The Power of Negative Thinking

November 26th, 2009 by Bob Bly

In her new book Bright-Sided, Barbara Ehrenreich makes clear she is not a fan of the law of attraction, and says that positive thinking is a “mass delusion.”

She also says the notion that our thoughts can directly affect the physical world is irrational.

To believe in the power of positive thinking, writes Ehrenreich, “requires deliberate self-deception, including a constant effort to repress or block out unpleasant possibilities and negative thoughts … [positive thinking] encourages us to deny reality, submit cheerfully to misfortune, and blame only ourselves for our fate.”

Even Martin Seligman, author of “Learned Optimism” and a proponent of positive thinking, noted in his book that the one advantage pessimists have over optimists is that their thinking is more realistic and therefore they are better equipped to handle life’s disappointments.

How about you? Are you a:

A. positive thinker …
B. realistic pessimist …
C. somewhere in between?

Share

This entry was posted on Thursday, November 26th, 2009 at 12:08 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

62 responses about “The Power of Negative Thinking”

  1. Twitter Trackbacks for The Power of Negative Thinking - bly.com blog - bly.com direct marketing blog [bly.com] on Topsy.com said:

    [...] The Power of Negative Thinking – bly.com blog – bly.com direct marketing blog bly.com/blog/general/the-power-of-negative-thinking – view page – cached In her new book Bright-Sided, Barbara Ehrenreich makes clear she is not a fan of the current law of attraction mania, calling positive thinking a “mass delusion.” [...]

  2. Satvik said:

    I’m a positive thinker in the following sense: I believe in my ability to achieve what I want in the long run, and I believe that your mentality has a huge effect on your life. This isn’t because thinking automatically affects reality-it’s because human brains automatically look for the type of information that your mind is focused on.

    If you believe there’s a lot of opportunity to improve your world, you’re more likely to notice opportunity when it’s there. And if you’re optimistic about your future, you’re perfectly equipped to handle the temporary defeats that come along your way.

  3. William Reynolds said:

    The only reason Thomas Edison finally invented the light bulb, after a zillion failures, is because he chose to be happy that he’d found a zillion ways not to invent the light bulb. If that’s the power of positive thinking, then I’m grateful for it. Candlelight strains my eyes.

  4. Clay said:

    A pessimist takes a failure and sees it as just that – a failure. An optimist takes a failure and learns from it and moves forward.

    Optimism and “pollyanna” thinking are not the same things. I am a positive thinker – but I do understand that things don’t always come easily and without challenges.

    As Jigoro Kano, founder of judo, said – and I’m paraphrasing a little – the secret is when you get thrown seven times, to get up eight times.

  5. Andy said:

    I believe that I am more an optimist than a positive thinker. I’m not a big believer in the law of attraction. I do believe that if you are open-minded and have an optimistic attitude, you will recognize opportunities as they present themselves. I also believe that having a negative outlook prevents you from seeing these same opportunities. That is why I choose to be optimistic.

  6. Bill Perry said:

    I believe in the Law of Attraction because it works for me. That’s my litmus test.

    I will admit I get pissed at people who say “positive thinking” is useless.

    Negative thinking is far far worse. Negative thinking closes one’s mind to possibility and opportunity.

  7. David Vallieres said:

    There’s really no debate. If you think ‘you can’, you can… if you think ‘you can’t’ then why even try? You already know ‘you can’t’. This is what I call the “T” factor of success. You can be a realist or a pessimist or anything else but if you want to accomplish something in this life that’s worthwhile you need to THINK about a problem and turn it over and over in your mind until a solution appears. It has nothing to do with the law of attraction, positive thinking or anything else. The brain is a powerful tool, that’s all. If you know your brain is a tool then it can help you if you know how to use it. If you know it’s purpose, limitations and strengths you can use it to create your own life as you want it to be.

  8. Steve Rainwater said:

    One of my biggest strengths has always been to make the most of a good opportunity when I recognize it as such. I can list several periods in my life that have made huge positive impact because I recognized them and acted, or fell into them and reacted well.

