brain thinks but doesn't feel. It's into analyzing things. The gut brain feels but doesn't think. It's an action-taker.

    As stated the gut brain's main attribute is, not one of thinking, but one that is extremely sensitive to feeling. One thing that it feels is an energetic drive we call our persistence. A persistent nature causes a person to positively move ahead despite difficulties. The gut feels this and transfers this energy via the vegas nerve to the head brain. There it forces a change in the thinking from the negative: "I can't do this, it's too tough" to the positive: "I'll give it another try".

    So, have you ever experienced a something like this? If so you've had a transformation, although temporary, in the shape of your thinking. (I know how to make it more permanent and that's the reason I'm writing a book about it.)
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    Mobiusman talks about the Head Brain/Gut Brain system. Did you know you have two different brains?
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    • Profile picture of the author rbarnhart1
      @Joe Mobley said:

      I will tell you that meditation is not about getting rid of negative thoughts. It's about you controlling your thoughts.
      Good point Joe. Meditation is a component of managing thinking (or controlling it, as you say). Meditation is part of the solution side of the equation -- it is what allows us to be more in touch with the inner part of our life. And so, by connecting with that, we are conditioning the mind to rely more on the inner world and be less affected by the outer world.

      You have to use certain methods to initially clean out the negative thinking. Afterwards, by installing mediation as a regular habit, you can prevent the negative habit patterns from reforming.
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      • Profile picture of the author rbarnhart1
        @mobiusman said:

        developed into a terrible hoax
        Great post -- thank you for sharing your insights. In reference to what I quoted above, I haven't read the books you mentioned. I'm not sure that I understand the phrase "developed into a terrible hoax" in this context. I would agree that many people misunderstood the instructions and misapplied the techniques. This, over time, led to unfortunate results and consequences. Is that the basic idea that the books are presenting?

        I've heard some people say "Fake it until you make it" -- and in some cases that is good advice and in others not so much (it all depends on the context). However, I don't think any personal development book I've ever read promoted being positive at all cost -- particularly to the point of ignoring reality.:-)

        As a side-note, there was more behind the 1980's financial crisis than false optimism or false "positivity". But, that is another story for another time.

        I really like your concepts about the brain. I read somewhere that medical researchers have discovered neuro-receptors in cells outside of the brain (i.e. they can receive the same messages that brain cells receive). I'm also familiar with the second brain concept.

        If you need any help in the area of content review or editing for your book, I'd be honored to help with this. Let me know if I can be of assistance.
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        • Profile picture of the author mobiusman
          Originally Posted by rbarnhart1 View Post

          @mobiusman said:



          Great post -- thank you for sharing your insights. In reference to what I quoted above, I haven't read the books you mentioned. I'm not sure that I understand the phrase "developed into a terrible hoax" in this context. I would agree that many people misunderstood the instructions and misapplied the techniques. This, over time, led to unfortunate results and consequences. Is that the basic idea that the books are presenting?


          I really like your concepts about the brain. I read somewhere that medical researchers have discovered neuro-receptors in cells outside of the brain (i.e. they can receive the same messages that brain cells receive). I'm also familiar with the second brain concept.

          If you need any help in the area of content review or editing for your book, I'd be honored to help with this. Let me know if I can be of assistance.
          Thanks rbarnhart1 for the comments.

          Just to clarify a bit here. To do "positive thinking" one has to assume that the future will unfold according to one's wishes. We all know that our existence is mostly lived in an incline and that it's a stuggle out there. So thinking like this is bad enough. But what's worse is the pumping up of self-motivation based on something that has not yet happened. Isn't that is the action of a fool?

          In contrast a very young child doesn't have to live in such a delusional world. They think positivly without the hassle of making it up. That kind of authenticity is why we like to be around them.

          In regards to the context of the books, "Bright-sided" was more up to date as "SHAM" was written much earlier. In my perspective about the financial collapse I could see clearly how the mixing of frenetic positive thinking and cheer with greed could present a clear and present danger to a volitile economic system. Which is what that mix prooved to be. Remember, there are only a very few people (such as on Wall Street) who every day move huge amounts of money around the world without impunity. What do you think is thier motivation? (Clue: It ain't brotherly love.)

