Does too much of positive thinking work against you?

Well the moment I heard this topic, I almost burped “Come on! That can’t be a question! How can positive thinking work against you?”. Well it turns out, I did give it a second thought or rather the idea of book by Oliver Burkeman  – “The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking”. Now what is it about positive thinking that can work against us? Well here are a few thoughts that might sound reasonable

1) Neglecting the problems

By focussing too much on the positive, we tend to neglect, avoid the problems consciously, try to be in a way that it doesn’t affect us, it doesn’t make a difference to us. Thus instead of solving the problem, we play innocent – “Ignorance is bliss”, right?

2) There is no fear to drive us

We have always talked about positive thinking and how it helps us surge ahead. But fear is a very powerful emotion as well, it tells us as to what all the outcomes could be, what the challenges would be. It gives us a signal as to what all we should avoid and asks us to act on it. The moment we tend to avoid fear, we might actually end up neglecting some primary aspects of life

3) Too much of it makes you lose focus on the goal

Well perhaps too much of positive thinking gets us into denial saying that nothing can happen. We tend to neglect the signals around us, tend to be happy in our own worlds assuming that things are going to happen in favour of us. But truth is they won’t, there will be circumstances when things will go against the plan.

4) There is a worst case scenario

Just cos we choose not to see something doesn’t necessarily mean it is not there. It very much is existent, it is present there and it can certainly hurt us. The question is how we deal with it, not avoid it.

Here is a 2 min video which talks about why negative thinking is important

I do agree with the power of negative thinking. But I would certainly argue that the word positive thinking is misinterpreted. We are not trying to look away from the negatives of the world, they are very much there, we agree, we acknowledge but we find ways to make the best of the situation and make it work in our favour. That I believe is real thinking. Positive or not is just a word or set of words we choose to you, the truth being that there is something more powerful than all of it. That is the truth and all we are trying to do is how best we can make it work in our way. The rest are just words!

Here is a link to the book :

The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking
 It might open up a new set of ideas altogether


8 Responses to "Does too much of positive thinking work against you?"

  1. I agree that “the word positive thinking is misinterpreted.”

    To me, “positive thinking” in any situation means being as aware as possible of all the conditions (favourable and unfavourable), creating a strategy to succeed, working hard, constantly monitoring the progress, hoping for the best but being prepared for the worst.

    1. That’s the best definition I’ve come across today :). I agree, it is all about us, how we make things work, how we strategize and how we bring it out to make things happen our way.

      Thank you for the thoughts, pleasure hearing from you 🙂


  2. True. I was just thinking about the same. Too much of positive thinking can bring some amount of over confidence in us. Being overly positive is also a negative! As you said we tend to neglect when we are over confident and we lose focus. We need to be in a situation where you are confident as well as has the ability to fight the failures.

    1. Yeah, I have felt that so many times, only to realize that there was a lot more in the preparatory phase to be done, some things which I had taken for granted. I guess the path is about acknowledging the challenges, respecting them and trying to find a way in spite of those.

  3. hmmm…too much of anything is bad 🙂 I guess a bit of bad is essential in any good or the good tends to lose its importance as it is taken for granted and the bad is ignored anyway…nice write up 🙂

    1. Thank you Preethi 🙂 .. Oh yes indeed, or else I believe Life would never be complete as it is. Too much of good is not the best thing for sure, it makes one as pompous as they can get! 😀


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