Screen shot 2011-07-05 at 2.42.59 PM

How to Think More Positively Rational about Yourself and Your Future

Herm Albright once quipped, ““A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.”  Many thousands have praised the importance of possessing a positive attitude, but can one truly be positive about anything without first being positive about oneself? Any truly positive outlook on life always begins first with a truly positive outlook on yourself.  Any truly positive outlook always begins with thinking positively rational.

Being Positive Does Not Mean Being Irrational!

I once used to think that being positive meant that I had to be irrational.  Let me explain.  When I was younger, I had a skin problem that caused me some measure of embarrassment in high school.  For about six years, the skin problem caused me to start thinking rather negatively about myself.  Every time I heard someone talk about being positive, it would irritate me because I thought: How can I be positive about myself when I have this skin problem! The answer lies in thinking positively rational.  Does my skin problem define everything about me? Am I disqualifying everything else about me that is not problematic? Am I thinking in all or nothing terms? You see, the answer to many people’s life problems are simply irrational beliefs about themselves.

Rational is Positive (In the Right Context)

On the other side of the pendulum, if things are really bad in your life, thinking rationally about yourself may at first seem negative. The fact is that if we are in a mess, it’s probably our fault.  Wouldn’t thinking rationally about yourself make you feel worse about yourself? Well yes, it that’s where you left your thinking.  You do not leave your thinking in your areas of defeat or the areas you do not like about yourself.  If you got yourself into a mess, isn’t rational to believe that you can get yourself out? Isn’t it rational to believe that you too can make right choices for a better future? Yes, you can! It takes being rational to be truly positive.

Seeing Yourself Rationally and Positively Will Increase Self Image and Success

Most of the people I know who are not successful do not think rationally about themselves or positive about their futures.  Here’s a story to help illustrate what I mean:  The person who always seems to be self-sabotaging themselves.  This self-sabotaging person with a poor self-image goes around all day wondering why everyone else is so much happier and more successful than they are.  They struggle daily with feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and social anxiety.  Why does that person always seem to get all the breaks? Why am I so stupid? Why does no one like me? He asks these kinds of questions daily and feels hateful towards other successful people.  What’s his problem? His problem is simple: He is thinking negatively irrational instead of positively rational.  Did you catch the irrationality of his questions?

Why does that person seem to get all the breaks? They get all the breaks? Does he even know what breaks this person got? What about all the hard work the successful person has done?

Why am I so stupid? Stupid is simply a label some people like to use to describe a person’s behavior.  Though we may feel stupid sometimes, most of us are not stupid. We may have made some bad choices, but we usually were operating from the best information we had at the time or we knew the right choice and failed to make the right choice.  Either way, our IQ is not the question.  Thus, stupid is not the issue.

Why does no one like me? No one likes you. Really? Not even your mom? It’s true that sometimes people are liked more by others than they like you or I.  Most of the time, people simply like someone else more because that person shows more interest in them.   It has nothing to do with likeability.  Likeability comes from liking yourself, which begins with thinking positively rational about yourself.


I hope that I have opened some of your eyes to the idea of thinking positively rational about yourself and your life.  If you will begin to think more rationally and positively about yourself, your life will dramatically change.  You will feel happier, healthier, have more friendships, do better at work and do amazing things you may not have thought possible.


Joshua Shelton is a freelance blogger and founder of the site Break Through Self Image.

Related Articles:

Finding Bliss: How to Reverse Engineer Happiness

The 6 Components of a Happy Life


18 Responses to How to Think More Positively Rational about Yourself and Your Future

  1. Ken Wert says:

    Josh, I like to tell people that positive thinking doesn’t ignore facts. It doesn’t pretend something that is, isn’t. Positive thinking is the choice of focusing on one part of the truth over another part. If I was overweight, for example, I can focus on the negative label and condemn myself, or I can focus on the human capacity for change and on my potential for greater health. By focusing on the negative, on the label, I more likely glue myself to that reality. But by focusing on what is positive, I free myself to take positive steps toward that potential.

    We can all use the reminder to see ourselves fully as we are, not just through the narrow lens of our weaknesses. We are all so much more than that. Thank you for the reminder!

  2. Clint Cora says:

    I recall when I first started to compete in martial arts back in the mid to late 80s and whenever my fellow competitors and I saw some of the top people arrive at the tournament, we would suddenly say, ‘oh, there are the winners, we might as well give up now’ or something to that extent.

    Then our coach pointed out to use that if we have a negative attitude like that, we become already psychologically defeated before we even start our events. This was true as we went into competition with much less heart. As soon as we learned to stop having such negativity prior to competition, we did much better, at least I did.

    So from there I learned never to go in with a negative attitude. A positive one doesn’t guarantee a win but at least it enables one to do the best one can and then possibly learn from the experience.

  3. Fitore says:

    Who is/was Herm Albright ?

  4. Josh,
    Positive thinking is often criticized yet I know that the way we think affects the way that we feel. Feeling good will allow for better decision making and also a better person.

  5. Joshua says:

    Thanks Ken! I couldn’t agree more. You’ve described positive thinking really well. It’s totally true that we become what we focus on and focusing on “the one part of the truth over another part” (the positive, like you said) is so vital. Thanks again!

