Positive thinking

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Positive thinking? Does it work?

It works and I do it!
41
52%
I tried it and its bullshit!
18
23%
Never tried it but I think its should work
8
10%
Never tried it and think its bullshit
12
15%
 
Total votes: 79

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Positive thinking

Postby vrek » Tue Aug 28, 2007 4:46 pm UTC

I recently decided to actively be a more positive person(so I shocked my self with 240V :-)). I find it kinda difficult to do since I am so used to depressed almost emoish thought processes. I am still trying and refuse to give up. Most stuff I read basically says that while at the beginning(which I am at) it is hard but over time it will become natural if you stick it out(I will be good and not make any immature jokes to as part of this).

Has anyone hear tried to do this? Had it had any negative repercussions? Any positive stories? Anyone think the whole mind of matter thing is bullshit? Anyone convinced that with the proper thinking a kid from the ghetto can become a fortune 500 CEO but few do due to lack of proper influence? Basically anyone have anything to say?

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Postby davef » Tue Aug 28, 2007 4:50 pm UTC

Didn't vote.

New idea for a poll -

Are there too many damn polls already?

[ ] No, of course not, silly!
[ ] Damn right, there are (/is?).
[ ] Count Duckula.

(Sorry vrek, nothing personal.)
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Postby Phenriz » Tue Aug 28, 2007 4:54 pm UTC

i think it's bullshit, personally

thinking positive alone won't make your successful, you have to actually strive for something.
Last edited by Phenriz on Tue Aug 28, 2007 4:55 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby vrek » Tue Aug 28, 2007 4:54 pm UTC

I know what you mean but a poll is an easy way to judge the general idea without potentially having to read 10+ pages of discussion which is why I am a fan of polls.

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Postby Ketzerei » Tue Aug 28, 2007 5:00 pm UTC

It's hard to tell based on a single post, but I think I used to be in your situation. For me, it took two collosal failures staring me in the face to get me to go back and change my ways. I had to see for myself that I couldn't get what I wanted without getting up and going after it. I'm somewhat skeptical that you can fix yourself with just "positive thinking", but maybe it'll work for you when it didn't for me.

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Postby Master Gunner » Tue Aug 28, 2007 5:07 pm UTC

It works in that if you think you can do something, you are more likely to work towards it and be able to accomplish it. i.e. When starting up a new business, if you think it will fail, you aren't going to put a whole lot of effort into it, thus, it will fail. However, if you think it will succeed, and put your heart and soul into it, then obviously it will be more likely to succeed. It ain't magical, but positive thinking=more effort=better results, at least most of the time.

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Postby vrek » Tue Aug 28, 2007 5:11 pm UTC

well positive thinking is not "I am going to lose weight" and then sitting down and watching TV eating chips all day like it appears you guys think I am talking about.
Its more like thinking "I can lose weight and get in shape. I deserve to be healthy and look good. In order to achieve this I will go running for 2 miles".

Or another example would be looking for a job. Alot of people(myself included) see a job making decent money, working for someplace good and everything they want and think "I could never get that job. They have alot of people applying. I am not worthy of a job like that. I won't even waste my time and energy applying". A positive thinker will say "This job has a good salary and the company looks good to work for. I can do this. Even if I don't get hired I didn't lose anything and there is alot to gain from being hired. I am going to go apply immediately".

I hope this clarifies what I am talking about.

Edit: I just realised one of my poll options didn't post. The finale option was suppose to be "I am positive I am an otter". Thats really wierd!

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Postby Bugs » Tue Aug 28, 2007 5:26 pm UTC

Yes.

Positive thinking alone won't achieve a great deal, but it's important to be able to look ahead and think "I have as good a chance of success as anybody; here's my goal and this is how I plan to achieve it". It sounds obvious, but when contrasted with negative thinking ("I don't deserve to succeed; even if I did try I'd fail anyway") it can make a huge difference to your progress through life.

Many people recognise that a positive attitude is an important first step in improving yourself. Unfortunately, only a minority then remember to take the next few hundred steps, which involve bloody hard work.

I don't know about the rags to Fortune 500, but I know that my attitude (happy / depressed) makes a huge difference to how quickly I can plough toward finishing my PhD.
...or is it?

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Postby NinjaArcana » Tue Aug 28, 2007 5:34 pm UTC

I agree with Phenriz, merely thinking positive will not solve anything. I haven't really had positive thoughts about attaining my goals, but that's because I use, someone would say, unethical methods in attaing them. :twisted:

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Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Tue Aug 28, 2007 6:07 pm UTC

I believe that positive thinking can generate a more positive outcome- it's hard, though. I often have to remind myself to think positively about things, like going to the gym. It's gotten a lot easier the more I do it and the more I think, 'Wow, I feel really great whenever I go to the gym. I should go now."
And sometimes when people get down on me, myself included, I have to kind of shake myself, and repeat the mantra that good ol' Al Franken taught us all:
"I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!"
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Postby mjec » Tue Aug 28, 2007 6:22 pm UTC

Positive thinking has been constantly useless to me. This may be because I'm fairly crazy (no really, diagnosed mental illness ftw) but... state of mind just doesn't affect the way I function. The only thing I know is the incontrovertible truth that I can get shit done. I don't think of this as positive thinking because it's not that what I do will make a difference but I know that whatever it is I want to do it can be done with enough work. It's about belief in absolute free will and a conviction that sufficient work will create something. But the point is that it's something I do, rather than something that has an impact on the world at large.

As an example, I know I can run an education camp for high school kids - I've done it eight or ten times before. When I'm thinking positively I think I've changed the lives of hundreds of kids for the better. When I'm thinking negatively it's all just wank and didn't have any impact, but always I know my capabilities.

My $0.02 (relatively strong atm). And now I'm going to bed.
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Postby Bad Hair Man » Tue Aug 28, 2007 6:33 pm UTC

Does positive thinking work? The question is more than a little vague, but since there is something important postitive thinking can accomplish (that I have experience with even), I voted yes. In my outlook, I am "successful" (in a general, life's-purpose sense) only if I am happy. And posititive thinking can have a very strong effect on how a person feels.

What follows is the introduction to Chapter 9, Self-Talk, from The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook. Of all the chapters of that book I read, I found 9 to be the most useful by far.

Imagine two individuals sitting in stop-and-go traffic at rush hour. One perceives himself as trapped, and says such things to himself as "I can't stand this," "I've got to get out of here," "Why did I ever get myself into this commute?" What he feels is anxiety, anger, and frustration. The other perceives the situation as an opportunity to lay back, relax, and put on a new tape. He says such things to himself as "I might as well just relax and adjust to the pace of the traffic," or "I can unwind by doing some deep breathing." What he feels is a sense of calm and acceptance. In both cases, the situation is exactly the same, but the feelings in response to that situation are vastly different because of each individual's internal monologue, or self-talk.

The truth is that it's what we say to ourselves in response to any particular situation that mainly determines our mood and feelings. Often we say it so quickly and automatically that we don't even notice, and so we get the impression that the external situation "makes" us feel the way we do. But it's really our interpretations and thoughts about what is happening that form the basis of our feelings. This sequence can be represented as a timeline:

External Events ---> Interpretation of Events and Self-Talk ---> Feelings and Reactions

In short, you are largely responsible for how you feel (barring physiological determinants, such as illness). This is a profound and very important truth--one that sometimes takes a long time to fully grasp. It's often much easier to blame the way you feel on something or someone outside yourself than to take responsibility for your reactions. Yet it is through your willingness to accept that responsibility that you begin to take charge and have mastery over your life. The realization that you are mostly responsible for how you feel is empowering once you fully accept it. It's one of the most important keys to living a happier, more effective, and anxiety-free life.

Yes, positive thinking works. And it's important that you get those positive thoughts in before you react emotionally to an event or situation. (Takes practice, you've got to be fast. Basically you've got to practice enough that it becomes habitual.)

It does work though. I used to be so damn shy before I learned to overwrite the irrationally pessimistic and unnoticed thoughts I had of how people would react to me. Positive thinking does work, and likewise, negative thinking can screw you up so bad.

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Postby Rend » Tue Aug 28, 2007 6:49 pm UTC

I've been an optimist for most of my life, and judging by the part of my life whilst I was not, I would say a definite yes.

It was also hard for me at first, but there are a few reasons to think positive, and why it will help you in the long run.

1) You are more likely to pursue something you are positive about, and will generally put more effort into it if your thoughts are positive about it

2) You are more likely to keep going after a setback or other negative reinforcement. You are less likely to stop due to frustration and such.

3) Other people react much better toward you when you have a positive attitude. This much I see on a daily basis: Almost invariably, when someone with a decidedly more negative attitude than mine and I talk to the same person, my interactions are more helpful and fruitful.

Think positive, sir! You'll never regret it once you're there.
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Postby Rippy » Tue Aug 28, 2007 6:50 pm UTC

I don't think it changes anything around you, but it does change how YOU feel.

Like, if you have a crappy task to do, you just feel happier if you can think positively. I'm really not even much of an optimist, but I try not to dwell on things I don't like, and it seems to work for me.

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Postby aisling » Tue Aug 28, 2007 7:02 pm UTC

One day I decided I would just smile all day, and be friendly to everyone, and I got so many compliments, and people were so nice to me! But sometimes it's hard to be that upbeat, so I haven't done it since. I think I'll try again on the first day of school, start off with a good impression.

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Postby vrek » Tue Aug 28, 2007 7:20 pm UTC

Well in a few hours I will have my first real test of positive thinking. I have to go to probation(obviously filled with mostly less then desirable people, and dredges memories of why I my self am there) and also have to deal with my mom who is a extremely negative person(probably where I got most of mine from). It will also be the first time since I decided to do this that I am going out in public and talking to people when unlike on line I can't think "Thats too negative. You should not say that" and erase it, there is no way to 'unsay' what you have already said. This should be if nothing else educational. I think I can do it. No, actually fuck that! I KNOW I can do it. Everyone has a built in control for there mind no matter what is wrong with it everyone can have some form of control over it. I know I can control it and I know I can make this work.

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Postby OfficiallyHaphazard » Tue Aug 28, 2007 7:28 pm UTC

:D
good for you vrek

I think that positive thinking will encourage you to take more (good) risks, which will increase the probability that something good will happen...
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Postby Droooo » Tue Aug 28, 2007 7:45 pm UTC

"When I said I was a positive person, I meant HIV"

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Postby chaosspawn » Tue Aug 28, 2007 7:47 pm UTC

I'm fairly certain that the positive thinking method can work. After all, the placebo effect produces a noticeable difference in cure rates for diseases.
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Postby Hammer » Tue Aug 28, 2007 8:50 pm UTC

Positive thinking works a whole heck of a lot better than negative thinking.
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Postby scrt_rbt_agnt » Tue Aug 28, 2007 9:03 pm UTC

i would have to say that positive thinking is an important part of willpower. willpower is what causes things to happen, and positive thoughts on willpower ultimately make processes run nicely. it helps to clump some logic in there too sometimes, because positive thinking CAN BE BLINDING.

i yanked myself out of teen depression by forcing myself to be a positive thinker. i feel that if it can work for me, it can work for other people too (albeit not everyone). nowadays, i tend to think on a positive/logical scale. i am optimistic, but realistic as well. sometimes, i slip and get into a negative nancy mode when i'm not getting my way, but that's just because i can be a bit of a control freak sometimes.

(side note: my controlling attitude is a runoff of the positive thinking attitude, whereas i do not let other people bring me down and will do anything in my power to stop them from doing so)
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Postby dagron » Tue Aug 28, 2007 9:39 pm UTC

I've found my attitude has little to no bearing on how things work out for me.

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Postby Phenriz » Tue Aug 28, 2007 9:58 pm UTC

dagron wrote:I've found my attitude has little to no bearing on how things work out for me.


ding ding ding, but a good attitude makes shitty things easier to swallow.
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Postby lone_psychonaut » Tue Aug 28, 2007 10:05 pm UTC

I won't say "it works" or "it doesn't" since you aren't really asking what it works for.

Your perception of reality is made up of your interpretations of your senses. Most of these interpretations are shared with others, but some aren't. But usually, for the sake of comfort and sanity, we like to keep our interpretations of "Life, the Universe, and Everything" in line with those who are around us.

That said, I would say that having a positive outlook for yourself will make your "reality" positive, and that will show through in your actions. During some bad stressful times I've put this into practice at work, and as far as I could tell, the general moods of both coworkers and customers did lift, and then I fed off that, and the day was good.

Now, as far as watching The Secret subsequently developing a strong connection with The Force, I wouldn't bet on it.
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Postby kilgore trout » Tue Aug 28, 2007 10:13 pm UTC

Positive thinking only works if it is followed by positive action.

If you want to quit smoking you won't get very far just thinking positive thoughts. Your odds of quitting will increase if you take actions to quit-get the patch, chew gum, take up a new hobby, get a support group etc.

I find positive thinking to be a real benefit to me, but it is only a benefit when I follow through with those positive thoughts.

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Postby jack » Tue Aug 28, 2007 10:21 pm UTC

Exactly. Positive thinking is good, but not as good as doing.

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Postby recurve boy » Wed Aug 29, 2007 12:49 am UTC

jack wrote:Exactly. Positive thinking is good, but not as good as doing.


Yes, but if you don't think you can succeed in the first place, you never will.

I find it kinda difficult to do since I am so used to depressed almost emoish thought processes. I am still trying and refuse to give up. Most stuff I read basically says that while at the beginning(which I am at) it is hard but over time it will become natural if you stick it out(I will be good and not make any immature jokes to as part of this).


Go out, do stuff. This may mean finding new people to do stuff with. But I used to be more on the depressed side (and too much alcohol is still bad) but I am always better when I am doing stuff. Sport is good. It doesn't have to be really physical. Maybe you'll enjoy lawn bowls just for kicks.

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Postby Castaway » Wed Aug 29, 2007 1:10 am UTC

dagron wrote:I've found my attitude has little to no bearing on how things work out for me.

