The Power of Positive Thinking
Our thoughts manifest as actions, actions become habits and habits create success. Positive thoughts generate positive energy, which is effective and attractive. That’s the good news.
However, negative thinking also works. Negative thoughts also manifest as actions, these actions become habits and the habits create failure. Negative thoughts create negative energy that is also effective, but for failure, not accomplishment, and it repels rather than attracts.
Your power to do something if you think you can do it is equaled by your power to not do something if you think you can’t do it. So when we talk about the power of positive thinking, we are really only talking about thinking.
So let’s start with how people think.
The brain contains the neo-cortex, where you find facts, figures, evidence and language. The brain also contains the limbic system’s amygdala that controls trust, loyalty and decision-making. The amygdala is all about feelings and emotions and does not have any connection with language; it is where your “gut feelings” reside, the ones you can’t explain with words. You make your decisions from your emotion/experience-based amygdala, and then justify and explain those decisions from the fact-based neo-cortex.
The neo-cortex can think positively all it wants, but if the amygdala is stored with negative experiences and emotions on a given subject, the positive thoughts will be overruled. Here’s how that works: You are about to give a speech. Why are you a trembling, sweaty-palmed mess as you grip the podium? What’s terrifying you? You’re prepared. You’ve thought positively, you’ve practiced affirmations. The problem is…
Positive thinking must correspond with emotional experiences and beliefs
For positive thinking to work, it has to have a foundation within the amygdala. Positive words have little power to override a negative experience. If you were once reduced to stammers when asked to read aloud in third grade, you will have to counterbalance that negative experience before positive thinking will help you make a successful speech. You do this by creating positive experiences around speech making. Join friends for coffee and have each person share a childhood story. Experiencing your audience’s enjoyment of your little “speech” will be a positive experience to validate your positive thinking.
You may also find you have opposing or undermining beliefs based on the amygdala’s portfolio of experiences. A positive thought such as, “The job interview will be a great success,” may be undermined by a belief that authority figures don’t like you; a belief based on an experience of teacher or parental disappointment or disapproval.
Positive thinking ignores the odds
One young man wrote a song, then talked himself out of trying to get it published by considering the odds against him; there were thousands of would-be songwriters and very little room at the top. His sister wrote a song, called a producer until she got an appointment, and three songs were published three months later—with an advance payment.
Positive thinking focuses on the result, not the long process to get there
A man tried to talk his friend into waiting in line to get a free lunch at a sporting event. The man saw the free lunch, waited in line and got it. His friend saw the long line and didn’t wait in it. His friend went without lunch.
Positive thinking gives the outcome the benefit of the doubt
Negative thinking jumps the gun: “This probably won’t work.” Positive thinking isn’t so much a presumption of success as it is openness to success.
Positive thinking frees you to succeed
As you think, “This will work” or “This will be fun” or “This is a good idea,” you are freeing up your abilities to be creative and think limitlessly. You are releasing your imagination and stoking the fires of enthusiasm. Do you think you stand to succeed more when you are being creative and energetic, or shut down and stalled? I agree with you.
Positive thinking redefines and transforms failure into redirection
If not that, then let’s try this! Ideas and options are unlimited when you keep moving and follow them up. Failure accepted as final is a dead end.
Positive thinking is solutional
A problem or issue or challenge isn’t a reason to stop. It isn’t an “I told you so.” When positive thinking hears, “You can’t do that,” it asks, “Why not?” and responds to each objection with a solution. It not only doesn’t stop, its creativity kicks into high gear.
Positive thinking is transformative
It changes glitches into solutions, and it redesigns and turns “failures” into alternatives and fresh starts with new ideas.
There is everything to gain with positive thinking, and everything to lose with negative thinking. Positive thinking isn’t mindless Pollyanna-ism. It isn’t attempting the impossible. Positive thinking maximizes and optimizes every idea, every opportunity, every day. Its confidence and joy are attractive. Its focus causes it to bypass many long, dark detours into fear and doubt. We find what we seek, and positive thinking seeks and expects good, success and happiness.
What have you got to lose? Everything. What do you have to gain? Everything. So, what do you think?