    I am optimistic by nature but analyze things to death in the evaluation process. My wife takes this as negative, but I tell her it is just sorting things out.

    This year, following a second read of the renowned Think and Grow Rich, I took proactive steps (for the first time ever, I might add) to implement the Law of Attraction in my life – beginning in the Fall of 2008 (with written goals, daily meditation, shared a copy with my wife, made myself accountable to others, etc.) to prepare for 2009). To Bill’s litmus test above, it did NOT work for me…not even close. If I listed the number of personal, family and business difficulties I experienced this year it would blow the readers hair back, so I’ll spare you.

    As my optimistic self however, I continue to view the future as full of opportunity, which I’ll access better due to many lessons learned, so I can also call it a good year. slr

  9. Bamboo Forest - PunIntended said:

    I find that feeling disappointed is the result of not giving it our all. That’s the real cause of disappointment. Failure really isn’t.

    And the fact of the matter is, when engaging any task and believing it will result in a positive outcome we are sending a direct message to our nervous system to get the job done, successfully.

    On the other hand, when doubt reins supreme and you don’t have that edge that’s generated by positive thinking, your outcome will undoubtedly be compromised.

    So if thinking positively increases performance, than I’m all for it! The best athletes in the world believe they are going to do well every time. If they were to have some doubt in that area, their performance would show it. Of course this doesn’t guarantee success, but it certainly stacks the cards in your favor!

    I’m not a believer in the law of attraction for the most part. It’s pretty redicilous.

    Though I do believe our beliefs play a HUGE role in how we perform.

    The best personal development book I’ve ever read by a very large margin is “Awaken the Giant Within” by Anthony Robbins. He speaks at length of the importance of believing in ourself and how that can change everything. And yes, believing in oneself is really what positive thinking is.

    Though I’m sure everyone has heard this before, it merits repeating.

    Roger Bannister was the first man to ever run the 4 minute mile. Shortly after his achievement many others followed suit.

    Why?

    Did everyone across the globe all of a sudden by some mysterious coincidence begin to grow more muscle tissue? No.

    One simple factor changed: People began to believe it could be done. And then rapidly it began to be done over and over again by many different runners.

    The power of belief is huge. When we believe in ourselves we are engaging in positive thinking.’

    Really… My approach to this kind of thing is simple: What works? What gives the best results?

    That’s all I care about… the politics of it do nothing for my life. Pursuing strategies that have proven to show results since the beginning of time is what I’m looking for.

  10. Mele said:

    I agree with Bamboo Forest—do what works. What works for me is feeling confident in reaching my goals. I feel confident in reaching my goals by trying things out, choosing that which I am best at, and going for it.

  11. Kyle said:

    I like the term ‘Possibility Thinking’.

    You do find what you are looking for. Tony Robbins does a simple exercise. Close your eyes. Now open them and for 5 seconds find only things that are Red. Then,do Brown.

    Likewise, If you are looking for negative you will find more of it. Tony Schwartz says humans default to negative so it does take effort to look for creative possibilites.You don’t have to deny reality to look for possibilities.

  12. David Singhiser said:

    Being realistic or negative always helped me be depressed.

    Being realistic or negative always helped me quit early.

    Being realistic or negative always helped me be alone.

    Faith and hope on the other hand . . .

  13. Jack Courtney said:

    It depends on the situation. But most of the time, I’m a positive thinker. I always bear in mind that there are so many ways to solve a problem. As long as we know our ability and capacity, everything will be fine.

  14. Jeff W said:

    The fact that thought is produced by a gelatinous blob floating in fluid contained in a hard bony case is irrational. Yet…

  15. Jessie Jacob said:

    Being too positive thinker can make you more lax or confident that you think that everything will change even with a minimal effort coming from you to make it possible. However, if you are a negative thinker, you tend to attract more bad vibes into life. Same way with positive thinker, you get nothing from it. So for me, realistic pessimistic is much better then be a positive thinker from time to time.

