Positive thinking works – but only if you believe it

I believe that a lot of life is a big confidence game.

From sport to public speaking, to work, to relationships I have found that self-belief goes a long way. I call it my confidence trick and it’s worked very well for me.

The Economist has an article outlining experimental results that suggest positive thinking can leave you worse off – if you don’t believe the positive thoughts.

Read the article for details of the experiment, but in short the results were:

  • High self-esteem => benefit from positive thoughts
  • Low self-esteem => worse off because of positive thoughts!

The article goes on to suggest that the positive thoughts clash with the self beliefs of those with low self-esteem thereby reinforcing those negative self-perceptions!

Positive thought - works if you believe itSo, positive thoughts do help – but only if you believe them.

Pott’s confidence trick has experimental support!

Incidentally, I think that this is the reason that religion is beneficial to many. Religion is a positive thoughts believability engine. The problem is that it so often gets co-opted into ignorant or political ends.

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  • Martyn Field

    “There is no ‘out there’, the only reality is that which we create for ourselves”

  • Christopher Gamble

    Positive Thinking people tend to brush away any thought of negativity or risk. They just keep going leaving a trail of destruction and unhhappines in other and then ignore them becuae they considerr thjem negative people and carry on in the arrogant beliefvev that beacuse they are positive they must be right!
    For every positive there is a negative…scientific fact.
    Being positive is a tool for success and so is avoiding negativity but they are two different things.
    In startegy formation and planning threat and wekanesses as risk are as important as opportunity and strenghths. Ignore the risks and there’s a greater chance of failure.
    Positive thinking and the laws of attraction are imbalanced concepts that in practivce are inconsiderate to the concerns others and are irresponsible in terms of recklessness.
    Omn the other hand pessimism is equally so.
    There is a continuum between everything poositive and negative, good and bad, fast and slow, open and closed, hot and cold, plus and minus and each problem and relationship will have unique perspectives that require different inputs along this contuum scale.
    In terms of life this is BALANCE or equilibrium. however a balanced person or manager is often perceived as passive and ineffective due to a bias towrds positive thinking in business culture,n
    Better tahn to refer to ASSURITY. Cinfidence that is based on a good balanced persepecrtibe of opportunity and threat and the emotional needs of others