Thinking Positive Isn’t The Key To Happiness
Thinking positive isn’t the only driving factor of success and happiness. There are other qualities worth considering.
If I think positively, will everything work out for me?
No. No, it will not.
As much as I love to think optimistically and positively, one thing I’ve come to realize over the years is that positivity isn’t going to solve all of your problems.
The idea that positivity will solve everything or make everything alright was popularized by thought leaders and by authors of various books. The most notable is The Secret, which wraps it in the term “the law of attraction.”
The idea that things will come to you so long as you are echoing the same frequencies. For example, if you wanted a bicycle, you’d focus on your desire for it and the universe will bring heaven and earth to you to get you that bicycle.
I’m exaggerating it a little bit, but the theming is still prominent.
If we think a certain way it will shape what’s happening in our reality.
And it kind of does work. But only if other elements are in play.
You Need Motivation
Our reality is formed in two ways: how we think, and how we act. By this logic, thinking positively does work. At least in a vacuum.
If you think positively, yes, your view of people is going to change. Your overall attitude of various things will shift. Our very identity will begin to shift.
But these things don’t define us.
They define us in the context of how we view ourselves, but not how the world sees us or where our life will go. The universe is vast and unpredictable and willing things into existence isn’t something the world does.
Instead, what will define us is what we do with those views of the world. Whether it’s something small like getting certain possessions or getting that promotion to affecting the larger scale, like becoming a leader of a country.
A positive thought is nice, but it’s not going to lead us towards that desire alone.
This is why motivation is important when we want to experience happiness or success. I go back to Simon Sinek’s talk on having a why in the first place.
If you don’t know why you are pursuing something then there’s no point in pursuing it. When we lack a deep personal reason for doing something, we’re not putting any energy into it.
We can think positively about growing a business, but if you don’t have a business you love or using it to advance a goal you’re passionate about, you won’t do it. I know this because the first time I set monthly goals, I didn’t reach them. Why? I lost interest in them and continued to lie to myself about it for a year.
Now, I set goals I care about and that I strive for. That I have the motivation to do.
You Need Direction
On the note of goals, you also need direction. While motivation and positivity are good, there needs to be a way to channel it. After all, willing things to come to you isn’t going to cut it.
You need to formulate some kind of plan. How to do that is entirely up to you. Some people make mental logs, while others turn to vision boards, to-do lists, and other things.
In the end, there has to be some direction that you’re moving this energy into. It’s what will drive you after the initial push.
This is important because motivation alone isn’t going to get you there. There are all kinds of motivation out there with each one varying in quality. The strongest is intrinsic motivation.
It’s having a why, but also visualizing your every step.
To get that kind of motivation, you want to know where you’re going. What is your next step to getting there?
You Need Perseverance
Another example of why only thinking positively won’t bring you true joy is looking at network marketing pitches. We’ve all sat through them and know how positive they are.
The people around us are excited and are promised easy money, a lavish lifestyle, and more. It’s the dream.
But in the grand scheme of things, most people will end up giving up and dropping the business after a few short months.
The high dopamine and excitement are great, but the only people who get anywhere with these businesses are the people who take it with more seriousness. These are the people who have stories at the end and are on the stages pitching to people or at those company conferences.
What brought them to this wasn’t the magic of thinking positively alone. They had the drive and motivation. But they also had the perseverance too. The persistence to pursue despite how hard life was for them then and was before they made it.
It’s the same sort of state I’m in with my own business right now. If I want a successful writing business, I had to move beyond writing a few blog posts and hoping they stuck or made me famous.
I’ve had to put in hours writing for clients. I’ve had to have the grit to tell myself, “maybe start writing for clients rather than doing guest posts.” I’ve had to challenge my thinking and change my views.
Perseverance comes in all kinds of forms, but overall it’s not dropping things when stuff goes wrong or not as planned. That’s part of life. I did say the world is unpredictable in what it can do. So we’ll need the energy to get through that and find a way to get over it.
Think Positive All You Want, But Do More
These form the cornerstones to our progress and growth. And thinking positively is one of them. But it’s not the only thing that matters in life.
We need to steel ourselves and have the mental fortitude to get what we want. If we are wishing or hoping or praying for something, it won’t come. It’s merely the starting process for us to do something with our lives and to move forward towards our goals and desires.
It’s necessary, but if you are only relying on thinking positively, what happens when you experience doubt or uncertainty? You need these other elements to rely on and keep yourself in check.
Without them, you’re only sitting on the sidelines hoping for something that won’t happen.