Me too. I tend to take things in stride, only because it's a pain in the ass to relive bad stories to people.
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Postby Shadow Tyrant » Wed Aug 29, 2007 2:07 am UTC

Positive thinking is a let-down. If you think "Oh, this will happen!" And it doesn't, you'll be disappointed. But if you think "It's never going to happen" and it doesn't, you won't be disappointed. However, if it does happen, you'll be happier. It's win/win.

Though in the end, it doesn't matter what you think, as long as you're at least trying.

But that's just me. What do I know?
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Postby Marlo » Wed Aug 29, 2007 2:16 am UTC

I tried positive thinking while walking through Spain. Didn't help at all. My feet still hurt and my bag still weighed 40 lbs. A huge burger and new insoles -- that worked.
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Postby recurve boy » Wed Aug 29, 2007 2:36 am UTC

Shadow Tyrant wrote:Positive thinking is a let-down. If you think "Oh, this will happen!" And it doesn't, you'll be disappointed. But if you think "It's never going to happen" and it doesn't, you won't be disappointed. However, if it does happen, you'll be happier. It's win/win.

Though in the end, it doesn't matter what you think, as long as you're at least trying.

But that's just me. What do I know?


It's not about being blindly optimistic. It's more about being realistic and setting up your goals so that you can achieve them.

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Postby Marbas » Wed Aug 29, 2007 2:48 am UTC

Pessimism is convenient and easy.

Also, if you are surprised, it's almost always pleasantly.
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Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Wed Aug 29, 2007 3:10 am UTC

Marbas wrote:Pessimism is convenient and easy.

Also, if you are surprised, it's almost always pleasantly.


This is, sadly enough, usually my approach to life. As long as I don't get my hopes up about anything, things usually turn out OK.
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Postby Bakemaster » Wed Aug 29, 2007 3:43 am UTC

davef wrote:Are there too many damn polls already?

[ ] No, of course not, silly!
[x] Damn right, there are (/is?).
[x] Count Duckula.
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Postby Barbie » Wed Aug 29, 2007 6:02 am UTC

I believe in thinking realistically, which is usually pretty similar to positive thinking, but it keeps you from making stupid decisions. Fully understanding risks and making informed decisions will probably have better outcomes than thinking positively and completely ignoring the risks.

That said, I find people around me generally try to perpetuate the impression that achievement is really difficult. I imagine this is either to to engrain into society an excuse for their lack of ambition. or to make themselves feel heroic for achieving something. These are limitations that are imposed on us are often very exaggerated.

Thinking you can achieve something is not necessarily positive, it's often just realistic.

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Re: Positive thinking

Postby pulltheotherone » Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:42 am UTC

I fail at positive thinking.

In theory I do believe that thinking positively will make it easier to achieve things in life that will make you happier, or at least make it easier to take action to achieve those things, although I wouldn't say thinking negatively makes this impossible. Stuff happens. Shit happens. Sometimes you can influence it, sometimes you cannot.

The point has also been made that, regardless of wether it has any influence, thinking positively will generally have you feeling happier. I can't help but think that this is offset by any disappointments you might incur when the world turns out not to be as positive as you had imagined (i.e. when shit happens). However, this is probably the path of the dark side...

In summary, I would say that "Most probably, thinking positively has a more benificial impact on one's general disposition in life than thinking negatively would have."

That being said, whenever I try positive thinking, I find myself automatically sinking back into reflexive pessimistic thoughts of cynicism, bitterness and general gloominess. It's comfortable, safe even. It's sort of a default mode of operation for me.

So, which option in the poll should I choose now? :?

vrek wrote:I recently decided to actively be a more positive person(so I shocked my self with 240V :-)).


Where did you get 240V from? I had inferred from your earlier posts that you were stateside...

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Postby Amicitia » Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:50 am UTC

Omit the 'positive,' and you've got a winning plan there.

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Postby evilbeanfiend » Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:33 am UTC

it certainly works for recovering from illness http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placebo_(o ... nical_term)

although you want proper medical attention first obviously
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Postby CorranH » Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:50 am UTC

Yes. It's just a matter of focus, and determination. Decide what you want, and then go for it. "We can each sit and wait to die, from the very day of our births. Those of us who choose not to do so, choose to ask - and to answer - the two questions that define every conscious creature: What do I want? and What will I do to get it? Which are, finally, only one question: What is my will? Caine teaches us that the answer is always found within our own experience; our lives provide the structure of the question, and a properly phrased question contains its own answer.

It's a matter of determination. Simply choose, and act. If you are determined enough, you will find a way, and things will happen. "Like throwing a punch. Focus. Directed energy. Concentration. No fear. The release of desire. Presence . . . Anyone can use it, just like anyone with arms can throw a punch. You're better at it, that's all. You strip away the nonessentials. How hard can you hit if you worry about breaking your hand? How well can you fight if you worry about losing?"

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Postby Amicitia » Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:54 am UTC

Personally, I find skepticism to be incredibly fulfilling. I don't like Horatio Alger though.


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