Is Positive Thinking a Waste of Time?

Incite Insights“I tried the positive thinking thing. It just didn’t work for me — affirmations, visualizations — I think it’s all a bunch of hooey.”

How many times have you heard this? Have you said it or thought it yourself?

The problem is that positive thinking isn’t some magic formula. It — GASP! — requires some effort.

A Typical Approach to Positive Thinking

  • Wake up, think positive thoughts, and say affirmations to self in the mirror.
  • During morning commute, listen to positive thinking CD’s.
  • Sit in cubicle all day with various Post-It’s stuck all around filled with affirmations.
  • Evening commute — listen to CD’s again.
  • Get home, eat something, and watch TV until bedtime.
  • Read “success” book in bed for a while, shut off light, say affirmations and do visualizations while drifting off to sleep.
  • Wake up, repeat.

Nice ritual. But see, here’s the problem. This person never actually does anything.

It’s an unfortunate fact that a lot of people expect that just by throwing a little positive thinking into their lives that opportunity is going to come beating down their door.

What makes it even harder, is that the occasional little blip of opportunity will appear, so it looks likes it’s working. But then there’s no follow through.

Believe me, I speak from experience. Years ago, I thought this is how it worked. I’d sit on the couch and positive think the hell out of things.

But we all know the saying about wishing in one hand and… Well, you know what you do in the other, and which fills up faster.

Contrary to what gurus tell you to get you to buy their books, movies, and seminars, positive thinking is not a silver bullet.

You have to take action.

Positive Thinking Is a Powerful Tool

Go to Lowes, buy a router, put it on your workbench next to some wood, and wish for a finished project in the morning — while you sleep.

It won’t happen unless you are infested with magic carpenter elves.

Positive thinking is an amazing tool, but without action it’s a waste of time.

Because positive thinking will keep you focused and determined, but positive action will get stuff done.


This post is part of the Think Positive! Blog group writing project.