3 Ways Positive Thinking Can Go Wrong (and what to do about it)

Have you ever heard of Murphy’s Law? To put it in simple words, it says: if something can go wrong, it will go wrong.

Some may argue that this is pessimistic and negative, that we should be positive and think positively in order to live a happy life. After all, some will argue that it’s proven that positive thinking has many benefits…

Well, I have some news for you, sometimes you have to ditch positive thinking and listen to Murphy when he tells you that things will go wrong.

If you’re not careful enough, positive thinking can be the worst thing you ever do in your self-improvement journey, and before you jump to conclusions, let me explain.

I heard about Murphy’s Law the first time from Jim Rohn, one of the best speakers on the planet by the way, and it turned out that he wasn’t fond of positive thinking that much.

He used to describe it like going to your garden and saying “there’s no weeds!”, while in fact there is and there will always be weeds and you need to deal with them.

Sure enough Jim Rohn was a mentor of Tony Robbins, and Tony used to say it directly that he thinks positive thinking is garbage!!

And to be honest, they have a point. Positive thinking can go wrong, it even can be very dangerous.

Now away from my own personal opinions, and away from what Jim Rohn or Tony Robbins have said, let’s take a reality check to see how positive thinking can go REALLY wrong.

It’s not about the “3 points” below, it’s more about the mentality behind positive thinking and how it can seriously makes us miserable instead of happy and positive.

Let’s go.

Here are 3 ways positive thinking can be bad for you.

1. Pain Can Be Your Best Drive

Sometimes you have to face the negativity, you need to feel that pain in order to get mad enough and start change.

Instead of putting the best scenario possible and thinking positively about your outcome, you need to put the worst scenario and really feel the consequences in order to freak out and do something.

Don’t just think positively about the fact that you don’t have a job, doing that will allow you to escape some pain, but it’s the same pain that you need to get yourself out there and do something about your situation.

Facing the ugly truth is the key, because fear (which is a pain) is the greatest motivator.

Pain and positive thinking If a thieve is planning to rob your house, will you just sit there and think positively that the cops will deal with it?

Not a good idea, you better start securing your house and be prepared.

2. Sometimes It’s Not Possible

You can think positively about the fact that you’re broke, maybe even about the fact that you’re not happy at the moment, but positive thinking has its limit.

When you face major life problems, in other words when the pain is too much that you can’t even see a positive side, trying to think positively during these times won’t work, and it even can backfire as we’re going to see below.


It’s like you’re trying to manipulate your own mind, your mind is watching all hell breaks loose and you’re trying to convince it that there’s a positive side here, it won’t believe you!

And by “major life problems” I mean crises and tragedies, like the death of a loved one –god forbids. It’s nearly impossible to think positively there.

3. You’re Ruining The Relationship Between “You” And “Your Brain”!

Your mind is always watching you and monitoring your behavior, and the worst thing you can ever do is to not be honest with your own self.

As we said above, trying to pretend that the pain is not there, while the pain is actually there and it’s intolerable, will result in making your mind mad.

Because your mind has a mission, it wants to be aware of the pain to do something about it. It’s like a child who relies on you to comfort him, and by positive thinking you don’t even want to see the ugly negative side your brain is trying to make you aware of.

This can result in conflicts between you and your own mind, and as a result makes your mind unable to trust your own decisions and actions.

And yes, this can happen, it’s like when someone lies (or promise to take care of you, but don’t) and you don’t trust him anymore, it’s the same, but now it’s from within.

What to do instead?

Here’s a better strategy:

• Be honest with yourself (see things as they are and take responsibility for them).
• Hard work.
• Persistence.
• Flexibility.
• Faith.

That’s it, this is a better strategy than positive thinking, it’s more into building the character and developing some work ethics.

You basically be honest with yourself about your situation, you don’t try to make it better by thinking positively, you feel the pain in order to do something about it.

Further reading:

Then you go and work really hard to make what you want a reality, you work you’re a** off.

And you don’t work for a while and stop, persistence is the key to achieve anything.

Persistence along with enough flexibility to try new things when you get stuck, because foolish persistence is ignorance.

Last but not least, faith! Regardless to your religious beliefs, faith in something bigger than you is required to take the first step and keep going when things get tough.

Author Bio:

Mosab Alkhteb writes at SelfChanging.com, he shares in-depth guides and tools to help you master your life in many areas, no “tips and tricks”, everything is backed up by research, experience and common sense.

Get a copy of his free book Self-Confidence Areas, a 35 pages book that will change the way you look at self-confidence.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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