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Positive Thinking vs Power Thinking
Positive thinking is assuming a happy thought and focusing on it even if you know it’s not, or may not be objectively true. The best example is when you’re in a bad mood and you think or say to yourself “I’m happy!” You’re not happy, but you say it or focus on it anyway. Another common example is when you wake up in the morning and say “Today is going to be a great day!” It might actually be a good day, and it might not, and you know this when you say it. Positive thinking is effective. Numerous studies have shown that if you feel down but start saying you’re happy, thinking you’re happy, and acting like you’re happy, you will actually start to feel happier. At a minimum, you might feel less down. Therefore, I’m not going to say positive thinking is a bad thing. It’s a good thing. The problem is that it doesn’t always work. You can say “I’m happy!” a bunch of times and your brain can still respond with, “BS! No I’m not!” Your rational brain knows what you’re saying isn’t accurate, so it can reject it. Positive thinking is about thinking thoughts that you know aren’t objectively true. Power thinking is a little different. It’s about thinking positive thoughts that you acknowledge aren’t true. Power thinking submits to the concept that while these thoughts may not be true, if you’re going to create your own subjective (i.e. not objectively real) story, you might as well create one that’s empowering and positive instead of stressful or negative. Because you’re not trying to convince your brain that your thoughts/statements aren’t objectively true, you get no resistance. Your brain goes along with the positive delusion. Here are some of the ways I use power thinking: 1. Sometimes when I travel, and I look out over a vast mountain range or a beautiful nighttime cityscape, I will use power thinking, and think or say to myself, “This was ALL made for me. No one else. Just me!” 2. Sometimes when I go out on a date or prepare for a social evening, I will think or say, “I am literally the best looking man over 40 in my entire city!” 3. Often when I set financial goals or need a quick pump-me-up at work, I will say or think, “I have INFINITE wealth! I have all the money I need! Money flows to me effortlessly, and I ALWAYS have as much as I want! Are any of these things objectively true? Nope. But that’s why it works. I’m not trying to convince my brain of anything objective. I’m just helping it follow the path of a happy story in an attempt to keep myself happy and motivated. This is why power thinking is more effective than positive thinking. Nothing wrong with positive thinking of course, but power thinking is much better.
This article was originally published on June 13, 2015