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!
So, 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.