Does positive thinking work at all?
This is something contentious for many years in this self-development industry.
While having a positive attitude is generally better than being negative and complaining how bad the situation is, you can't rely on some delusional wishful thinking that blinds yourself from dealing with the real problem.
Yes, it's true that we should focus on the solution instead of the problem.
Yes, it's true that we should remain calm and master our emotions.
Yes, it's true that a negativity-dominated mind will toxic our blood and ruin our well-being.
But if you just think positively about the mess and don't take action to remedy the situation, no real positive things are going to happen.
In a research study in 2011, Gabrielle Oettingen, Professor of Psychology at New York University and the University of Hamburg, found that the more time people spend on indulging in a positive fantasy, the less energy they are going to generate to pursue the desired future, and thus the less likely they actually take action to reach the goal.
So positive thinking is actually a self-delusional tool that tricks our minds into perceiving that we've already reached our goals, and thus we have a decreased motivation to actually pursue it.
Shocking finding, isn't it?
The good news is there's actually a mental strategy that you can use now to fulfill your wishes and dreams.
It's called the WOOP strategy, also known as the Mental Contrasting with Implementation Intentions (MCII) in scientific terms.
Basically, WOOP stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, and Plan.
Firstly, you do want to think, dream, wish or visualize the outcome you want to achieve in the next 30 days. It should be something challenging that requires you to stretch yourself to attain it.
Secondly, you will think about what's so great about achieving that outcome. How good does it feel to fulfill that accomplishment? Imagine the scenario.
Thirdly and most importantly, you must also imagine the possible obstacles, challenges or hindrances of reality that might prevent you from achieving that outcome. What are your inner conflicts or beliefs that might sabotage you? What are the thoughts that might pop up that don't serve you? What bad old habits might hold you back? Imagine those fully as well.
Finally, you want to plan out what you are going to do when the obstacles actually appear. Use this "If... (obstacle), then I will... (action or thought)" formula to overcome your challenges.
This powerful WOOP method is scientifically proven to strengthen your mental associations, increase your energy, and enhance your performance. You're going to feel more motivated to make clear decisions, take actions and engage with the world at large.
It's time to give up the idea of "thinking positively".
Go implement the WOOP method.
Shift your focus from your goals to the action-oriented process.
And go take massive real world action to overcome the obstacles you've envisioned!