Positive thinking – is it over-hyped?

There’s been some discussion in the press recently about the use of positive thinking and affirmation statements being over-hyped.

In essence, there’s nothing wrong with positive thinking or reading affirmations. Either technique can indeed inspire or motivate people and make them feel good. So what's wrong with this?

A sales person reading an affirmation statement, such as ‘today will be a great day and I will get that big sale’, may motivate him or her to make cold calls, follow up with prospects or meet with that tricky client to ask for the sale. But it’s no guarantee that any of these actions will make that big sale.

This is where the resilient or optimistic mindset is important. A person with an optimistic mindset who doesn’t get the big sale will be able to isolate the causes of not achieving their goal. In other words, they will identify what was within their control and what wasn't. Putting in the effort was in their control, but the prospective buyer’s decision wasn’t.

By all means, read your affirmation statements if that's what you like to do, particularly if they motivate or inspire you to take action. But don't be fooled into a false sense of accomplishment. Each and every day you may face set-backs or obstacles, but knowing how to deal with the negative events sets high achievers apart from the average.

So if you want to move from just feeling good to getting results, focus on the things within your control or influence and learn to accept the things beyond.

Note: A more extensive version of this article was published by "The Punch" and can be found at here.