You will have heard that negative thinking is bad for you and will stop you from being the success you could be. But is it really that bad to have negative thoughts?
My first taste of personal development was when I was about eleven years old. I found and read a copy of Norman Vincent Peale’s ‘Power of Positive Thinking’. Being of formative years with a malleable mind I absorbed this pop psychology book and worked on positive thinking principles for many years, succeeding in areas of my life where I felt confident and empowered, yet (strangely?) feeling quite negative when the going became a little tough.
When is Negative Thinking Good?
Your thoughts and emotions are closely linked. How you think about what is going on around you will have an impact on how you behave and react. If you constantly look for the negative in yourself, others or what is happening around you, you are keeping yourself on the defensive, protecting yourself from potential threats and disappointments. This can help, stopping you from becoming hurt, physically or emotionally.
You damage yourself when you think continually like this, stopping yourself trying anything new, closing off potential relationships and restricting yourself from taking steps forward in your life.
Yet negative thinking is the balance to positive thinking. Positive thinking can mean that you may rush into things, never accepting limitations, risks or dangers. The extreme of this to me is the idea of sitting around and waiting because ‘the universe will provide’. Well, I’m still waiting for my massive house in the country.
Shades of Grey
Forgetting about a very popular piece of smutty fiction for the moment, consider positive and negative thinking as ‘black and white thinking’. This is often very subjective, based on emotional reaction, personal perception and reaction.
How can you balance positive and negative thinking? Be objective. Do your homework before you embark on any new venture, pull your facts together to create a more balanced view. This does not mean you should ignore your intuition, (which is not magic but your mind and emotions working together based on your experiences), but look for hard facts where possible and take them into consideration.
Work through the information you’ve pulled together and use a scale of 1 to 10, or shades of grey, to decide where on the scale things fall. This way you can use negative thinking to empower you as much as positive thinking, creating a balanced and objective outlook on life and succeeding realistically in what you set out to do.