Think Positive (But Only If You Believe It)

by John P Morgan on June 28, 2009

No Bullshit

I’ve had a hunch for awhile that positive affirmations could in some cases be destructive. I know it sounds strange, but keep reading…

I use positive affirmations almost daily, usually in short bursts before I’m going to do some activity or need a bit of motivation.

“I can get this done in 5 minutes, so start it now.  I’m awesome.”

“I’m incredibly good at this. They will love it.”

Most of the time I find the little trick very empowering and motivating.  However I have also noticed that in rare situations, positive self talk can result in an onslaught of “but” and “what if” internal dialogue.  Such dialogue is self-defeating and usually shifts my emotional state in a negative direction as well as reinforces my doubt.

I’ve also noticed that when complimenting people with a motivating statement, when they believe me, they become more motivated and when they don’t, they become more frustrated. Their emotional state is obviously also a critical factor. (And evidently if I happen to be speaking into their right ear versus their left, this can have an impact as well!)

Today I saw this article which summarizes some recent research on these exact ideas.

Reportedly people with low self esteem (or I’d suggest even confident people in a low self-esteem moment or context)  who tell themselves something positive, will actually strengthen their negative view.

For those of you holding onto “The Secret” as your last chance at achieving your dreams – don’t throw your hands up in the air. This is good news!

The powerful point of this research is simply this – Don’t bullshit yourself.

Before you go telling yourself you’re a God among Gods, you need to first honestly believe it.

Self-persuasion can be very useful for this. If you can’t manage persuade yourself, get in touch and I’ll help you.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Alastair February 18, 2010 at 11:39 pm

This is interesting stuff, I’ve had similar hunches too. Some days affirmations can blow me away and transport me somewhere empowering, other days I just get a voice that says “yeah right” and my unconscious dishes me up a load of counter examples. Consequently I’ve started learning when to slow down and pace those moments in a different way.
I saw you talk earlier at the North Herts NLP Club, it was a brilliant evening and great to meet you. There were loads of things that sparked my imagination!

Cheers,

Al

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