Productive AssumptionsA productive assumption is an assumption that is designed to make you productive. This doesn't need to be demonstrably or strictly true. For example, the assumption that the universe wants to see you succeed such that any challenges you face are its way of nudging you in the right direction. Even if this doesn't turn out to be true, it may shape your behavior in productive ways.
GratitudeTaking time to express gratitude and to be thankful for things. For example, considering your ancestors back for many generations who struggled and survived to make you possible.
WonderRegularly considering the wonder of things is a positive thought process that can provide perspective. For example, cultivating an interest in things like philosophy, nature, science, technology, culture, history, music, film and art that tend to inspire a sense of wonder.
Forward ThinkingThinking about possibilities and potential. For example, the common practice of viewing problems as opportunities.
ImaginationForward thinking requires imagination. For example, the opportunity in a problem is rarely obvious such that it requires a creative jump to see it. As such, carefully nurturing your imagination with pursuits such as play and creative expression can benefit positive thinking.
Risk TakingPositive thinking calls for calculated risk taking. For example, taking steps to achieve the things that you need as opposed to passively lamenting that you don't have these things now.
DisciplineDiscipline is the ability to get things done, even where you aren't feeling particularly motivated. Risk taking without discipline is unlikely to work out well.
Do GoodIn your plans to take calculated risks to seize opportunity, consider making things better for everyone. This will feel good and produce more positive thinking in a virtuous cycle.goals secret as talking about all the great things you're going to do tends to decrease your motivation to actually do things.
UnaffectednessA sure way to fail at optimism is to look for constant validation from others. Optimism requires self confidence, resilience and risk taking whereby you are willing to be misunderstood. Worrying too much about how you are perceived is likely to make you vulnerable to the negative emotions of others. Conversely, if you are constantly complimented by those around you, it likely to generate vanity, smugness or overconfidence. Consider looking at yourself in a realistic light, accepting yourself and working to be indifferent to any unfair negativity that you may face.
Maybe Good, Maybe BadDeferring negative judgements and avoiding them where they are unnecessary. People have a tendency to constantly evaluate people, places, ideas, events and things into categories of bad and good. Such judgements are often overly simplistic as they may be based on limited information and neglect grey areas and potential. Consider the following story.
Once upon a time there was a Chinese farmer who lost a horse. And all the neighbors came around that evening and said "That's too bad."
And he said "Maybe."
The next day the horse came back and brought seven wild horses with it. And all the neighbors came around and said "Why, that's great, isn't it?"
And he said "Maybe."
The next day his son was attempting to tame one of these horses and was riding it and was thrown and broke his leg. And all the neighbors came around in the evening and said "Well, that's too bad, isn't it."
And the farmer said "Maybe."
The next day the conscription officers came around looking for people for the army and they rejected his son because he had a broken leg. And all the neighbors came around in the evening and said "Isn't that wonderful?"
And he said "Maybe."
~ Alan Watts, Lecture On Zen, 1960
StoicismStoicism is the philosophy that it is not good luck or bad luck that matters but rather your virtuous response to each situation. This is positive thinking as it focuses completely on that which is within your ability to control such that you are indifferent to circumstances.
Defensive PessimismDefensive pessimism is the practice of using a negative point of view to manage risk and to temper unbridled optimism that is likely to be unrealistic. Pessimism and optimism aren't mutually exclusive but can be used in stages to solve a problem or make a decision. For example, it is common to use positive thinking to brainstorm ideas and defensive pessimism to validate these ideas. There is no reason for positive thinking to leave you out of touch with reality. It is usually the risk takers who know the most about risk management.
Positive Thinking vs OptimismPositive thing and optimism are close to being synonymous. However, positive thinking implies a conscious effort to direct your thoughts in positive ways. Optimism suggests a habit, emotion or personality trait that occurs spontaneously.
|Overview: Positive Thinking
The embrace of the potential and bright side of every situation.