We hear a lot about how positive thinking can help your business and your life. While you do want to be a positive person, and while you want to have confidence in yourself, sometimes positive thinking can actually get in the way of success.
There are a couple of reasons that positive thinking can slow you down in the long run. No, you don’t need to get all negative. But you do need to watch out for the pitfalls of positive thinking.
When Reality Collides with Positive Thinking
One of the issues, according to Psychology Today, is that it’s possible to fool yourself with positive thinking. Sometimes, we just try to convince ourselves of an outcome, rather than seeing the realities. Maybe you convince yourself that you will close a deal or that you will give a successful presentation.
Both of these are great outcomes, and you want to think positively. However, what happens if something goes wrong? Psychology Today points out that when beliefs and experiences don’t match, we inevitably become frustrated and confused.
Instead of just using positive thinking, the idea is to evaluate whether or not there is evidence for your belief. Why do you think you’ll close the deal? Have you worked hard on it? Do you know your potential business partner well?
Make sure your positive thinking is grounded in reality. Consider alternatives, and think about different plans you can follow, just in case Plan A doesn’t work out.
Prepare yourself for positive outcomes, and be ready to seize opportunities when they arrive. But don’t let positive thinking become the norm if you don’t have evidence to support the belief that everything will come out fine.
Complacency and Positive Thinking
Another problem with positive thinking is that it promotes complacency. According to different research studies, dreaming about the future and thinking about it positively calms you down. When you fantasize about happy outcomes, you end up with physical results that keep you from moving forward.
Research indicates that dreaming positively about what’s next calms you down and reduces your blood pressure. It also reduces your energy. Plus, thinking about a positive outcome provides you with a psychological reward that feels almost as good as reaching the goal.
With too much positive thinking, you feel sanguine about the future and your situation — and you might not actually put your plans to reach your goals into practice. According to one researcher writing in
According to one researcher writing in the New York Times, “Positive thinking fools our minds into perceiving that we’ve already attained our goal, slackening our readiness to pursue it.”
Sure, you want to think that the future will be bright. But you don’t want to fantasize so much about a positive future that you become complacent about today and get less done.
Positivity can be a great thing. Believing that you can reach your business and life goals is an important part of staying motivated. However, you need to be careful. Your positive thoughts need to be accompanied by plans to keep moving forward, and realistic check-ins to keep you on track.