The Perils Of Positive Thinking.

I came across an article on Harvard Business Review today called “Less-Confident People Are More Successful.” I wonder if there was any misunderstanding about what “confident” really means. Looking up the etymology dictionary, we see that “confident” is from:

Confident etymology

If the writer, Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, intended for “confident” to lean more toward the side of smugness and arrogance, then he would be absolutely right. However, if “confidence” were to lean to the side of boldness, which is, according to Character First!, “Confidence to say or do what is true, right, and just”, then of course the article would make no sense.

Whether we call it boldness or confidence wouldn’t help us a lot here. What is more important is to ask ourselves “Upon what is my confidence or boldness based?” If it were based on our own abilities, our own judgments, our own prowess and skills, our own sense of what is just, then we have much to tremble for. The last time I checked, I was still a fallible human being. Good intentions and all, no doubt, but still a fallible human being. Do you feel the same way? I trust myself, yes, but only to the extent that I know I am applying universal, non-negotiable principles in all that I think, say and do. If I feel otherwise, I check myself against those principles. If others feel otherwise, I do the same thing – check myself against those principles.

The important thing is that I do not allow myself to be frozen into inaction just because I feel that I am not in perfect alignment with principles. I take action. Including waiting. Waiting is an action. Waiting means sensing the right timing to catapult my plans into action. But action it is nonetheless.

Which brings us to the topic of this post – positive thinking. It is definitely much better than negative thinking. However, people are often misled into equating positive thinking with wishful thinking, or flights of fancy. They are not the same thing. Positive thinking is taking stock of all the available facts surrounding a decision, weighing available options against universal principles, and coming up with a viable course of action. The swifter you can do this, the more effective your actions will be.

Unfortunately, there are enough people who equate positive thinking with wishful thinking that the title “The Perils Of Positive Thinking” makes sense. I really wish it didn’t. That positive is a false positive.

Have you been a false positive? How can you become a true positive? Tend to your roots of character, and you will! Then you can change the tone of your positivity to be in line with, as Norman Vincent Peale wrote, “The POWER of Positive Thinking.” Go well!

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