          Thanks for your good comments and "yes" I'd be happy to have you as a reviewer for my new book "The Gut Brain Balm" which is due shortly.

          If you don't mind please PM me and provide the your preferred contact info so I can send you the PDF when it's ready.
          I'm also looking for a few more like you so please feel free to let them know. They can PM me also.
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          Mobiusman talks about the Head Brain/Gut Brain system. Did you know you have two different brains?
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          • Originally Posted by mobiusman View Post

            Thanks rbarnhart1 for the comments.

            Just to clarify a bit here. To do "positive thinking" one has to assume that the future will unfold according to one's wishes. We all know that our existence is mostly lived in an incline and that it's a stuggle out there. So thinking like this is bad enough. But what's worse is the pumping up of self-motivation based on something that has not yet happened. Isn't that is the action of a fool?

            In contrast a very young child doesn't have to live in such a delusional world. They think positivly without the hassle of making it up. That kind of authenticity is why we like to be around them.

            In regards to the context of the books, "Bright-sided" was more up to date as "SHAM" was written much earlier. In my perspective about the financial collapse I could see clearly how the mixing of frenetic positive thinking and cheer with greed could present a clear and present danger to a volitile economic system. Which is what that mix prooved to be. Remember, there are only a very few people (such as on Wall Street) who every day move huge amounts of money around the world without impunity. What do you think is thier motivation? (Clue: It ain't brotherly love.)

            Thanks for your good comments and "yes" I'd be happy to have you as a reviewer for my new book "The Gut Brain Balm" which is due shortly.

            If you don't mind please PM me and provide the your preferred contact info so I can send you the PDF when it's ready.
            I'm also looking for a few more like you so please feel free to let them know. They can PM me also.


            Hey I'll do a review to. I think what you are saying is very interesting, aside from your knowledge of personal development. PM me if you would like.
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            • Profile picture of the author Daniel Evans
              It's my understanding that positive thinking isn't intended as an effective standalone, rather a catalyst to evoke positive feeling which gradually becomes the natural response as those positive thoughts become more sincere.

              It may be so that the initial process is forced, unnatural and somewhat ineffective, but however insignificant it may seem, the seed needs to be planted and every seed goes through its period of darkness before it grows out to the light and flowers.
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  • Profile picture of the author tobyjensen
    Well, now you're just blatantly tossing out the, "act as if" rule that is a staple of personal development. Used by millions of people successfully around the world (not everyone). It can work to a point. As long as there are not significant blocks in the way.

    But I agree completely with the dirty water analogy. It is all about changing the underlying programming or blocks that are getting in the way. Then where you are coming from is a completely different and wonderful place. You start out on the right foot. Then being able to learn successful skills in life actually works for you.

    Answering the single greatest question in psychology and personal development

    - exactly how to change.

    Actual real lasting change has been maddeningly elusive. Developing a reproducible effective system that anyone could use to produce change at will is beyond comprehension. What it actually takes to change has been unknown to the world even with the threat of death. Having recently reviewed a study on change involving heart patients who would die unless they changed their diet or exercise, it was found that the success rate of change with the threat of death was only one in seven. That is to say that only one in seven people when faced with death as a real consequence were able to change their habits and be able to live. The other six died having not been able to change. Real change has been practically impossible - until now.

    Having spent twenty-five years developing the system to achieving core level change it has finally been developed - Gutap. The exact process is spelled out step by step below in an easy to understand way in order to provide clarity and definition.



    A systematized conscious reproducible method for change that works every single time

    The deepest core beliefs have been the most difficult thing to change in ourselves and in others. It is because of the lack of a reproducible system for change that many people firmly believe that people can't really change at all.

    The basis of this process for change is that beliefs are formed in emotion. It is through feeling emotion along with one's determining of how things are that beliefs are formed. The stronger the emotion the deeper, more powerful, longer lasting the core belief becomes. In order to change a deep core belief the emotion it was formed in has to be felt again just as it was originally in order to begin the process of change.

