A common (though incorrect) criticism of positive thinking is that it means one must ignore/deny negativity. Doug Krug’s excellent book, “the Missing Piece in Leadership” sums up nicely the misunderstanding and the reality:
A frequently asked question is, “Are you suggesting that we only focus on the positive and ignore what’s wrong?” No. Telling the truth about what needs to be fixed is essential. It is the context that we bring to how we look at what’s wrong that makes the difference.”
This is an excellent distinction which dovetails well with my critique of Oliver Burkman’s “The Power of Negative Thinking”. Just as the questioner above misunderstands what is meant by focusing on what works, Oliver too misunderstands positive thinking as a requirement to avoid negativity: “A positive thinker can never relax, lest an awareness of sadness or failure creep in.”
Positive thinkers don’t avoid “what’s wrong”; it is how you respond to what’s wrong that makes the difference. Our cultural conditioning tends to have us fixate on the problem, which ironically tends to reinforce conditions that encourage the persistence problem while simultaneously making the conditions scarce that would foster a solution. Positive thinking redirects our attention towards focusing on the steps required to get to the desired solution, “keep your eyes on the prize.”
Nobel Laureate Brian Josephson’s lecture on heretical science. He pokes holes in popular skeptic arguments against telepathy, whether water can have a memory (homeopathy), cold fusion and intelligent design. 1 hour, time well spent.
Simon Thorpe is the Deputy Director of the Brain and Cognitive Research Center in Toulouse France. Below is a video talk from him about paranormal phenomena, where he in particular discusses Rupert Sheldrake’s study into whether dogs know when their owners are coming home. Continue reading →
This word came to me as I finished my morning jog. I looked it up when I got inside; it already exists on Wikipedia, though its definition (“claiming to be a prophet in order to make money”) is too narrow, so I offer my own definition here: Continue reading →