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★Why does positive thinking fail?

There are tons of information on the internet about positive thinking. There is also a large amount of information on the internet showing how positive thinking is not effective.

I have lived and seen how positive thinking can change one’s life, but there are even more examples out there of positive thinking not working.

That Will Smith video is extremely motivating. I’m an overweight guy, and when I am on the treadmill or eliptical I always think of his comment “I am not afraid of dying on a treadmill. I will die before I let you beat me on a treadmill”.

It makes me think, I can do this just as long as anyone else and I am going to.

I don’t believe that positive thinking fails. We may fail to apply positive thinking in our lives, but that doesn’t mean that positive thinking failed. Is the glass half-full or half-empty? It is what it is, it is your view that varies. It’s the same with life. All of our thinking is either negative, neutral or positive. Positive thinking isn’t about walking around with a bleary-eyes smile on our faces, it’s about facing reality with a positive attitude. Positive thinking helps us in everyday situations, but more importantly it helps us with the hard stuff. People can deny reality or lose hope, but we ALWAYS choose our response to ANY situation – even devastating ones. Positive thinking and wishful thinking are very different things.

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.
— Gandalf, J.R.R. Tolkien
I’m Alright
Life Less Ordinary

“If you believe you can or your can’t…you’re right”…Henry Ford.

If someone thinks that positive thinking will do nothing for their life then it won’t and it never will, because that is what they think.

“If you believe you can or you can’t…you’re right”…Henry Ford.

(Hehe, without the typo)

Jeff & Gary – you both are so right… Reality is what we perceive it to be. The facts are just the facts… it’s how we interpret them that counts. Gratitude for what is going right goes a long way, too.

I am living in many dimensions at once; the appearance of being trapped in time and space is only an illusion.

@meditatingmama, what I have learned is that there is no “good” or “bad” our perspective creates what is factual for us.

positive perspective = positive facts manifesting into our literal reality.

negative perspective – negative facts manifesting into our literal reality.

I just stumbled across Barbara Sher. Never heard of her before, but I like her. Creating Your New Life

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.
— Gandalf, J.R.R. Tolkien
I’m Alright
Life Less Ordinary

In response to themadcookieman’s post:
Terrific MCM!

Affirmation Quick Searchaffirmation tags
♫Frampton I love enjoying this surrender. It is always beyond my wildest imagination of completion

In response to PositiveRoads’s post:

I am so excited that I am beside myself your blog is great, we have to get some links from yours and mine Internet.Attitude

And Positive Thinking never fails, we may fail on our thinking because the positive results aren’t fast enough, but Positive thinking can’t fail

Of course this is only in my reality, because I have a tendency to preach positive thinking to everyone I meet. The Attitude you use with your thinking has a lot to do with the results. You can think positive and your attitude is not positive. Results will not be real positive.

I have designed an Attitude Test that kind of let people know where they are in their mindset. I would like to send you a copy and maybe you can give me some suggestions, since we seem to be of like-mind.

Thanks again for this post Beautiful Just Beautiful

Bless you and yours always


Attitude Life Coach, helping others to see the Power of a Positive Attitude with Affirmations and Gratitudes, Learn to be The Creator of Your Life.

I think the reason positive thinking fails is because we are so programmed in the way we think. While we are raised we learn to think as other people think. By the time we are teenagers, it is all automated.

Our negative thoughts are automatic and they happen without us even knowing about it. And having negative thoughts towards others, many times, makes one feel more superior then other people.

You can’t just decide to think positively. It takes a lot of work. A lot of attention to your own thoughts. I think the two things that helped me the most was reading the Automatic Negative Thoughts Handout everyday for 2 months, and then creating my blog on positive thinking. Spending an hour or two of my free time everyday focusing on positive thoughts has changed my automatic thoughts.

Positive Thinking is not easy but its worth the effort.

My first post was on Automatic Negative Thought Stoppage. I really created the blog to remind me to read it everyday. I wanted to rid myself of negative thinking. It was my homepage. I created the blog for a purely selfish and therapeutic reason.

My wife also got involved and started posting things also. I wanted to surround myself with positivity, so I decided to start searching for positive quotes, positive videos, positive entertainment, and positive music.