    Our feelings are the most powerful gate to permanently changing our thoughts (our beliefs). Our feelings are the doorway to being able to change at the deepest level. You must feel the feeling fully as powerful and as painfully as it is to then open the doorway to have the chance to access change. Once you are feeling the feeling as fully as it truly is then you ask what it is that it really wants you to know, to listen for anything that is the truth. Any negative answer is not the truth. Stay feeling the negative feeling and relaxed. Listen only for the positive answer while feeling the negative feeling. When it comes you will be able to recognize the truth of it by beginning to see the previous negative feeling begin to change when you connect that positive answer you just received into the negative feeling to flow the feeling of the positive answer into the negative feeling to change it. The act of feeling the negative emotion also strengthens us to be able to be emotionally strong enough to find the answer in spite of the pain and also strong enough to hold the connection between the positive and negative to allow the time for the positive feeling to flow into the negative feeling.

    Here are the three steps to Gutap again in a nutshell:
    1) Feel the feeling
    2) Find the answer
    3) Let the feeling of the answer flow in

    Here are the three steps to Gutap again with slightly more description:
    1) Feel the feeling of our limiting belief.
    2) Find what the positive answer is that it actually wants us to know.
    3) Connect the feeling of what it wants us to know and let the feeling of that answer flow into our limiting belief to change it.

    That is as simply as I can put it.


    Connect the old and new feeling and let the new positive healthy answers flow into the negative feeling to change it.

    Double check that the negative feeling is changing, and then completely changes.

    Then there are over three hundred sublevels that involve dealing with every conceivable variation and failings. Obviously it can become extremely complex and almost impossible to follow through once you become triggered. This is just one reason it pays to get help to do this.



    Is there anyone you have ever heard of that can back up a claim like this? I do it through explaining the process, completely and concisely, answering all your questions around personal development, offering client examples of achievement, while demonstrating exactly how this works for you.

    1) Explain it
    a. Connect it to other theories
    b. Fill in the gaps
    c. Explain why other theories don't always work

    2) Show why it works
    a. Built upon other things that do work

    3) Demonstrate in a small example I call the Ice Cream Exercise

    4) Verify it worked

    This system was put together from over twenty-five separate and distinct sources. Some of the sources don't realize the others even exist. They are too busy promoting their own agenda. While others hate each other, fighting among themselves, constantly sabotaging their own development in a shared hatred instead of realizing how they each have a piece of the whole pie. I put it together and filled in several gaps after twenty five years of research and development.

    Let the positive feelings of exactly what the negative belief is trying to teach you flow in to the feeling of the false belief to change it.
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    Toby Jensen - Master Life Coach
    Invest in what works this time.

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  • Profile picture of the author tuneup
    In today’s world, more and more people speak about the power of positive thinking. It is a concept that has a very high view of human nature and ability. Its advocates teach that the human mind has the power to turn wishes into reality through optimism. In other words The Power of positive thought refers to the power of creating thoughts, which create and focus energy into reality. To bring into creation a positive outcome, which you see as a benefit to yourself or others.
    However if conflict exists in the subconscious then this has the habit of overriding the best intentions of positive thought. The subconscious is so literal to the point of exasperation and the conscious is quite the opposite, concocting thousands of excuses not to actor avoiding to act in a positive way
    That’s life – That’s how it is – resolve the conflict preventing positive behaviour (easily said) and move on!
    Brian
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    Internet tools made simple I always begin at the beginning but I didn't invent the universe first
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  • When you wake up in the morning, or from a long sleep, you naturally feel positive. Then as you go about your day, your more dominant thoughts start to kick in that you have been practicing for a long time.


    When you try to rid yourself of negativity, you are still focused on negativity. You cant focus on positivity while getting rid of negativity. Because the focus is still on negativity.


    When you start to focus more and more on positivity, the negativity starts to fall off and eventually be forgotten. It can be reactivated, but it is very very small. It still has a vibration, but it is very very little.


