FOOLING OURSELVES Changing trajectories BY: Troy Murphy | June 2016
Stock Adobe Royalty Free Images
Citing positive mantras combats critical thoughts, generating precious energy to achieve. But too much, and we dull receptiveness to learning. Some of us need more positive reinforcement, while others, perhaps, a little more reality. Thoughts—whether positive or negative—influence behavior. Thoughts play a prominent role in the action loop, moving action to fulfill the thought. If we believe we are bungled and botched, we likely will act in ways leading to expected failure. The same is true for positive thinking; when we trust in our abilities, we likely will act to succeed. The practice of citing positive mantras challenges negative beliefs, re-programming self-defeating thoughts to be constructive. Positive mantras, however, are not magic, diminishing other important ingredients for success. Lasting and effective change requires more. Actions must be properly directed. Acting with confidence, but acting wrongly, fails to lasso our dreams, shaking confidence and doubting the whole positive thought philosophy. Along with positive thoughts, trusting our strengths, we must remain humble enough to see fault and learn from experience. With sufficient knowledge, practiced skills and the self-discipline, we can achieve many great things.
Without proper knowledge, positive self ruminations may persuade our thinking, skipping necessary humility, relying on the same ineffective behaviors that have failed us in the past. Without self-discipline we feel good, but sit anxiously waiting for the universe to deliver.
We must make difficult choices, defying natural inclinations, to change deeply set trajectories.
I can repeatedly tell myself how intelligent I am but if I fail to encourage intellectual growth, my intelligence remains stagnant. I may think I am brilliant; but remain blind. Positive self-talk can motivate but also inhibit. Several decades ago, after reading “Think and Grow Rich,” I discovered prematurely thinking I was rich encouraged unnecessary spending. Instead of necessary habits of saving and investing, the positive thoughts landed me deeper in debt. For positive thought to succeed, we must be motivated in proper action—the proper means is essential to arrive at the desired end.
By entertaining hope, bolstered by self-trust without applying appropriate action, we evoke conflict. Reality will collide with expectations. The riches and happiness will evade our misguided hopes unless we properly act to achieve them. The conflict—believing but not acting—eventually triggers discouragement when the hopes never materialize. Beliefs eventually must contend with reality. Believing I’m rich doesn’t resolve the unpaid bills. The conflict challenges positive thoughts, requiring a re-examination of our behaviors, or more engrossing personal deceit. We can’t continually force ourselves to believe we are successful while continuing to live in squalor. The bill collectors knock at the door, the bank accounts remain barren, and our hopes reflect the sorrow of unfulfilled dreams. We continue to live the nightmare.
We seek simple solutions to complex problems. We chase after fast and dramatic results while ignoring proven and difficult paths.
Dozens of pieces carefully sorted and placed solve the complex puzzle of richness and satisfaction. Positive thinking is one piece; a tool in the well-being tool box. But a single tool has limitations—easily misused; not because the tool is faulty but because it’s incomplete.
Do you desire self-respect, success, riches, or health? These accomplishments require skills—of thought and action. Positive thinking motivates. Positive thinking may strengthen self-discipline. But ultimately for the gifts to be bestowed, we must engage the behaviors upon which those gifts are predicated. Only a habit of appropriate day to day actions will invite the blessings we seek.