When I first realized how negative I was, it was a shock. And, I didn’t realize it until I got my married and took out all my negativity on my wife. It became my mission in life to change, and now its my mission to help others change.

My blog originated as an effort to help myself and just evolved from there.

In regards to positive thinking and motivation I have heard it is just as a bath. It is needed daily. If you look at things with a positive look on life, it is what you will become.

This one’s kinda tricky, but I think it’s important, so I’ll give it a go. What the heck. Feeling froggy today.

In my view, positive thinking ultimately fails because it’s only the “good” side of a positive/negative dichotomy, often referred to as duality. “For every pleasure, there is pain”, “Every boom has it’s bust”, and “Every cloud has a silver lining,” are addages that come to mind. You can think positive all you want, and through the LoA, you can even manifest positive things in your life (MG raises a good point with the positive/negative emotions/thoughts thing). You can “change your thinking” or “just feel good” when you observe the negativity in your life. But in using such methods, there is still a recognition that there is negativity, which the positive is supposed to counter. If there wasn’t, why would we call it “positive thinking” at all?—it would be just “thinking”.

I suggest that it is such dualistic thinking that needs to be transcended by accepting what is. Whatever IT is, is neither positive nor negative—what IS positive/negative, is your perception and your judgment of it as such. Eckhart Tolle wrote, “beyond happiness and unhappiness, there is Peace.” That Peace is really what you’re looking for, in trying to “think positive”. But it will take a lot longer to find it, if you ever do, simply by thinking and feeling that way.

I haven’t added to this thread in awhile..but have given the thread’s original notion some more thought re: “ there are even more examples out there of positive thinking not working”
Positive thinking is like an opened door. You can’t get into a room without a door opened (for the most part lol)

  • Though once the door is opened it’s up to you.
  • You can feel great and not be mindful. You can feel bad and be very aware/mindful.

Keep on going. We are Joy. We are not our circumstances

Creating a good thought is great..but my thought is..pray about things..meditate on things..and don’t go through life willing yourself into a day you are creating without ‘checking it out inside..and connecting to your understanding of SOMETHING GREATER THAN YOURSELF, which we all contain a mighty spark of.

I think that’s why “Prayerful Process Affirmations” work for me (:

In my opinion..we are co-creators..While we have free will..be still and ‘check it all out’. Feeling bad doesn’t mean you are in the wrong direction or not thinking positively. We don’t have to like everything that serves us well..Though we can learn to..OR WE CAN KEEP ON OPENING DOORS THAT SHOW US SOMETHING ELSE THAT WE WILL ENJOY, BE IN OUR BEST INTEREST AND OTHERS, and that’s the joy and the Power of it all..ACCEPTANCE LEADS TO AMAZING JOY.

*There is phenomenal power in words

  • There is phenomenal power in joy
  • There is phenomenal power in acceptance
  • There is phenomenal power in making decisions and taking action

Affirmation Quick Searchaffirmation tags
♫Frampton I love enjoying this surrender. It is always beyond my wildest imagination of completion

You cannot programm your concious mind to stay positive as that is not its function” It is only an information processing unit”

To become positive as a state of permanent awareness one must program the subconcious mind through any powerful technique (hypnotherapy)(meditation)
(Mental rehearsal) and other methods that will hardwire the brain to communicate with the subconcious and this requires reinforcment and effort

This is why resolutions dont work for a lot of people“and many people I talk to dont understand this connection. You cannot programm your concious mind”

Urban Yogi

Rama Dass
Teacher of Power Meditation

The Subconcious mind is the gateway to the universe’

Its depth is limitless but the term itself has been used in a kind of nebulous abstract mind idea”
Programming can also mean reinforce as certain meditation practices do

If you are truly experiencing the subconcious mind on a daily basis you will go beyond programming’

In a way Im answering this question before I have even asked it lol’‘
The urban”“
Semantics Im sure’‘

Rama Dass
Teacher of Power Meditation

I think some people reach a point where they decide, “this isn’t working” and so they say this process failed them. But positive thinking is what I would call a life enhancing technique. It boosts your attitude, activates you will, and strengthens your character. I believe it does help. I primarily use affirmations to help my character. To boost my confidence and help empower. Some also use it as a form of prayer. I think that is perfectly fine, however I think sometimes it is wise to admit that the universe may have different plans for us. I think this is the point where a lot of people get disillusioned. We get it in our mind that we NEED certain things and the universe is telling us we don’t. That is just my belief anyway. But nothing really “failed” in the process.

