The Positive Power of Negative Thinking
Contrary to the positive thinking industry, psychologists say that too much rosy-colored thinking can backfire, making us blind to potential problems and more vulnerable to failure.
What's the Latest Development?
Psychologists have begun to dispute the positive thinking trend that has populated so many self-help books and motivational seminars over the last two decades. Nearly every technique in which positive thought is meant to bring about better results may actually backfire, they say. Positive visualization, for example, may demotivate individuals with a particular goal by giving them the sensation they have already achieved it. Even goal setting, that standard motivational technique of managers everywhere, runs the risk of creating a myopic business culture too focused on overly narrow targets.
What's the Big Idea?
There is perhaps good reason why the positive thinking industry is a relatively new phenomena: The wisdom that advises against seeing the world through rose-colored glasses spans centuries. "The Stoics recommended 'the premeditation of evils,' or deliberately visualizing the worst-case scenario. ... Buddhist meditation, too, is arguably all about learning to resist the urge to think positively—to let emotions and sensations arise and pass, regardless of their content." Rather than purposely think negatively, we may be wise to reevaluate what we consider as negative emotions in the first place.
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Don't underestimate the power of play when it comes to problem-solving.
- As we get older, the work we consistently do builds "rivers of thinking." These give us a rich knowledge of a certain kind of area.
- The problem with this, however, is that as those patterns get deeper, we get locked into them. When this happens it becomes a challenge to think differently — to break from the past and generate new ideas.
- How do we get out of this rut? One way is to bring play and game mechanics into workshops. When we approach problem-solving from a perspective of fun, we lose our fear of failure, allowing us to think boldly and overcome built patterns.
Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
- Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
- This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
- The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
The surprising results come from a new GLAAD survey.
- The survey found that 18- to 34-year-old non-LGBTQ Americans reported feeling less comfortable around LGBTQ people in a variety of hypothetical situations.
- The attitudes of older non-LGBTQ Americans have remained basically constant over the past few years.
- Overall, about 80 percent of Americans support equal rights for LGBTQ people.
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