  16. Jack Mower said:

    I’m more on in between. I tend to be realistic at times, but still think positive in order to solve any possible issues.

  17. Elisha Dusky said:

    Currently it sounds like Expression Engine is the preferred blogging platform out there right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

  18. Claude Reitano said:

    stop that shit

  19. Allen Saarela said:

    I was just looking for this information for a while. After six hours of continuous Googleing, finally I got it in your web site. I wonder what’s the lack of Google strategy that don’t rank this type of informative sites in top of the list. Normally the top websites are full of garbage.

  20. Rolando said:

    Where did himself deuce shot the wrapping class? So industrialize he essentially dovetail the building onto the chair? her am substantial influenced appropriate at gaze in virtue of reupholstering paraphernalia… prefer bringing practical things accrue pending life!

  21. Amos said:

    wonderful blog good info congrats. To get the best kids games entertainment click on the link

  22. sl70 amg said:

    I was very satisfied to attain this web-site.I wanted to thanks for your calculate used for this brilliant read!! I definitely enjoying each little fragment of it and I have you bookmarked to ensure absent in mint condition pack you blog post.

  23. Credit Noelia said:

    I have learned some important things by means of your post. I’d also like to mention that there can be situation in which you will make application for a loan and never need a cosigner such as a Federal government Student Aid Loan. However, if you are getting a borrowing arrangement through a common loan company then you need to be prepared to have a cosigner ready to help you. The lenders may base their very own decision on the few variables but the greatest will be your credit standing. There are some loan companies that will additionally look at your job history and decide based on this but in almost all cases it will be based on on your report.

  24. Osvaldo said:

    I am extremely |impressed with your writing talents as well as with the layout of Electronic Greensmoke Cigarettes | Electric Smokeless Cigarette Go Green.. Is that this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to look at a nice weblog like this one nowadays.

  25. catalog auto said:

    An amazing share, I emphatically specified this onto any colleague who had been doing rather psychoanalysis for this. In addition to he in certainty bought me breakfast as I establish it pertaining to him.. smirk. Hence i want to alter that: Thnx for the treat! But fair enough Thnkx with regard to spending calculate to natter concerning this, I undergo convincingly concerning it and enjoy reading additional on this topic. Proviso practical, as you feel expertise, would anyone mind updating your blog with additional details? It can ensue extremely ideal on behalf of me. Adult browse positive merely in support of this blog post!

  26. Dirk said:

    lyme disease symptoms…

  27. http://futballa.com/ said:

    Thanks for another informative site. The place else could I am getting that type of info written in such an ideal method? I have a undertaking that I am just now operating on, and I have been on the glance out for such information.

  28. www said:

    I’d like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this blog. I am hoping to check out the same high-grade content from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my very own site now ;)

  29. Trenton Garsjo said:

    You can certainly see your skills in the paintings you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to mention how they believe. At all times follow your heart.

  30. distill definition said:

    It is in point of fact a nice and helpful piece of information. I am happy that you simply shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  31. Travel Insurance said:

    Terrific work! That is the type of information that are meant to be shared across the internet. Disgrace on the seek engines for now not positioning this put up higher! Come on over and seek advice from my site . Thank you =)

  32. Maud Dahlke said:

    This is the type of post that your blog should have more of. Indeed, it’s the type of post all blogs on this topic should have more of!

  33. 5shades.com said:

    I?m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back down the road. Many thanks

  34. webdesigntoronto88 said:

    Thank you for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research on this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I’m very glad to see such great info being shared freely out there.

  35. DUI lawyer camp hill pa said:

    hey there and thank you for your information – I’ve unquestionably picked up something new from ideal here. I did however expertise some technical problems utilizing this web site, as I experienced to reload the web web page a lot of times previous to I could get it to load appropriately. I had been wondering if your internet hosting is OK? Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will quite frequently affect your placement in google and could damage your high high-quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords. Effectively I’m adding this RSS to my email and may appear out to get a lot more of the respective exciting content. Ensure that you update this once more very soon..

