Positive Thinking Is a Useless Waste of Time
Who wouldn’t want to believe that?
In a word of sunshine and rainbows that would be the way it is. Thinking positively would get you to your goals, you would never have to doubt your self, and it would all come up smelling like roses. That’s what most people are told, but when tested, it’s easy to poke holes in that theory.
Positive Thinking is Actually a Huge Waste of Time “Who believes in positive thinking?”
All hands went up.
“Who uses positive thinking on a daily basis?”
Again, all hands in the room went up.
“I don’t believe in positive thinking. It’s useless and a waste of time.” I stated from the front of the room with great conviction and authority.
I stopped and looked around the room. Some of the men glared at me. Some leaned forward in their seats and actually looked angry. Others sat back in their chairs and crossed their arms. They didn’t like me challenging their way of doing things.
But here’s the thing: I wasn’t there for them to like me. As an Ultimate Performance Expert, my workshop was designed to train the elite to show up and be excellent consistently. My role was to coach them, teach them, and challenge them to do more and be more. Fluff and philosophy is not my style.
Setting the scene, this particular workshop wasn’t my business audience. This group was comprised of all male athletes. Not just any group of athletes either. These were elite college football players who were into serious preparation mode. They were about to show off their talents to NFL scouts and coaches, in hopes of making it into the league. There was no room for error. They couldn’t afford to blow this upcoming opportunity.
They each signed up and showed up to the workshop to learn how to not be average. Excellence was their goal. Blending in and fitting was not acceptable. They would be showcasing their talent against other highly talented players who were chasing their dream.
The missing piece in their armor was mental and emotional strength conditioning. No matter how incredible their skill and their talent was, they knew that if the pressure of the tryout got to them, they would screw up any chance of making it into the league. Any amount of self-doubt, hesitation or stress could kill their lifelong dreams in seconds.
Proving My Theory It was time for me to prove to them that I actually knew what I was talking about. So I asked one of the players to share a positive statement with me. A statement that he would normally use to pump himself up during training. Without hesitation he stated, “I am feakin’ amazing. I own my position and I dominate my competition.” The statement flowed naturally out of his mouth and I could tell he used it often.
“Great, that’s a clear and positive statement. But do you believe it?” Now I had everyone’s attention. Walking over to the player, he was still seated and I was standing in front of him, I watched his body language change.
As I approached, he went from leaning across the table in front of him to sitting back in his chair. I asked him to repeat his statement out loud. What happened next was extraordinary and powerful.
This player, I’ll call him Jim, who towered above me and could have flattened me with little effort, now sat farther back in his chair, his eyes went down and he visibly began to shrink.
Keep in mind, I had asked his permission to coach him live and in front of this group and he had volunteered. I had applauded him for his courage. This entire time I made certain he did not feel embarrassed. In fact, he was intrigued by the whole experience. Each step of the way I continued to point out to Jim and the group what I was observing.
When I asked Jim to say his statement again, but this time to do it like he actually meant it, he looked up at me and said it again. His voice was a bit louder, he sat up some and he now made his statement with more conviction.
Reframing What It Means to Think Positively Then it was time to push. I could tell he was up to the challenge. It’s part of Jim’s competitive nature. He would either fold or rise to the occasion. So I pushed, with authority and conviction I stated, “I don’t believe you. You’re really not all that great are you? You don’t seem like you’re that amazing to me!” I waited just a moment and then told Jim, “Say it again and make me believe you.”
He straighten up in his chair, looked me squarely in the eye and I could see the light coming on behind his eyes as he said it again. “Better. Now say it like YOU believe it.” I pushed him again.
All of a sudden his entire body came up and forward in his seat, his voice went deeper, his eyes were full of power and he clenched both fists. When he made his statement this time, I literally felt chills run through my body. He had done it! The entire room knew it and felt it. The energy of everyone in the room changed. Most important, Jim felt it.
“Now, run that feeling through your entire body. From the top of your head to the tip of your toes feel it, experience what power and belief really feels like.” I directed.
I took one step back and looked around at the group. All eyes had been on Jim and me. Some of the guys had gotten up out of their seats to watch. Others sat riveted on the results. All of a sudden the applause broke loose.
Jim looked straight at me and a big smile came over his face. “Wow, that was powerful! Thank you!” I nodded and went back to the front of the room and just stood there for a moment. I gave everyone time to take in what had just happened before I we began our discussion.
Why You Shouldn’t Think Positively “THAT was a positive statement that was believed in. Do you get the difference? Positive thinking is just that, it’s thinking. Thinking is way overrated. It’s just a lot of well-chosen words that will fall apart under pressure. The power to believe in yourself and the power to perform at a high level comes from emotion.”
Jim could have stated how great he was all day long, but if he didn’t believe it at an emotional level his skills and talents would fall apart at the most critical moment when he needed them the most.
When you add emotion to a positive statement, you charge it up. You light yourself up at the same time! Belief is the key. Belief isn’t a bunch of words. Belief is a deep down emotional experience.
So don’t listen to the idea that you need to think positively. That will get you nowhere. Find it in yourself to believe in that positivity and you take your success from being a thought to a reality.