What Positive Thinking Really Means

by Percival J. Meris on August 22, 2010

Positive Thinking

Positive thinking photo: courtesy of Mathias Dalheimer via flickr

POSITIVE THINKING HAS BECOME A BYWORD IN THE VOCABULARY OF MANY. Unfortunately, a lot of them do not understand its true meaning. There is more to it than just thinking positively at the spur of the moment and expecting positive results by some miracle of this magic byword. One has to understand the true nature of positive thinking to expect positive results.

What Is Positive Thinking?

In viewing a situation, the positive thinker sees both its positive and negative aspects. He accepts them as they are, but chooses to accentuate the positive. This is what Sir Winston Churchill meant, when he said: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Positive thinking is a logical consequence of an authentically positive mind. It is the mainspring of a person’s right attitude, cheerful disposition, self-confidence, and optimistic outlook of life, which in turn translate into materialization of desired results.

True positive thinking seeks congruence with one’s whole personality. Feelings match thoughts. Words resonate what is in mind. Actions testify to positive intentions. Thoughts, emotions, words, and actions integrate, but dichotomy renders them ineffective.

The Two Types of Realities in Positive Thinking

Thoughts create our reality. To appreciate this, one has to understand what that particular reality is.

There are two types of realities:

There is the universal objective reality, which is reality as it truly is. Its existence can neither be disputed nor impugned.

Then, there is the reality as one’s mind perceives it. This is subjective reality. Owing to its inherent limitations, subjectivity can often prove unreliable in evaluating the true nature of things. However, for any individual, there is no reality other than subjective reality.

Positive Thinking Defines Your Subjective Reality

It is in the area of subjectivity where positive thinking has its greatest application and effects. You may not be able to change reality as it is, but you create it by the way you view and respond to it. Change takes effect in YOU, not in circumstances or in other people.

Not Circumstances

Can positive thinking change particular circumstances? Directly, no. Indirectly, yes. Positive thinking gives you capability to change particular circumstances by your own efforts. If circumstances are unchangeable, positive thinking merely makes you react to them favorably.

However, by transforming you into a magnet of the things you desire, positive thinking ATTRACTS circumstances favorable for acquiring your desire.

Not Other People

Likewise, you cannot by the power of positive thinking dictate that other people decide in your favor. Positive thinking, however, transforms you to be worthy of favorable consideration by others.

Positive Thinking as Way of Life

A mind is positive or negative, depending on what thoughts predominate in it.

Generated occasionally, positive thoughts set against a huge backdrop of negativity will drown. They need to surpass the negative in magnitude and intensity.

Habitual positive thinking uproots and supplants this preexisting negative mental condition, and from its ashes builds structures for new BELIEF SYSTEMS. It is BELIEF – not any random positive thought invoked at the spur of the moment – that produces desired results.

Positive Thinking vs. Worst-Scenario Thinking

It is impractical to presume the nonoccurrence of untoward events, just because you “think” it so.

Many circumstances are beyond your control. You have to consider all possibilities, and adapt accordingly. See all scenarios, and make plans for handling the worst, confident in your ability to secure yourself from its unfavorable consequences.

Doing so would be more in alignment with the principles of positive thinking.

Characteristics of Effective Positive Thinking

To achieve desired results, positive thoughts must possess these characteristics:

Defined by vivid imagery. Our mind thinks in terms of images. The more senses and emotions are mustered to produce a mental experience of the object desired, the more vivid the imagery. A most vivid imagery renders the pursuit of the desired experience more than half-attained.

Energized by desire. Desire is the energy that propels the entire organism towards the object of desire. The stronger the desire, the more unstoppable the propulsion and the more certain its success.

Stabilized by faith. Faith is the belief that the object of desire will be attained. Doubt dilutes the achieving power of faith. The stronger the faith, the less room for doubt and the more stable the trajectory movement towards its goal.

Recommended Readings on Positive Thinking

Many literatures have been written on the subject of positive thinking. Among the best is Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking, the classic bestseller enjoyed by millions that has guided people of all ages to find happiness in their lives. This book should appear in the library of anybody who is serious about creating a life full of joy and satisfaction.

There is also an audio version of this book, read by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale himself. This is ideal for people on the go, and for those who find reading difficult due to physical or time constraints.


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