What Does Positive Thinking Mean

I had a discussion with some friends over the weekend. It got me thinking about “Positive Thinking” and what it really means.

I almost always hear the words “Positive thinking” and “Unrealistic” in the same reference. I have a problem with this. But it wasn’t until today that it dawned to me why I had a problem with this; why in my mind these two phrases do not go together.

In this post, I am going to discuss my views on positive thinking. I sure hope this catches your fancy, and makes an impact in your life.

What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase “Positive Thinking”?

  • “Hmmmm… If only things worked like that. Let’s get to the reality. I have work to do.”
  • “All this wishy washy stuff is meant for weak people. Life is hard and you must live it as is.”
  • “Keep it real, people! Be practical or you will be hurt.”

Now let’s pause for a minute. Take a look at all of the above reactions (which are not just made up but heard from real people) and your own reaction if it is any different. What is the common thread?

They all refer or relate to an outcome – not effort.

What do I mean by that?
We all have limits on our imagination. It is hard for us to visualize an outcome we have never experienced before. But our mind interprets such inability as the impossibility. Hence it is only human of us to interpret such an outcome to be “Unrealistic”.

Logically, nobody denies that there is always a first time for everything to happen in this world, and for everything to happen in your life. Yet you hesitate to accept that it can happen until you see it happen.

Is this wrong?
No, this is not wrong. Why? Because our previous experiences, nurture, culture, social surroundings have relentlessly worked to shape our thinking the way it is right now. It is only normal to be stuck in the limits that your thinking imposes on you.

But knowing this, is there anything you can do to change it, to free up your imagination so that you do not hide under the excuse of “unrealistic expectations”?

The answer is yes! It brings me back to those reactions. I mentioned earlier that they all relate to an outcome – not effort.

That’s where the secret lies.

“Positive Thinking” means believing that you will do anything and everything good (to make something happen). Whether it happens or seems realistic is none of your business.

Notice how I said that “you will do everything” not “you can do everything”? It is intentional use of words. The moment you start thinking “can or cannot” you start picturing outcomes. And as we know by now, outcomes may or may not seem possible. Where as when you say “will or will not” it becomes black and white. Will you do it or you will not? Totally depends on you and your capability at this moment – neither a second before nor the second after. We are talking about RIGHT NOW.

See what happened there? Once you remove the outcome from the equation and start talking about effort, you just removed uncertainty from the equation and started talking about possibilities.

Take a moment right now to picture a goal. What is it that you really want?

You just pictured an outcome. Now convert that into what you can do at this moment to start working towards this outcome? Will googling help, will talking to a friend help, will signing up for a class help? Whatever it is which will take you a step closer to that goal is a step in the right direction. You can do it right now which makes it realistic. Then the effort becomes a manifestation of “Positive thinking”.

Now if you don’t make the effort, the problem lies in you. Unfortunately, you no longer have the excuse that it is unrealistic. Because all we are talking about is what you to do right now.

If somebody had told me a year ago that I will blog enough to call myself a blogger or that one of my posts will reach to thousands of people or some posts will inspire people so much so that they will change their lifestyle, I would have instantly doubted it. Never would have thought that it was possible with the things I was doing.

But when I realized I do find that outcome fascinating, I took my first step towards it – start writing. Discipline does not come easy so I just picked a day – Monday – and started posting my thoughts on Facebook every Monday. Soon that turned into a blog, and aspirations to create a community of like minded people for share their ideas, questions, and motivation with others. All this would not have been possible if I did not believe I could write that first, second, and numerous posts that came each Monday.

I assure you, once you start thinking like this and acting on your thoughts, you will experience what positive thinking is first hand. Small actions pile up. They stretch your capability. You start doing things you did not know you could do. You start pushing your boundaries. This is what positive thinking means.

Promise your mind one thing today, that you will always dare to think positively about your effort – no matter how unrealistic the outcome seems right now. You will not let your imagination of the outcome influence your discipline of your effort.

When was the last time you felt you just cannot achieve something? What can you do differently today that will get you started on the path of achieving that dream?

Please share in comments. You are not alone in this journey. You never know when your words will be exactly the motivation a reader needs to get started on their path.

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