When Positive Thinking Isn’t Enough

positive thinkingNot long ago, I shared this image on my Facebook page.  I confess, I was really curious what the reaction would be.  Generally, there were a lot of ‘likes’.  And then my friend John McMillan said this:

He can be as positive as can be about riding the Kentucky Derby, yet Shaquille O’Neal will NOT be a jockey.

So true.

His exact comment was the kind of response I’d been anticipating.  And I’m totally in agreement with him.

Don’t get me wrong.  I absolutely believe in the power of positive thought.  In speaking positive words to bring about positive results.  In the Law of Attraction and the Secret and all that stuff.

Cultivating a positive mindset is critical because it nourishes possibility inside of you.  When you experience your world through the lens of positive thinking, you’re more likely to see the positive things happening around you and be open to both seeing and seizing opportunity when it arises.

But the formula “positive thinking = positive things will happen” is missing a couple of vital ingredients.  It’s more like this:

positive thinking + capacity development + required resources + inspired action = positive things happening

Here it is with a bit more detail.

  • Positive Thinking: I like to think of this as living a life of possibility.  Focusing on the positive possibilities rather than worrying about the worst possible outcomes or ruminating in negativity.
  • Capacity Development: Growing the knowledge, skills and experience you need to achieve your desires.
  • Required Resources: Having (or working to obtain) the right emotional, physical, mental and spiritual materials to create the conditions for success.
  • Inspired Action: Whether it’s a logical next step or doing something based on a gut feeling, taking action towards developing the capacity and resources needed to achieve your desires is inspired action.

When these 4 elements come together, positive things can and do happen.

They can happen on the small scale – you desire healthy and delicious food, you learn to cook, you develop confidence in your abilities, you acquire the right tools and ingredients, you prepare a healthy meal and sit down to enjoy it.

They can also happen on the big scale – you desire an amazing job, you get an education, volunteer to gain experience, network to meet potential employers, meet just the right person in a place you’d never have expected, and land an offer for the job of your dreams.

And they can happen in a way that is much less linear and logical too. When I was in high school, I wanted to go to a particular school that was very hard to get into.  1200 applicants for only 26 seats annually.  I needed experience that would set me apart. But without education, getting that experience seemed impossible.  Until a friend of my mom’s happened to be staying at my mom’s house the same week I flew home across country to attend my high school graduation. She asked what I wanted to do with my life and I explained about the school I wanted to go to and needing experience.  She happened to be on the board of a non-profit that would give me the experience I needed to set myself apart. Before I knew it, plans had been made for me to travel, stay with her, and get the experience I needed to set me on my desired career path. There was no logic to it. No obvious linear process.  Just inspired action coming together to help me achieve my desire.

However it happens, what’s critical is moving yourself forward every day. Whether it’s a small step or a giant leap in the right direction, moving forward is all you need to focus on.  Moving forward in one of any of these pieces:

positive thinking + capacity development + required resources + inspired action = positive things happening

Can you see how expanding your understanding of ‘think positive and positive things will happen’ can shift your life so that positive things really do start happening (or happening more often)?

Follow Rachel Bolton:

Rachel is a coach supporting women to rediscover who they are beyond the *shoulds* of life. To create and live life on purpose.

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  1. […] out of this challenge and begin to do that Law of Attraction stuff to try to make it happen (see When Positive Thinking Isn’t Enough). When you are ready to be solution focused in how you are going to create a life you love, rather […]

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