  6. Joshua says:

    Clint, SO SO true. Well said. “A positive one doesn’t guarantee a win but at least it enables one to do the best one can and then possibly learn from the experience”. Great wisdom. Thanks for commenting.

  7. Joshua says:

    Thanks Justin. I see the critics view, and agree that positive thinking doesn’t fix everything. It just makes everything better because like you said what we think affects the way we feel. We tend to make better decisions when we think rationally and positively. Thanks for commenting!

  8. Joshua says:

    Hey Fitore,
    From what I understand he was a writer in the late 1800’s for a popular newpaper in England, but there is not very much information on him that I can find.

  9. You know I’m still slightly confused about what you mean by positive rational… it seems to me as though it’s about challenging yourself and your thinking in a controlled manner… It’s really hard to do, unless you have some awareness of yourself – the temptation is always to be drawn into that, “I can’t do this” place where you get stuck. So even though you know you should be positive, your brain ensures that you don’t get to fully express it…

    If I’m following you totally, then it seems as though the irrational questions are going to begin with “why” and the rational (positive) ones are going to begin with “how”.

  10. Charley says:

    Interesting article. While each person’s definition of positive and rational can be very different from the next person’s definition, it is definitely important to be conscious of how you see the world and the attitude you have. It has a strong effect on the events in your life. They talk a lot about that in this movie I saw recently, Discover the Gift. A person’s mindset can easily change their life.

  11. I believe being rational and negative is self-sabotage.

    I believe being rational and positive is great.

    I believe being spiritual and being aware is even better.

  12. Champ says:

    Dear Joshua ! Thanks for the post.
    Thinking positive in rational way make sense. Recently I have resigned from job and it is difficult time for anyone in such situation. I had 2 choice 1) Be negative and get feel sad all the time or 2) Think positive ( Rational ) and see what can i do to get better job /which area i can improve upon – so I have decided to give one exam for certification which can help me in better way.

    As of now I am positive and looking forward to work hard and do best :)


  13. Joshua says:

    Hey Dan! I understand why you could be confused! What I mean, to use your example, is that when you become aware that you are creeping into that “I can’t do this” place, you can think positively rational about the situation. For example, I used to feel all the time that I should “feel positive” and tried to make myself “feel positive”. It was frustrating to me because it didn’t make sense, it didn’t seem rational. So what I mean by thinking positively rational about yourself and your future is that in those “I can’t do this” places, you can take that very thought and CHALLENGE IT by asking yourself rationally positive questions like:

    “Do I know for certain that I can’t do this?”
    “Am I 100% sure that I cannot do this?”
    “What evidence do I have the I cannot do this?”
    “What evidence do I have that the opposite is true, that I CAN do this?”

    Much of our negative thinking about ourselves and our future is simply irrational. We use overgeneralizations, all dichotomous, disqualifying the positive, etc.

    I hope that helps clarify what I mean and you can get a free cd on my website for a full hour of thinking positively rational in reference to yourself. No pressure, just letting you know.

    Thanks for your feedback!

  14. Joshua says:

    Awesome. Thanks for commenting Charley.

  15. Joshua says:

    I love it! I believe all the same things. Take care Marc!

  16. Joshua says:

    Hey Champ!

    I admire your courage in stepping out of the negative environment.

    I was recently listening to an audio from renowned leadership expert John Maxwell. He gave a very interesting statitistic in reference to “loving what you do”.

    He said that one team of researchers followed a group of 1,500 people over a period of 20 years. The participants were divided into Group A and Group B.

    Group A, 83 percent of the sample, was composed of people who were embarking on a career path that they had chosen solely for the prospect of making money now in order to do what they wanted later in life.

    Group B, the other 17 percent of the sample, consisted of people who had chosen their career paths so that they could do what they wanted to do now and worry about the money later.

    The data showed some startling revelations:

    At the end of the 20 year period, 101 of the 1,500 had become millionaires.
    Of the millionaires, all but one- 100 out of 101- were from Group B, the group that had chosen to pursue what they loved.

  17. RED says:

    First thing a person with problems should do is NOT to THINK, not even positively, because that’s what you do every day, You only turn in circles.
    Get a rest, take a break, and get some help from a professional helper.
    I agree about rational thinking, but foremost the professional helper should think rational, no religious people, no esoteric or natural healer. Take a Doctor who can really help you and try to find out if you have a mental illness, or a burn out.
    After you have gained your strenght again, you can start taking action, means analyzing your problem with a professional helper, and don’t loose time reading blogs!
    Most of the blogs contain a lot of bla-bla, storys, sales argument to lead you to another site, or to buy a book, or whatever. First you may get someting for free, but those information are for free anyway somewhere else on the internet!!
    Its strange how people believe bloggers, you dont know the person behind the text, nor their believes or religion. If you have a problem, you may follow an advice and not be able to see a religious mind trap. Think about Tom Cruise, always positive, rich, famous, but Scientologist! Be aware of the traps folks, or you may loose your mind completely!

  18. Kosalso34 says:

    But I alway fear about losing because my capital for investment is limited.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *