Friday, June 05, 2009

What Does "Thinking Positive" Really Mean?

It's impossible to totally separate our sense of reality from that of illusion. Our thoughts, underlying assumptions and feelings that make us who we are, often times obscure actual reality.

Thus, navigating through life becomes a balancing act that requires us to mediate the demands of the real world with a "software system" that may contain many false and/or outdated presuppositions. Because of the innate blinders all of us wear, it's crucial that we maintain a keen awareness of what these underlying assumptions are as we use them to understand and interpret our reality, because ultimately that will determine our state of equilibrium in the long run.

Adopting the "Pollyanna principle" - everything will work out right in the end — or positive thinking without critical thought as your chief way to maneuver through what can sometimes be rough terrain is the surest way to negative consequences.

Don't think you can if you can't. That's what people tripping on LSD do. Yet, it seems, Americans, in particular, believe in a form of positive thinking that borders on delusional optimism, if not outright delusional optimism. Maybe it's because we can...because we're fortunate enough to live in a country that up until now has been (geographically) insulated from the rest of the world. However, as the world continues to shrink, so does that advantage.

Positive thinking isn't about pretending everything is hunky dory. It's not about burying your head in the sand and telling everyone life's a bowl of cherries. It's not about asking for big houses, big cars, and making your own life comfortable at the exclusion of knowing what's going on around you.

It's about paying attention, so you are not caught off guard by the powers that be. It's about doing your homework to find out what you need to do to take positive action. It's about hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. And ultimately, it's about accepting the resulting reality in lieu or despite your best efforts.

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