In response to William.B’s post:
I had a conversation with an ‘educated’ person..professionally successful..who is one of the most negative persons I’ve ever met in my life. This person has a terrible attitude and believes sarcasm is communication with people that believe differently than she does. Who knows what some believe success is..

I can only focus on myself with accuracy. I believe success is joy, acceptance, understanding there is more than self to receive Power from from…And I’m grateful that I don’t have all of the answers..and I receive what I need ..as long as I do/am ‘my part’.

I agree many ‘people reach a point where they decide, “this isn’t working” and so they say this process failed them’ and look at affirmations as a magic button..Though like you I believe positive thinking a life enhancing technique; well said btw! I love how you said “boosts your attitude, activates your will, and strengthens your character”. And it surely empowers!

I am not sure how you are saying some use it as a ‘form of prayer’. I think it is fine to do so..as long as it is understood ‘The Plan’ might be ‘Greater’ and bit more complex in its design..than our simplistic understanding of things. That is why I Let Go with prayerful affirmations and expect the best..a best that is far greater than my understanding. It ALWAYS WORKS. It doesn’t mean my simple requests are always answered ..It means my Greatest Answer is already here(:

And I agree “nothing really “failed” in the process”.

Welcome William B..if I haven’t said it already(:

Affirmation Quick Searchaffirmation tags
♫Frampton I love enjoying this surrender. It is always beyond my wildest imagination of completion

This may have already been covered, but I read an article that said trying to suppress negative thoughts can bring about negative results. I think that some psychologist address this problem when they describe helping patients direct their attention away from anxiety before a performance. Taking the pressure off. If someone feels tense from suppressing their feelings then it might be useful for them to direct their attention away from the area of concern. I think affirmations aren’t commands to our mind or subconscious. They are a positive boost. And we each might benefit from tinkering a bit with our practices, figuring out what works best. For instance, we might go beyond affirmations and look for what some call “proof statements” that back up the messages we are trying to send ourselves. If we are saying “I am an effective communicator and friend” it might have more positive results if we spend a little time thinking about how we have been an effective communicator and friend in the past. Some also say it is useful to “try easy.” Which means you take some pressure off yourself and decide to give 90 percent instead of 100 percent. The idea being some people find it stressful to try to dedicate 100 percent of their energy to a task and feel they fail if they make any tiny mistake. It’s worth thinking about.

I think people can’t help but be negative sometimes. It’s not a sin. But if we can alter our outlook over time, I think we benefit. Let yourself be what you are. But gently steer yourself to looking for the good as a loving parent would and I think you’ll be happier in the long run.

In response to William.B’s post:
Agree..I said a similar remark in one of my threads
“Even if don’t have perfect clarity for your direction, accept you and the processes you’ve chosen to engage in to find your answers on your journey.Your dreams will develop as you do. Routines and discipline grow as you do. Though wherever you are in your life, love and accept yourself. Review your life with compassion, as a loving parent would love their innocent newborn”

Definitely believe it is about parenting ourselves with much love..always! Never take time off from loving yourself(:

Affirmation Quick Searchaffirmation tags
♫Frampton I love enjoying this surrender. It is always beyond my wildest imagination of completion

Positive past experience do help create a good back drop..for empowering self.

I know that is there when I’m affirming..Though I tend to want to see things as brand new..a better experience. Affirmations help me do that.

If I am experiencing something negative..I don’t discount it..I enhance it..by expressing I am where I am suppose to be..Kind of like being lost on the road..Once you accept you’re where you’re at..you can Plunge ahead” with where you want to go..Not sure if that is a good analogy..

Affirmation Quick Searchaffirmation tags
♫Frampton I love enjoying this surrender. It is always beyond my wildest imagination of completion

I think that is a very good analogy.
I’m very new here, but maybe that is a good thing to get into on these message boards. Life isn’t always easy. We’re all on roads we didn’t plan to take. And whether one uses affirmations or not it isn’t always going to be easy going on the road. I do think affirmations are useful. But I think our greatest assets are our minds and our courage to try finding new ways.

