All of us are probably painfully familiar with the sound of the phrase, “just try to be positive”—and even more painfully familiar with the immediate feelings of frustration and outrage that follow (along with at least one eyeroll). Even though this philosophy has been promoted in famous books such as Think and Grow Rich and How TO Win Friends and Influence People, it still remains far easier said (or thought) than done (or accomplished). However, a Brazilian shaman named Rudá landé argues that the philosophy itself is completely wrong, regardless.
Despite the catchy saying “focus on the power of your thoughts and you will transform your reality,” in itself, positive thinking does not make it easier for an individual to accomplish something. If it were that easy, then there would be far more human beings living in mansions, and virtually no human beings living in streets—which obviously is not the case in the reality which we live in.
As mentioned, “beneficial” positive thinking isn’t easy: it’s exhausting, ineffective, and impossible (so virtually anything else you do would be more productive). This is partly because you can hypnotize yourself which will actually make it impossible for you to realize what the best choices in reality are, which will make it almost impossible to achieve them (it definitely won’t make accomplishments come easier).
Another reason why positive thinking can be detrimental is that you inherently block-out most negative aspects of life—and those are the aspects of life which require the highest degree of thinking to overcome. As a result of this, individuals are more likely to just keep burying or pushing aside their problems instead of resolving them, and this can be far worse than dealing with them right away because the problems will continue to mount inside of you until you’re ready to burst. What’s more, attempting to utilize positive thinking in order to attain wealth or status is particularly unwise, because many people do not truly want to attain these things (with the all the negative caveats that come attached to them).
To put it another way, positive thinking can result in a war between your artificially positive thoughts and your natural desires and instincts. Oftentimes, one full “thought” involves many things which are both positive and negative, so if you try to block out as many negative thoughts as you can, far fewer of your thoughts will be easier to make sense of than they otherwise would be. Additionally, it’s far more beneficial in the long-term to learn from your negative thoughts as opposed to ignoring them, because then you can consciously attempt to avoid putting yourself in the situations which previously resulted in negative thoughts afterward.
So, what should humans beings practice in place of positive thinking? The exact opposite: negative thinking! By always contemplating the worst case scenario, perhaps surprisingly, the fear of these types of scenarios actually lessens; for the most part, even reasonable worst case scenarios do not involve the potential for death—and they often don’t involve particularly “worse” consequences in general. And, as alluded to, human beings would actually learn from their experiences if they weren’t so obsessed with blocking (at least) major parts of them out of memory.
It’s good to have contrast in your life: the sweet things in life just don’t taste as sweet without a good sense of what the bitter things taste like. What’s more, negative thoughts and emotions are often only parts of far greater positive thoughts, emotions, and experiences, so it’s easy to see that positive thinking can quickly remove a lot of positivity and happiness from your memory and your life. By not daydreaming about mansions and winning the lottery all day, individuals can take stock of how they feel in the life they’re actually living, and they can brainstorm about what changes they have the ability to make that would likely improve their circumstances.
Lastly, humanity is an incredibly dynamic species, and all humans have a sense of humour in addition to a soul. For beings so complex, it is extremely unwise to categorize any thought, feeling, emotion, or experience as either positive or negative, and to dismiss any of them haphazardly.
*This content was inspired by an amazing article that can be found here.