self improvement

Why Positive Thinking Sometimes Doesn’t Work (And How You Can Change That)

It’s time we stopped deceiving ourselves with some of this positive thinking talk.

There’s just a lot of rehashed advice that when applied, just doesn’t seem to work. I can’t count the number of times I thought just saying positive affirmations alone would turn my whole life around.

After sometime, I almost resolved that affirmations don’t work; that they’re useless. And that probably they only work for some set of people.

And I bet you’ve probably been there before…

Your whole life, you’ve been plagued by the thought of “I can’t do it”, or “this good thing isn’t just meant for me”. There are just so many challenges in your life that you’re almost at the verge of saying, “I can’t take this anymore”.

Then some guru comes up and tells you that all you need to do is say some positive affirmations to yourself and all will be well.

Then you try it and what happens? You’re back to where you were, if not worse.

The thing is that while positive thinking is like a magic pill that solves negativity, you can’t take it unless you know what you’re fighting. It’s the same thing that happens when a doctor prescribes drugs to you. He first needs to know what you’re suffering from before you even get any drugs.

And for this single reason, positive thinking may not work in your life unless you…

1. Deal with the Foundation to Get Rid Of Negative Thoughts

Negative thoughts don’t operate on their own. They’re like secret agents with a command base from which they take directions from. What affirmations do is to deal with these secret agents. They probably shoot their heads off or just nuke them.

But then what happens? The command base sends out more agents and you realize you’re fighting a war for your entire life.

And this is the reason why staying positive takes a lot of effort when in the real sense, it’s supposed to be as easy as asking a girl out on a date (not that that’s easy either).

But you get the gist, right?

Negative thoughts only have one source- your beliefs.

We adopt certain beliefs in our lives due to certain events or experiences we’ve had in the past, most especially our childhood. And these beliefs can get so ingrained into our subconscious that it’s almost impossible to change them.

For example, a past boyfriend of yours’ dumps you and you automatically have the belief that, “All men are cheats and liars”. I’m neither disputing nor supporting this fact. But my point is that this belief then prevents you from really having any more quality intimate relationships in the future, even when the guy approaching you is sincere.

Negative beliefs are the foundations of negative thoughts and one way to get rid of such is to either think rationally about them or have a positive experience that can change that belief.

Take action: Stop focusing on your thoughts for a moment and look into some beliefs that have hindered you up till now. Then simply ask yourself some rational questions such as, “Why do I have this belief?” “Is it a false conclusion or assumption of a possible outcome?” By finding out the degree of invalidity of that belief, you’ll be able to know if it’s a fact or your mind is just playing tricks on you.

2. Develop Your Self Image to Open You Up To Positivity

Beliefs influence your Self image.

For example, a kid who believes that Math is the hardest subject that ever existed would not see himself as someone who can pass the subject. And the result becomes consistent failure of the subject, until he changes his perspective of it and sees himself as someone who can excel in it.

The same goes for a 90 year old lady who believes that automobiles are moving demons. Trust me, seeing herself drive such a demon is the last thing on her mind. I wonder how she’ll get around in this century.

Your Self image is a mirror reflection of your beliefs. And in transforming your Self image, just changing your beliefs is not enough.

You need to see yourself having a positive experience of that new positive belief; and afterwards, letting yourself know that you deserve that positive experience. It is at this point that you open yourself up to the possibility of actually having positive thoughts in your life about that particular situation.

Take action: Once you realize that your beliefs were mere false conclusions about a particular event, change them to positive ones. Then let your Self image reflect those positive beliefs by believing that you deserve them. For example, if you’ve developed a positive belief that “you can be successful regardless of your poor background”, you then see yourself as someone who actually deserves that success.


3. Use Positive Thinking and Affirmations to Seal the Deal

An affirmation is not just a mere bunch of words put together to make you feel better. However this is the notion that most people have. It is actually a confession of what you already have on your inside.

If you’re full of negativity on the inside and you start to say some affirmations, you’re only lying to yourself. But the moment you become all positive about your beliefs and self, your affirmations become confessions of certain truths. This is when they become potent and work fast in your life.

I’ve discovered that in all three steps above, the hardest is changing our beliefs. Why? This is because beliefs come from experiences and it’s often hard to “forget an experience”.

So, the best way is to actually have an experience of positivity that portrays that belief in a positive light; a positive experience that would be hard to forget. It’ll become so ingrained in your mind that the negative belief you previously had about that situation would be gone for good.

Positive thinking does work and it works wonders too. But if the foundation of negativity isn’t dealt with through rationalization and experience, many things could go wrong. But that wouldn’t happen to you, I’m so sure of that :).

Lanre Solarin was once extremely negative about life until he encountered positive experiences that changed everything. You can grab a free copy of his report- Simple Steps to Positive Thinking: How to Experience Positivity in the Simplest Way Possible and discover how to guarantee success in your life.



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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