Why Positive Thinking Works

    I sometimes encounter people who tell me that positive thinking is trying to escape the problems of real life, the tragedies, and the way things really are. They believe that thinking positively is “faking it” in the face of what is “really happening.” When I listen to their rationale, I discover that these folks don’t really understand what positive thinking means and what it does. They also seem blind to what they are doing with their “realistic” view.

    So let’s get clear on what positive thinking means:

    Positive thinking is looking at what is actually happening and choosing to focus on what is good in it and what can be done to make things better. It is a conscious orientation toward solutions and constructive action.

    From a personal standpoint, positive thinking enables you to build on your strengths and improve on your weaknesses. From an interpersonal standpoint, it enables you to see the positive qualities in others and to work toward solutions that are best for all concerned. From a spiritual perspective it enables you to see how life is set up perfectly for us to do what we are here to do—to become more conscious and create what we truly desire.

    So, you see that positive thinking is not avoiding “reality.” It is looking reality square in the face, finding the good in it, and creating solutions where there are real challenges. It is based on the fact that reality is complex and many-faceted and how we choose to look at it makes all the difference in how we relate to whatever is going on.

    In contrast, “realistic” or “pessimistic” thinking operates on the idea that we “see things as they are.” This viewpoint fails to understand that reality always exceeds what we see. We filter “what is” through a lens of what we desire, what we are comfortable with, and what we are in the habit of looking for.

    Every situation is an infinitely complex web of interactions. You can find “good” or “bad” in anything depending on how you look at it. Having a “pessimistic” view is simply “choosing” to see what you dislike. Of course, this choice happens subconsciously, so you may think you are just describing what is real. In fact, “pessimism” or “positive thinking” are just habits of perception.

    Is it accurate to say that most of us would like to experience the good things in life and solve the challenges we face? Positive thinking is simply the most effective way to do that. It acknowledges the truth of how we see things—that we are most likely to find what we are looking for. If you want to experience good things in life, actively look for them. If you want to solve challenges you face, focus on positive solutions. That is the heart of positive thinking.

    In the end, positive thinking feels better, inspires more, and works best.

    Enjoy your practice!


    Kevin Schoeninger

    P.S. In March at Spiritual Growth Monthly, we explore positive thinking and “The Ultimate Secrets of Total Self-Confidence.” Click here to learn more.

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