Positive thinking is a dangerous trap. Many people that espouse twee little motivational sound bites have no idea of of the damage they are causing to themselves and others.
There is Only Feedback
Anyone that says Feedback is a Gift will never be invited round to my house for Christmas. I don’t really have a problem with positive thinking…I have a problem with people that don’t actually know what it means. It is easier to illustrate through an example.
Let’s take a typical motivational phrase that I hear a lot:
There is no Failure only Feedback
What this is about is reframing the idea of failure. Normally people think of failure as a bad thing, they feel bad about failing and it is associated with finality and giving up. Feedback is about getting information and using it to correct your approach so you are constantly correcting as you head for success.
Where is the harm in any of that?
This is all fine if this was what people did. But the reality is what people generally do is replace the label. They take all the bad feelings, negativity and bad associations they have with failure and change the label to feedback. So now they have all the same things but they just call it feedback instead.
A Different Approach to Get the Result
My version of positive thinking is to have some clearer thought about what the labels actually mean. For example I think failure is a good word to use. Sometimes I fail at things. I fail to get things done on time or on budget. Sometimes I over extend myself and I fail to keep some of the promises I make.
The only difference is that I recognise failure as part of life, part of the journey towards success. Think on it this way all growth, development and real success comes from stepping outside of your comfort zone. If you are operating outside of your comfort zone stumbling through failure points is inevitable, desirable and an important part of success.
So every time you fail you should let out a huge cheer and leap up and down in excitement because you are one huge step closer to success.
Reframe the Labels
Can you see what we did there? Instead of relabeling the feelings we reframed the labels. If you do either properly the results are the same. Feedback that keeps you moving in the right direction would have the same results as my reframe for failure. But what I see is more about just calling failure feedback and not doing anything about the thoughts and feelings that are associated with the words.
So What is Positive Thinking?
When you realise that the words we use are just labels to describe a set of internal representations you have a huge amount of power over your critical thinking.
Once you realise that those labels are filters through which we experience our world you can start to shape and change your experience just through how you use those filters.
And once you understand how that works you can do the same with anyone else.
This is what the Advanced Persuasion Patterns course is really about. Click through and find out more here: