Positive thinking - fact or fantasy?

@coffeebreak (17820)
United States
December 16, 2007 8:33pm CST
While I think it really helps in completing a task if you think positively, I think also, that to much thinking postively prohibits you from thinking about things that could go wrong or happen wrong so that you can make provisions for that while you work on the project. However, I also know that all the best thinking in the world isn't a guarentee things will go right or all will work out just cause you think positively. My life's experience makes me think positively WHILE I work to address as many angles as possible to makem y project sucessful, however, that is where it ends. It also probably helps to keep a positive attitude instead of always thinking gloom and doom, even tho gloom and doom are what you face every day.So, how far do you take positive thinking? I hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Anyone got any comments?
8 people like this
19 responses
@Pose123 (21667)
• Canada
17 Dec 07
Hi coffeebreak, I really believe in positive thinking, and I think this business of hope for the best but plan for the worst defeats the whole purpose. Positive thinking is the attitude that things will work out for the best. Sure lots of things go wrong in life, but a positive thinker knows that it's not going to stay that way. Blessings.
3 people like this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
17 Dec 07
But not everything works out for the best and here you are positively thinking it will all be fine. When it isn't, then what do you do? YOu haven't planed for another route or plan B or anyting. YOur positive hopes are smashed. But Hope for the best, plan for the worst only means that you did the best you could with what you had, and you hope it works out, but when it doesn't, because you've planned for it, you are in better shape to deal with it. Your hopes were not all up in the air to be popped! IF it turns out good, then you can happily deal with that with no planning, but if they turn out bad, you didn't get your hoopes up so they didn't get crushed and you don't have to deal first with picking yourself up off the ground to start over. You don't have to deal with that pain of loss as you didn't bank on it. Not saying to stay defeated all the time, but realistically, you really should plan for what will happen if the worst does so you can be that much ahead and ready to jump on it when it fails.
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Dec 07
There are a great deal of positive thinkers out there that would say that if you use the hope for the best plan for the worst type of thinking you are limiting your future. By not being truly positive you aren't willing to hope for things that are outside of the realities you have faced in life. You have limited your self by thinking there was going to be a down side. If you are a true positive thinker, you roll with the punches. Sure life happens. You think positively and when it doesn't work out you get back up and think positive some more. Of course I am a pessimist! Positive thinking is often out of my grasp, but having spent a great deal of time reading about it from people who have made a fortune and done extraordinary things, I must say positive thinking, true positive thinking is the way to free yourself from the ordinary and seek something greater then that.
2 people like this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
18 Dec 07
But thinking positive can't be done ifyou don't have the tools needed to make the fortunes. You can sit is a chair all day long nad think positive thoughts, positive thinking, positive senarios...but unless you get up and do something to put all those thoughts in motion, positive thinking will not do it for you. Therefore, positive thinking is just a first step - like the blue print. What you do with that blue print determines if you suceed, not the fact that you thought positive about it all ... ??
• United States
17 Dec 07
Well, I hope for the best for all my family and friends and I know things will go wrong for me. In other words, I am an optimist for everyone else but me.I am a pessimist for myself. You know that glass question. You see a glass filled half way. do you see it half empty or half full. Well I see it half empty with a hole in the bottom.I guess a normal person would hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Well I expect the worst and I am surprised if the best happens.
2 people like this
• United States
17 Dec 07
D'oh.I didn't really answer the question. I think positive thinking could work as long as you prepare for things that could go wrong.I could never use it but I do believe it could work.
1 person likes this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
17 Dec 07
My point exactly. I am just like you - half empty, filled only with positive thinking..no matter how hard I try! ! CAn't figure it out!
2 people like this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
18 Dec 07
Exactly - prepare for things that might go wrong... hope for the best, but plan for the worst - why is that not positive thinking? Seems rather intelligent to me. Just cause you thought positively about it all, doesn't mean it is going to turn out positive or be a sucess!
1 person likes this
@Sissygrl (10915)
• Canada
17 Dec 07
I think although its a good idea to think positively, i always try to think realistically. I know you can't always predict what's going to happen, but like you said you got to try to think about all angles when planning something. cause ANYTHING can happen, and murpheys law dictates anything that can go wrong will go wrong when you dont plan for it!
2 people like this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
17 Dec 07
Maybe it should be "think positive" but don't count on it. Yes, keep a positive attitude while doing it but once done, don't get your hopes up to high cause sure as it can suceed, it can fail. Why not cover your bases and give a little plan for the failure to try to put it back together again. Yeah, Murpheys Law says it all! And life is just 50/50. Why give your hopes and dreams more than realistically they can handle?
2 people like this
@Sissygrl (10915)
• Canada
17 Dec 07
This murphey person really makes me mad sometimes though!!
1 person likes this
@moneyandgc (3430)
• United States
17 Dec 07
I try my best to think positively, but my husband tells me that I am an eternal pessimest. I prefer to call myself a realist! Rarely am I wrong when I say that something is going to turn out badly. Sometimes I really wish I would be wrong though!
2 people like this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
18 Dec 07
Realist - that is me. I am that same way too. I have had to much "bad luck" if that is what you want to call it, to be to sure-footed in positive thinking. I dont' think the worst, Just prepare for it, as 9 times out of 10 it will happen, no matter how much positive thinking I do. I think it is more intelligent thinking that is mandatory, more than positive thinking.
1 person likes this
@my52cents (569)
• United States
17 Dec 07
I think it boils down to attitude. You can hope for the best and plan for the worst but still have a bad attitude. You can have a positive attitude and still have bad things happen. It's how you handle both the bad and the good things in life that matters. I've heard it said, Pray like it's all up to God, then work like it's all up to you. That's good, too, as long as you listen to and watch for the answers to your prayers and work accordingly. It's much easier to think positively if you have God on your side, always there to fall back on, whether or not things go the way you think they should or not. Good thing is that He'll forgive even a bad attitude and stinkin' thinkin' and help you have a better outlook, thinking positively about life, if you ask Him to!
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
18 Dec 07
I agree with all that, but it is God's will, not yours. It is God's desire for your life, not yours. What happens when you have a positive attitude, postive thinking and just all about it all...if it is not something that is in God's will for you, you will not suceed. So you don't suceed, yet you were 150% positive, great attitude, the whole enchillada and you didn't suceed. Then what?
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Dec 07
By nature, I don't think positively. Too many things have gone wrong for me to even think positive. However, positive thinking sometimes can be good, if you think of the goal of intention and you want to call something good to you, positive thinking is usually the way to go. However, thinking about things in a positive light does not mean that things won't go bad and that something won't happen to change everything. I just don't think positive anymore because I tried it all the time when I was younger, and nothing ever turned out right, so I'm pretty jaded.
2 people like this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
18 Dec 07
Know exactly where you are coming from...ergo my question. i think positively for everything I do. But haven't suceeded at anything, so to speak. I do the best I can with what I got and then just hope it plays out well, but in the meantime, I figure how to fix what is broken.
1 person likes this
@drannhh (15241)
• United States
17 Dec 07
I positively consider all the possibilities while going around acting like a Pollyanna. I am an optiminist, not an idiot, believing that good things do happen, but they don't "just happen" as we make them happen. Is that what you mean?
2 people like this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
17 Dec 07
That is exactly what I mean, the way I see it. Hope for the best but plan for the worst. DO the best you can with what you have and be ready to go fix it, should the best not happen. But if you haven't prepared yourself for the worst, when it happens you'll be that much farther back to have to catch up and deal with the fall out.
1 person likes this
@irh888 (35)
• Indonesia
17 Dec 07
I rather think zero. not negative not positive, but do the best. example, if we do the exam, we study, try answer the best, but never think about how much school grade we'll get.
2 people like this
• Philippines
17 Dec 07
positive thinking create positive things, make outlook bearable when things are hopeless
2 people like this
• India
17 Dec 07
You do have a good point there. As it is we humans are prone to gloat over our little achievements and glorify them to all who would care to listen. Complacency has been the downfall of many a great men and women yet we do not take lessons from them. Practical implications should never be lost sight of while thinking positively. Thinking positively definitely does not mean that just because I have a training in mountaineering, I can climb Mt. Everest. Thinking positively means that accepting the challenge of the climb, taking a stock of situations (both self and internal) and backing off if I feel that it would be physically too challenging for me or planning meticulously so that I am prepared of any and every emergency on the way. Thinking negatively would be to throw up one’s hands even before taking stock of the situations and saying that I cant do it.
1 person likes this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
17 Dec 07
Very nicely stated. Let me ask you to go further. backing off when you feel it would be physically to challenging - is that positive thinking or negative thinking? Could be said you are not thinking positivelyif you make yourself stop, but if you make yourself stop you are thinking negatively. To me it is neither, just intelligence taking control! So maybe my question should be - positive/negative thinking or simply thinking intelligently or stupidly? I think you made the right decisioN!
1 person likes this
• India
18 Dec 07
yes, very correct. it should always be practical thinking on all issues. i just cant take on everything everywhere everytime. I would burn myself out if I do so without proper planning and evaluation of situations.
@somesh1984 (1299)
• India
18 Dec 07
Positive thinking I belive is one of the best things a human can give himself.However there are situation in which you may feel bit depressed and it may lead you to think in a different direction.So, apart from positive thinking, a person always need to take care of all risk around him and should also consider the worst case.Suppose if you think positive and invest in share market,you may loose money and should have a strong back to recover in case worst happenns.
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
19 Dec 07
That's exactly what I mean. Do the best you can with whay you have, then hope for the best, but plan for the worst.If your investment pays off, great. No problem, But if it doesn't, do you have a plan to recoop that money? To live without it if you loose it? To compensate where you got it from? And if you loose - did you or did you not think positively enough? I think realistictly and then positively while I do whatever it is I do. But thinking positively that you can pick up a refridgerator on your own, isn't going to be all you need to do so. You need the intelligence to think that you can't possibly pick it up on your own, so let's think positively as to how we can go about it. And if there is no way, then you just re-adjust...do I really want it picked up or maybe just scoot it over...and the intelligence kicks in over the positive thinking.
@cwilson26 (2736)
• United States
17 Dec 07
I have read so many times about positive thinking. I do think positive but it does not always help. They say the more positive you think the better but that is not always true. Of course I will never be like my dad who is always thinking and talking negative. I have learned that even though things seem pretty bad that a lot of other people have it worse off than me so I need to be thankful for what I do have and not to worry about what I don't have. I have also learned that even though things seem as bad as they do that something good is usually right around the corner. :)
1 person likes this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
18 Dec 07
I believe in being positive and not negative too. But like you said, it doesnt' always help, but if you are at least positive, it is easier to think and deal with the problem at hand. If you are negative, you can't figure any options, ways out or alternative plans. Be thank ful for what you do have. It could always be worse. But that only goes so far. My dad is a over-positive thinker or maybe just a "don't care about it anyway" person. no matter how bad the situation is he will give a 'worse" situation. I was facing not having a home, and he says, "well, at least you'll have the curb as a pillow" and he expected me to be "uplifted" by knowing I at least have a pillow! There's a limit to it all!! But think positive, and it helps you think more intelligently. Think negative, and you won't be able to think at all! But don't count on it until it happens!
1 person likes this
• India
17 Dec 07
Positive thinking makes mind comfortable and rejuvenates our inner strength to do something.When ones think that this work he cant do , he looses his confidence and find unable to do work.but with positive thinking he get power and he feel he half work in done.people should never think that he cant do any work . he should think that it is possible for his though it require great effort, but not impossible for me.i think this is the best way to handle tough situation. smile and do work with confidence .whats your opinion.
1 person likes this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
17 Dec 07
But what happens when you do all that - smile and work with confidence, rejuvenate inner strength, etc - and you fail? A time or two,here and there. no problem, but what happens when it happens continually? What would you do? What happens when you are always seeing other do the same thing with little to no "effort" while you are working so hard, and it works for them and not you? What do you do then?
1 person likes this
• India
17 Dec 07
Hi coffeebreak, It is like this: You must eat to live, because living is more important.Likewise being positive or optimistic is a must if you have to complete your tasks.Some times we were forced to eat what we don't like even though what we are eating is bitter one. The same way at times we have to face failure even though our plan of action is right. So,the question on how far one has to think positively does not arise at all and we have to think positively always throughout our life.
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
17 Dec 07
I agre with that. Why think the worst if you have the choice to think the best. But how much does thinking the best 'benefit' you - you still have a 50/50 chance of failing and it is easy when you suceed, dont' need to plan for that. But if you fail and you hadn't thought you would, it is really hard to pick up the pieces, so if you hadn't banked on sucess, and planned for that other 50%, you are at least that much farther in putting things back to gether.
1 person likes this
@eyewitness (1577)
• Netherlands
17 Dec 07
Well it's true about positive thinking it does work if you believe in it.Your mind is powerful if you wish someone to get harmed he can get harmed because of your anger.That's why they always say be carefull what you wish you it might can come through. I've experienced that when i was positive thinking i got more positive things when i belived in it then when i didn't. If you're negative you will have more negative people around you and when you're positive you will have more positive people around you. Because if you are positive you can see it in the look of your face that you're feeling good.When you see someone with an angry face he will see more people with the same looks on their face.
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
17 Dec 07
I am far from negative. I am positive. Dont' see how you can do anything thinking the worst from the git-go. but still, positive thinking doesn't control life. Things happen good or bad whether you think positively or negatively. Thinking positively can only help you through it, it can't make it go your way. And what happens when you spent all your time and effort thinking positively and the worst happens? Out of the blue, you are thrown the worst...if you have only planned for the best you will be in a world of hurt and turmoil whenyou have to pick up the pieces and start over. Granted if it only happens now and thne, you wouldn't be so conecerneda bout it, but what about when it happens over and over and over and over - no matter how positive you are... then what?
1 person likes this
@geekut (26)
• Azerbaijan
17 Dec 07
possitive thinkins is a very good habit it help to play a very good role in our charecter
@Savvynlady (3686)
• United States
19 Dec 07
I may not know all the things about positive thinking, but I think that life comes with good and bad, so all things will not be good, but in things that have negativity, then the best thing is to handle it without getting negative as possible. I recommend "The Power of Positive Thinking" by Norman Vincent Peale. Peace.
@arkaf61 (10882)
• Canada
19 Dec 07
Like you I try to keep positive thinking in perspective. It's not enough to just think positive, we still have to work for what we want to achieve or what we wish to happen. Of course if we start any task thinking that it's not going to work, we're deemed to failure as well. Balance in everything I say :) And positive thinking as well, while keeping in mind the things that can go wrong so we can be prepared for them :)
@JoyfulOne (6242)
• United States
18 Dec 07
I think there's a lot of truth in postive thinking. Our sub-conscious thoughts can and do affect our health. (There have been many studies on this.) If a person thinks negatively all the time, they may get ulcers, depression, and all matter of real medical ills. Our brain controls our body, and whether we are aware of it or not, what we tell ourselves is stored in our sub-conscious, and like an old record it keeps replaying over and over. I'm a hospice nurse, and I see the effects of positive thinking all the time...the cancer patient who has been told they will only last a while longer, and yet goes on for many more months (or years) to the amazement of their health personnel. (I have a friend who was supposed to go within 3 months from his cancer, yet he's lived 11 more years! And yes, he IS a positive thinker.) Maybe positive thinking will not always bring about the results, but having a better positive outlook is still healthier than giving in to negative thoughts and depression. Just my little opinion as a cancer survivor myself who was supposed to be 'took quick' 6 years ago, and had one form of cancer totally disappear without treatment (much to the amazement of all my medical personnel.) So yes, I DO think there is a lot to be said for positive thinking.