  36. Ashlyn said:

    How did you make it. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  37. Santos Sweatmon said:

    Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before. So nice to seek out anyone with some unique ideas on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this web site is one thing that’s needed on the net, somebody with a bit of originality. useful job for bringing one thing new to the web!

  38. Gerri Puchalski said:

    I’ve been browsing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It?s pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be a lot more useful than ever before.

  39. Eusebio Defrank said:

    It?s really a cool and useful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  40. Freddy said:

    It was a great book

  41. Tom Strzalkowski said:

    Right now it appears like Drupal is the top blogging platform out there right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

  42. Armand Salemo said:

    A person essentially help to make seriously posts I’d state. This is the first time I frequented your web page and to this point? I surprised with the analysis you made to make this particular submit extraordinary. Great job!

  43. Chelsey Landes said:

    I found your blog site on google and check just a few of your early posts. Proceed to maintain up the superb operate. I just extra up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. Searching for forward to reading extra from you afterward!?

  44. Anonymous said:

    Mira el partido de Argentina contra Ir?n aqu?: http://mundialbrasil.eu/argentina-contra-iran/

  45. Emmie Bossi said:

    Someone essentially assist to make critically articles I’d state. That is the very first time I frequented your web page and to this point? I amazed with the research you made to make this particular put up amazing. Fantastic job!

  46. 1 pip spread forex NetoTrade said:

    And also due to vast option most of these brokerages, it is very tricky to decide which one of them

  47. replica prada outlet said:

    If you want to change a watch to me.

  48. buy longines watches said:

    Want to buy Rolex for me! ~

  49. top muscle supplements for men said:

    You need to be a part of a contest for one of the finest
    websites on the net. I am going to highly recommend this site!

  50. ?????????????? said:

    Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful post.

    Thanks for providing these details.

  51. adakl?k fiyatlar? said:

    I have recently started a blog, the info you provide on this website has helped me greatly. Thanks for all of your time & work. “Cultivation to the mind is as necessary as food to the body.” by Marcus Tullius Cicero.

  52. probioticsupplement.info said:

    Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your site.
    You have some really great articles and I believe I would
    be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of
    the load off, I’d love to write some material for your blog in exchange for a link back to
    mine. Please send me an email if interested. Thanks!

  53. Does Get The Girl Code Really Work said:

    Hello there, I’m a fresh new web design company only starting out and I’m in need of a portfolio.
    Are you looking for an internet site design without charge?

  54. Dia Itri said:

    Thanks , I’ve recently been looking for info approximately this topic for a long time and yours is the best I have discovered till now. However, what about the bottom line? Are you sure in regards to the supply?

  55. how much protein To Build muscle said:

    Very quickly this site will be famous amid all blogging people, due to it’s fastidious content

  56. Cartier Jewelry Replica said:

    At this time it seems like WordPress is the best blogging platform out there right now.
    (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

  57. black skin care said:

    Appreciation to my father who stated to me concerning this web site, this
    website is really awesome.

  58. How To Lose Weight Fast said:

    This article will help the internet visitors for setting up
    new website or even a weblog from start to end.

  59. Looking For Work? Try These Job-finding Tips said:

    Enjoyed reading this, very good stuff, appreciate it. “Whenever you want to marry someone, go have lunch with his ex-wife.” by Francis William Bourdillon.

  60. how to make a small small reclaimed wood end tables said:

    Hi! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate!
    He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him.
    Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  61. love quotes for your boyfriend said:

    certainly like your web site but you have to take a look at the spelling on several
    of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling problems and I in finding it very troublesome to tell the reality however
    I’ll certainly come again again.

  62. www.instructables.com said:

    magnificent post, very informative. I ponder why the other experts of this sector do not notice this.

    You should proceed your writing. I am confident, you’ve a great readers’ base already!

Leave a Reply