Positive Thinking Sucks

Screw Positive Thinking

Positive thinking is the ability to create and sustain an uplifting emotional state within yourself by thinking about the sweetest thing of all; the success.

You want to be successful, don’t you? Whether you’re tying up your shoe or going for Olympic gold, you want to taste the success.

But I’ll say screw it! Not success, obviously, as I like my shoe tied-up; screw positive thinking.

However, I must stress that positive thinking is better than negative, for sure. Imagine grabbing your laces and being like: no, it’s just not going to work. Yet even negative attitudes might not stop you succeeding, but it will slow you down at least.

There is something that negative and positive thinking have in common; they are two ends of the same delusional stick.

It’s quite simple. If you’re aiming for promotion or want to hit a new record high of productivity you need to keep thinking positively, right? You actually need to believe that you can do it and there is substantial scientific proof it pays off.

One of the best-known studies has been done by Robert Rosenthal in 1964. He gave elementary school teachers the standard IQ tests and explained that this actually was the Harvard Test of Inflected Acquisition. This was a very special test that had the ability to predict which kids were about to achieve exceptional results.

After the test, he would randomly pick several children and told their teachers that these kids were going to show intellectual brilliance any time now.

Extraordinary Attention Equals Extraordinary Results

Knowing this, teachers paid extra attention to those pupils. They gave them additional time answering questions, more specific feedback and extra pats on the back with a smile as a sign of approval.

Rosenthal followed the children over the next few years and came up to a conclusion: “If teachers had been led to expect greater gains in IQ, then increasingly, those kids gained more IQ.”

The problem is that at the other end of the stick is the rest of the kids; not as smart as the selected group. Therefore, teachers interacting with them was of slacking quality and lowered attention.

So you see, when you think positively about winning the Olympic gold, there always going to be a little doubt hidden in the shadows of your mind. It will be creeping in on every occasion your thought goes below the positive level.

The same for negative thinking.

positive thinking

When you feel down, anxious or depressed; there is always a gleam of hope.

Furthermore, if you want to think positively and maintain such attitude for the whole time it will cost you energy. You will need a motivational fix; videos, speeches, events etc. In no time you’ll be like a junkie scavenging the abyss of the internet just to feel it again, even for a moment.

I’ve explained the duality of our positive approach and now I’ll move into the delusional part.

Positive thinking is nothing more but a prejudice which distorts your perception of the reality. Sooner or later it will lead to poor judgments, wrong conclusions and inappropriate actions. Not to mention mental exhaustion due to a constant need for maintaining the positive and keeping the negative away.

So instead of tricking yourself by creating illusionary belief,

Just get a grip and see the world the way it is.

There is more to draw from Rosenthal’s brilliant study than just the theory of expectancy.

The teachers are clearly capable of creating a friendly environment where random kids can thrive. And if they can do it for random kids, they can do it for all. That’s the reality.


Positive thinking is better then the negative for sure. However, it is still a delusion and it should be treated as such. Choose clarity and always do your best.  

Martin May

Managing Director at Intelligent and Lazy Management Consulting. Coach, trainer, blogger. "How we say it is more important than what we say"

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