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  • Wishful Thinking Versus Positive Thinking


    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Sunday, July 29, 2012 12:57 pm Email this article

    Eleanor Roosevelt said, "The besetting sin of America is wishful thinking," and boy, isn't that the truth? We think of wishful thinking as bad, and it certainly is. We think of positive thinking as good, but what's the difference? The most important difference is that positive thinking is about what we want to do ourselves, and wishful thinking is about what we want other people to do.

    ​Mountain bikers tell each other to look ahead to the place they want to go, NOT to the place they are afraid of winding up. They must think that way! I used to play competitive tennis well, and I could always visualize myself making the shots. I didn't MAKE myself visualize making the shots. I just visualized it that way, without thinking. It was part-and-parcel of being good at the game.

    I cannot picture myself dancing well or speaking smoothly. And accordingly I don't dance well and I stutter, though other people tell me I dance well. I think they are just being nice. I cannot MAKE myself think of dancing well. I can't make myself think of speaking smoothly either. Practice alone doesn't solve the problem. I don't know whether positive thinking is a cause of good performance or a result of good performance.

    The obese patients destined to fail their diet cannot picture themselves eating moderately. They can't picture other people eating moderately either; they don't see that lean people do. If you can get them to see reality, please tell me how you did it!

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