The Power of Positive Thinking: Point – Counterpoint

Is there a down-side to the power of positive thinking? Find out when Jeff debates Jeff.


…according to a Stanford Research Institute study success is 88 percent attitude and 12 percent education. The results should be no surprise to anyone. Maintaining a positive attitude is an important factor in your ability to succeed in life and stay sane through tough times. [Emphasis added]


Positive thinking is not a new concept, but in recent decades it has been increasingly gaining currency among the global populace. There is almost a consensus on the value of consciously cultivating positive thinking for individual health, happiness and success. [Emphasis added]

What is it like, this state of positivity? What kind of  life would we lead when immersed in it? I think it is a state of concentrated energy, for we will be freed of all the negative thoughts that steal away our energy and dissipate our focus. [...] Most of all, it would be a highly effective state of the mind, for it would zero in on what needs to be done and do it. It would also be a tremendous force for good. [Emphasis added]



Recently, a number of writers and researchers have questioned the notion that looking on the bright sideoften through conscious effort — makes much of a difference. [Emphasis added]

A study published in the November-December issue of Australasian Science found that people in a negative mood are more critical of, and pay more attention to, their surroundings than happier people, who are more likely to believe anything they are told. [Emphasis added]

It’s easy to show an association between optimism and subsequent health,” he said, “but if you introduce appropriate statistical controls — if you take into account baseline health and material resources — then the effect largely goes away.”

As for Ms. Ehrenreich [author of Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America], she believes that negative thinking is just as delusional as unquestioned positive thinking. She hopes to see a day when corporate employees “walk out when the motivational speakers start talking,” she said. “It’s all about control and money.” Her goal? To encourage realism, “trying to see the world not colored by our wishes or fears, but by reality.” [Emphasis added]

Source: Seeking a Cure for Optimism


“The challenge of modernity is to live without illusions and without becoming disillusioned.”

“I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will”

Antonio Gramsci, 1891-1937

Print Friendly


  • Scott Hutson

    No argument here. I have been criticized most of my life for not believing in myself. I know a motivational speaker who gave up trying to motivate me years ago. He recently stopped working for me, as a helper in our (My Dad and Me) successful small business. He’s my older step-brother and I learned from his positive thinking that “Get Rich Quick” is a Myth. He does have a gift of making Happier People believe in whatever his next scheme is. Everyone in my whole family Walks Out when he starts speaking.

    I’m not saying that there are not Rich people that sell Amway,Tupperware,Herbal Life,or whatever. I’m just telling you why I think Positive Thinking can’t stop me from facing the hard reality of living with A.D.D. (Emphasis A.D.D. Hard). BTW, I have nothing against Tupperware, I wish I could remember what box I packed some of it in. (Emphasis Wish).

    • Jeff

      My old business partner (who is, himself, ADHD) tends to be a positive thinker. Some of it has rubbed off on me. However, it's one thing to think positively…quite another to be delusional in ones positive thinking. I think aspects of my life will improve…that's not delusional. But to think Michelle Pfeiffer is going to come knocking on my door…no matter how much positive thinking I do…that's delusional.

      • Scott Hutson

        Jeff, I try to appear optimistic and strong to the people that love me (family,friends..) for they’re sake. I also try to convince myself that I can, by myself, defeat the enemy that has, without warning, attacked me. So maybe it could seen as positive thinking. But that is not what it is. It is only me acting. I have to delude myself in some ways.

        I am guilty of dreadly selfish crime commited on myself, if I don’t admit that I cannot do everthing without some help. And on a lighter note, I asked Michelle to look ya up if she’s ever in your neck of the woods. I’ve been trying to convince her that I am not her dream Man for so long. She’s not paying attn. through.

        • Jeff

          Sometimes we all engage in a bit of self-delusion. But the bigger issue is when we do it and we don’t know it. That’s the dangerous part. And thanks for your help with Michelle. Greatly appreciated.

  • Self-Improvement-Movies-Games

    The most valid point here, IMO, is that negative thinking is just as delusional as positive thinking. So you might as well be delusionally positive. 

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      “delusionally positive” – Interesting concept. But then, we can probably argue that most any viewpoint is, at some level, delusional.

ADHD: Awesome and Deadly

An email from an ADHDer. Subject: Open this email I have ADD and I want to share! Message: Hi Jeff, [...]

What It Feels Like To Have ADHD

ADHD – A Love Story (Part 6)

The Trap is Set

The Wanderer

The Child Within The Man

ADHD – A Love Story (Part 5)

The System Is Blinking Red

ADHD – A Love Story (Part 4)

A Quick Bite

ADHD – A Love Story (Part 3)

Thick As A Brick

How Do You Know If You Have ADHD?

The Warning Signs of ADHD

ADHD – A Love Story (Part 2)

Warning Signs

ADHD – A Love Story (Part 1)

The Ground Shakes

A Cure for ADHD

Satisfaction Guaranteed Or Your Money Back!

The Perfect Month

What A Great Time Of Year

That’s What I Call ADHD-Friendly Software

A recent ADHD newsletter noted that The Brain — a mind mapping software — might be a useful tool for [...]

Life in the Modern Age

Sixteen months ago I moved from the world of entrepreneurship — a portmanteau comprised of the French word entrepreneur, which [...]

E-Card Fun

Some more e-card humor: Expressing Your ADHD Self…Digitally A Few Laughs, Giggles & Groans

While Rome Burns

I’ve started collecting screenshots of online advertising. I’m trying to understand the message. The ad below says that if I’m [...]

Kiss Your Distractions Goodbye

Do one thing at a time

ADHD Does Not Exist

I can’t tell what is more disturbing. A book titled “ADHD Does Not Exist: The Truth About Attention Deficit and [...]