Positive thinking: A pseudo-scientific con!
CAUTION: POSITIVE THINKING MAY BE HARMFUL TO YOU : Promod is an MLM (multi-level marketing) business man. He also runs a business of personality development. He told me: “Positive thinking has miraculous powers. Positive thinkers are successful in life. It is a proven fact. I am a positive thinker. I read a lot on the power of positive thinking. Every day morning and before going to bed I make auto-suggestions on positive attitude.”
I asked him:”What’s your goal in life?”
“My first aim is to buy a waterfront bungalow – I am positive about it…”
“So, you are not happy now, but you will be happy in the future when you buy the bungalow. Hence you are trying your level best with positive mind-set”
“The more you are affirming that you would be happy when you get a Bungalow, an equal and opposite quantity of thoughts are being produced in your sub-conscious, saying that you are not happy now. That means, in the current given situation you are unhappy..”
“Yes- I am unhappy, that’s why I am striving to reach my goal…”
“This tells your state of mind. If you are not happy now with what you have, you will never be happy. The unhappy Promod is moving forward, not a happy Promod. So, even if you reach the destination, only the unhappy Promod will be reaching the goal.”
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“If you need full energy to work towards goal, you should be happy and contented right now. You have to work towards your goal with a happy mind. Happy mood produces happy hormones in the body. It’s a scientific fact. Positive thinking will indirectly create toxical thoughts which will be suppressed in the sub-conscious. Being happy is more important because it is your energy which has to match that of your source (higher self, the God-given flow of energy, or whatever you prefer to call)”
“How can you say that positive thinking will indirectly create toxical thoughts?”
“There lies an inherent stream of negative thinking deep beneath the sheen of positive thinking. The mind picks it up to produce toxic a thought. Over-doze of positive thinking is harmful too. Whenever we use affirmations like “I can do it”, the “I”, the underlying self (ego) develops resistance. This resistance and negative thought is then pushed into the unconscious. The reality of life is that the unconscious directs behavior and we are more unconscious than conscious. Positive thinking can create unrealistic expectations that may lead to depression, especially when one does not achieve them in the planned time period. You will be exhausted by the effort of trying to think positive always. You’ll be fed up with the hype surrounding “positive thinking”. Many people say that positive thinking is so superficial that it’s depressing”
“You mean it is bad to think positive?”
“Positive thinking can have some psychological relevance, but no existential relevance whatsoever. For people with minor problems like low self esteem it could be helpful. But people who think they can use positive thinking to get out of depression or counter addiction are setting themselves up for failure. Positive thinking can disguise real mental health problems. It can have devastating results for many people. For most people, these deliberate attempts to think positively often compromise their well-being in the future”
“So, we should work without positive thinking? What a ridiculous argument?”
“I am not arguing with you. You are succumbing to positive thinking because you do not know how to be happy now and you can’t handle reality. You want to skip the negative and just think positive.”
“But positive thinking people are successful” Promod said.
This is a popular misconception and belief. It is the most harmful marketing strategy that the US managers were promoting all over the world. Positive thinking is an American phenomenon. It is still promoted as one of the keys to success and happiness, though science has proven otherwise.
“All successful people are not positive thinkers. Some just became successful because they landed on the right idea at right time and it took off and made them money. I know many, many people are struggling in debt – ordinary people. Will a positive frame of mind help them to overcome that? You think that you’re not going to get sick, your vehicle is not going to break down, and you’re not going to lose your job…Will positive thinking help here?”
“Are you a negative thinker?”
“No. But I feel that negative thinking gives you more experience by accepting the fact that something happened was wrong and that it has to change for the better. I found that most of the depressed or pessimistic people have a more accurate view of themselves and their environment. So it isn’t negative to be totally and bluntly honest with yourself and see things as they really are instead of sugar coating the truth with positivity. Positivity is good for sales and con games, nothing more”
“So, you are not a positive thinker, not a negative thinker so what do you hope for?”
“Instead of optimism or pessimism, what about trying pragmatic realism? Or transcendental thinking? Or logical thinking?” I asked.
“So, you mean to say that I should be happy now, and work towards my goal without positive or negative thinking?
“Yes – If you are currently happy, when you reach the goal, the happiness will increase. And in the unfortunate event of not reaching goal, (because you are already happy) you will not be depressed. You have done your level best; though you couldn’t achieve it thus mind will find solace…”
“So, we have to work with happy mood?”
“Yes – you have set a goal -it may be a want, desire or need whatever. The struggle of working towards the goal should make you happier. So you will be dedicated and determined in doing the work (karma), not in the result. You always derive happiness in working towards the goal. Then if you reach the goal, you will feel really great, but not egotist. If you don’t reach the goal, ok, that’s sad indeed, but you won’t be heart-broken or depressed, because you are already happy and you have enjoyed every moment till then. So your calm and relaxed mind would think of another alternative or plan-B.”
I don’t know if he followed that. But it remains a fact that, what you try to avoid becomes the basis of your consciousness. So be careful! (Excerpts from Bye-bye Positive Thinking: http://udaypai.in/?p=139)
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