Why Positive Thinking is a BAD IDEA At Times.
By Anubhav Srivastava ( Register for his Workshop – Build Super Confidence For Super Success!)
Conventional wisdom says that positive thinking is the key to success. You need to picture yourself or visualize for yourself the perfect outcome, the best possible result. You need to go into what you are doing with an absolutely positive mindset, whether it is a presentation, a job interview, a date, or a much bigger project as if nothing could go wrong. While positive thinking has always been preached, it has gained much more popularity recently thanks to the books that talk about the Law of Attraction as if it is a scientific law that always works. I am here to tell you that if you are always thinking positive and have been indoctrinated by the positive thinking mantras, believing that nothing could go wrong, you are dramatically lowering your chances of success, because in real life things go wrong all the time.
Do you know how safety standards are raised for cars, or for Airplanes or for Space Flights? They are done so by taking into account EVERY POSSIBLE negative scenario that could happen. Some of these are based on imagination, some are based on very probable possibilities of what could go wrong and some scenarios are worked upon only after an event actually takes place (Such as the September 11 attacks or a Foam Strike that destroyed Space Shuttle Columbia)
Would you be comfortable travelling in a car or an air plane or maybe in a space shuttle in the future, knowing that the only safety mechanism that the engineers relied upon was positive thinking and visualization of everything being perfect? Would you feel safe knowing that engineers did not imagine and solve most of the possible negative outcomes that could happen that dramatically increase the chances of an accident? Would you want to live in a building built by someone who only relied on positive thinking and did not thinking of how to safeguard it from possible disasters? The buildings we live in, the things we travel in and the devices we use are relatively safe today BECAUSE of the positive steps taken as a result of negative and cautious thinking.
Researchers have actually actually conducted studies where they compared the results of Strategic optimists and Defensive pessimists. Strategic optimists believe nothing can go wrong, cautious pessimists believe that many things could go wrong, and yet the fear doesn’t cripple them, it motivates them to take steps to actually lower the risk of things going wrong. Confidence is a great thing but sometimes the lack of it is an even better thing. The fear motivates you to settle for nothing less than excellence.
The researchers found that in many instances the defensive pessimists actually performed better than eternal optimists because they took into account many of the negative situations that could happen and then worked hard to eliminate that possibility. They worked and prepared much harder.