There is little doubt that people who have a natural tendency towards a positive outlook have an edge in business. It can give them the inner strength to continue when others would give up, and it can also mean they are able to bounce back from failure faster. Positive thinking can be a powerful force, but it works best when combined with positive action. In fact, when it is not turned into action, positive thinking can be a detrimental force in the business world.
Believers in the ‘law of attraction’ suggest that the power of thought alone is enough to generate riches and success. The problem is that most of those who claim to have achieved great things because of positive thinking will usually have taking plenty of positive action along the way. It is doubtful that a person could generate wealth by just sitting in a bedroom all day and visualizing riches. So even if the ‘law of attraction’ proves to have merit, it is still positive action that produces the goods.
If positive thinking isn’t supported by action, it can be like a car with a tank full of gas but no wheels. The fuel is only useful in a car when it is used to generate momentum – if it is just left in the tank, it starts to oxidize and this damages the engine. Positive thinking can be thought of as a type of fuel that has the potential to generate positive action. It also has the potential to be damaging when it isn’t used properly, and it causes the person to develop delusions. Here are 8 reasons for why positive action is more important than positive thinking.
8. Positive Thinking without Action Usually Equals Magical Thinking
Something has to happen in order to generate a positive outcome. If people are not going to take to take this necessary action themselves, it means they are dependent on someone or something else to do it. People who rely solely on thinking positively are waiting on some unseen force in the universe to cause the desirable event to happen – this could be described as a type of magical thinking. An example of this might be a person who tries to wish a rose garden into existence while refusing to plant any rose seeds.
There may very well be some unseen conscious force in the universe guiding things, billions of people believe there is, but it appears that this entity prefers to reward people who take action rather than those who wait for manna to fall from the sky. The Arabs have a saying that sums up the situation pretty well, ‘trust in God, but tie your camel’. Positive thinking without action is like looking for something for nothing, and the universe doesn’t seem to work that way. If it did, there would be no reason for anyone to take action.
7. It Often Requires Action to Overcome Challenges
There are some things in life that fall into the category of ‘just the way it is’. An example of this would be the state of the economy where there is not much that one individual can do to change the situation. In this type of case, positive thinking can be a real asset because it gives people the motivation to keep going despite of any uncertainty.
There are lots of other challenges in life where the individual does have at least some control over the situation. An example of this would be a business that is hemorrhaging money because of a bad decision. In this case, things may keep getting worse until action is taken to rectify the problem. If the business owner believes that positive thinking alone is going to be enough, it is likely to prove disastrous.
6. Positive Thinking Can Lead to Learned Helplessness
If people are always dependent on some outside force to fix their life, it could be described as a form of learned helplessness. It can mean that the individual feels powerless and completely at the mercy of the whims of fate. This feeling of having no control can easily lead to despair and symptoms of depression.
There are plenty of interesting philosophical debates about the existence of free will, but it is obvious that high-achievers act as if they have it. Even if the experience of making stuff happen is ultimately an illusion, it is an empowering and gives life meaning and purpose.
5. Positive Thinking is Harmful When it Involves Ignoring Reality
Positive thinking can become delusional if people engage in it despite the reality of their situation. An example of this would be the entrepreneur with a product that nobody wants to buy, yet he/she persists with it until it leads to financial ruin. Any who has ever watched the Shark Tank on ABC will have seen examples of people who fall into this category.
4. Belief in Positive Thinking Can Lower Self-Esteem
People who become too obsessed with the power of positive thinking can start to use it as an excuse for self-criticism. This happens when individuals begin to believe that the reason things go wrong is that they weren’t positive enough. It can get to the stage where the person begins to feel guilty about feeling bad. In this situation, positive thinking is no longer an asset but a weapon people use to beat themselves up with. These feelings of guilt can erode a person’s self-esteem.
3. Positive Action Produces a Natural Positive Outlook
People can pretend to be positive in the hope that it produces positive results or they can just enjoy a naturally positive outlook. The ‘fake it to make it’ approach can be useful if it gives the individual the motivation to do things to improve a situation, but it can also be harmful it involves denying how the person really feels. The great thing about positive action is it causes the person to become naturally positive because these feelings are going to be based on the reality of the situation.
2. Failure Can Be the Key to Success
Dealing with failure can be an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn and grow. Those individuals who somehow manage to achieve greatness without much failure are going to be standing on thin ice. The need to fail in order to be find success can be summed up with a quote by Tom Kelley (IDEO), “fail often so you can succeed sooner”. The problem is that people who are too focused on positive thinking may be unable to see the benefit of failure – this means they can’t learn from it.
1. Positive Action Means Enjoying Life Now
The happiest people around tend to be process-orientated rather than goal-orientated. The former enjoy the work of making a dream a reality while the latter only really care about the end result – or to put it another way, some people enjoy climbing mountains while others only like being on top of mountains. Those individuals who are goal orientated can spend all their life waiting for the magical day when they can be happy, but the person who is process- orientated can be happy every day. When positive thinking is used exclusively in pursuit of an end result, it means the person is going to be goal-orientated.
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