    My college teacher once told me. The longer it has been since you thought of a thought, the harder it is to remember it again. The more time has passed, the harder it is to remember. The less time has passed since you thought of something, The easier it is to remember.


    Water is different from mind.


    You are like a tuner that receives radio waves. There are different stations of thinking and feeling. If you are feeling good and thinking positive, then you are in that vibration and station. If you are resonating with pure positivity, then that's what you are receiving.


    Focus on the positive, become more positive, build a positive foundation. When negativity comes up, learn to generalize it and forget about the seriousness of it, don't let it create a strong hold or foundation, just let it go. Back away from it and hop on the positive.


    If you have dirt in a container, then its going to stay in there. Our minds aren't like containers, you can change thought faster than you can change water. Its a webinar though, they need to have you switch to their idea.


    Do what makes you happy.
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    • Profile picture of the author Daniel Evans
      Originally Posted by The Copywriting Engineer View Post

      When you wake up in the morning, or from a long sleep, you naturally feel positive. Then as you go about your day, your more dominant thoughts start to kick in that you have been practicing for a long time.
      I'm not sure 'positive' would be more suitable than 'refreshed'.

      It could be argued that dreams actually have a significant impact upon a persons waking mindset and of course those dreams are dictated by the overall mindset so this can form a perpetual negative paradigm.

      Sadly, there are a lot of people who wake up feeling worthless. It's actually a key symptom of depression and thus the morning waking state is one that's touched upon by psychologists.
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      • Profile picture of the author Michael Shook
        Its not that hard, if you want something different in your life, you need to think different thoughts. you can't change the thoughts you've already thoughts - they ar in the past. you can't clear your mind of negative thoughts because those thoughts are already there in existence.

        You change your thinking pattern. At first you do this deliberately. This is what people call affirmations, you choose what you are going to think and you think that thought repeatedly until it becomes a habit.

        Then you look for evidence that the new thought - your new way of thinking has made a change in your life. Congratulate yourself that you have made a change and look for more ways to change that will bring you closer to what you want.

        We do this all the time, we just don't call it positive thinking.
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        • Profile picture of the author rbarnhart1
          Lots of great insights everyone. Thanks for all of the input on this idea.

          @Copywriting Engineer -- I completely agree with you on the tuner/receiver concept. Here's the thing. We all know people who continue to pour positive stuff into their brain (quotes, affirmations, self-help books, courses, etc) and get virtually no results. Why is that?

          The reason is because of all of the self-limiting beliefs, the negative auto-suggestion that has been programmed for years that just replays and replays daily, etc. So, just focusing on the positive stuff isn't necessarily the answer. Especially not when the subconscious is sabotaging the process.

          What if you practice noticing the thoughts that stream through your mind? And then during this process, you notice a thought that seems really negative. So, you write it down. Later, you notice that same thought pops up again. As you examine the thought on paper, you can see that this thought is harmful and not serving you -- and now you take certain steps to eliminate that thought from your subconscious playlist? That's what I mean by removing the negative.

          BTW, I somewhat disagree with the teacher you mentioned. A thought exists in the brain through connection/reference. How easily you remember something depends on how many things your brain has linked that thought to. There is stuff that happened to me when I was three that I can easily recall whenever I want -- but, I often haven't thought of those things for many years. That's why pegging memory systems are so effective -- they specifically link the new items to things you already know.

          @ Daniel Evans -- good insights Daniel -- appreciate that. I agree there needs to be a catalyst in the process.

          @ Michael Shook -- I agree that the act of doing this is easy. But for many people, releasing negative thoughts and emotions can sometimes be the hardest thing they've ever done. It's too easy to stay within the comfort zone. I think that is why coaching is such a valuable skill set today -- you can help people move out of that comfort zone and recognize things that may otherwise be hidden from view.
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  • Profile picture of the author NootropicBrain
    Both is, for sure the best answer! Positive thinking about current and future events are key to setting yourself up for success. Reviewing and criticizing are important for past events, as that's how you learn and correct future actions!
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