Yes affirmations are good to work with but unless you can change the habits of the subconcious mind you would have a pretty difficult time changing anything and you may also need to develop a new understanding about yourself. Especially if you are engrained in a paradigm that you haven,t even began to figure out”
That goes for me as well’‘
It takes 21-30 days to change a habit and thats only the start of it”

Urban Yogi

Rama Dass
Teacher of Power Meditation

Affirmations are like beautiful china or pretty clothes or exotic women. Even if they do not work you feel a lot better wearing them.

True. And affirmations are just one part of someone’s day. Someone mentioned how a person’s paradigm influences them. I think that is certainly true. Seeing the world as a place where you have many choices would be more useful than seeing it as a place where you have no choice. Or seeing your life as an ongoing adventure where you gain wisdom and make progress as opposed to a pointless merry-go-round. The mind sometimes needs to look deeply at where these paradigms come from. That is a bit deeper than affirmations but I see them as two complimentary techniques. The studies that say positive thinking isn’t useful don’t account for this. And people who are prone to use affirmations probably do give serious thought to their paradigms. So it really could be more of a win-win situation if you look at the bigger picture.

Creating by default VS Creating by design

Rama Dass
Teacher of Power Meditation

I like what Pema Chodron (Buddhist nun) has to say about ‘thinking.’ She says: “When I find myself beseiged by a field of negative thoughts, I pause and tell myself “Thinking…Just thinking” …
She goes on to say that this more or less puts ‘thinking’ in proper perspective. Not that we aren’t to be mnindful … but there is NO WAY that ANYONE can monitor each and every thought… you’d go plum El Nutso! :)
If we smother negative thoughts…they will grow…just like seeds…so keeping them in their ‘proper place’ helps me to realize, its all OK…easy and gently…I just say…I’m tired of thinking those thoughts and be glad when they are finished acting up! Sometimes I will inwardly yell STOP! … in public, this tends to have a strange effect on people!
What I’m trying to say (in a round about way! :) is what helps me the most is refusing to be afraid of negative thinking…This seems to help keep them away more from my mind’s door.

I often laugh at myself now when I catch myself becoming irritated at things. It is very freeing once we get in the habit of “observing” our thoughts. Eckhart Tolle’s book “A New Earth” really helped me a lot to get to where I am now.

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.
— Gandalf, J.R.R. Tolkien
I’m Alright
Life Less Ordinary

Why does negative thinking succeed? Unfortunately, negative thinking seems to be the way of the world. Some of it comes from the need to survive. When we are kids were are constantly told, “be careful” (the world is a dangerous place), or “don’t do that” (it is dangerous) and “no, no, no”. I guess that somewhere along the line “negative thinking” becomes the normal state. Many people are so used to the incessant, negative chatter going inside their own heads that they don’t even hear it anymore. We do know that we can change it, but it takes some effort. Another thing that comes to mind is “I know what to do, so why don’t I do it”. This is why I have been looking into motivation lately. I should find that old thread about creating a burning desire, probably some useful stuff there. I think also that we can sometimes (almost always) forget how powerful we are and we let our fears get the better of us.

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.
— Gandalf, J.R.R. Tolkien
I’m Alright
Life Less Ordinary

A few nice quotes

We cannot see things that stare us in the face
until the hour comes that the mind is ripened. “
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“It is a psychological law that
whatever we desire to accomplish we must impress
upon the subjective or subconscious mind.”
Orison Swett Marden

All you have to do is know where you’re going.
The answers will come to you of their own accord.”
Earl Nightingale

Rama Dass
Teacher of Power Meditation

Back again! :) I just wanted to add another thought about ‘positive thinking’ … I think one of the reasons that this concept seems to fail sometimes…is that a person doesn’t realize that they can’t jump from utter botoom depression to unmitigated bliss… That’s like running the Boston Marathon without taking the time to warm up or practice. :) Sometimes we are just plain too hard on ourselves. We just can’t take it all so seriously. Methinks.

Hi guys,

You have all made very important notes.

I’m sure this will help:-


‘When you learn, teach. When you get, give.
By Maya Angelou.

Love your work!
Sam Tautua

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