Why positive thinking is not enough

Why positive thinking is not enough

I have always had an issue with those who proclaim positive thinking to be the answer to all problems.

My point is this. It is not enough to think “positive” it actually has to be a way of being.

To illustrate this unfortunately I am going to use a personal, real life example. This is my diary of the last three days.


Yesterday I was rude to a supplier. I didn’t mean to be and I certainly didn’t start out with that intention; but I got frustrated in the course of the conversation and I let that frustration come to the surface.

To give you some background, without the detail for confidentiality’s sake.

I asked a very big company for a favour and they did it for me, well nearly all of it. It was a great result and something for which I am very grateful. Unfortunately, for the deal to really work for me I needed the whole favour; so I went back to ask again for the other bit.

I was trying to do a barter trade and give something in return but I was up against a stone wall and this where the frustration took hold.

The consequence is that I have now managed to make it harder for me to get what I need.

Two Lessons, which I already know very well, have been reinforced in my mind in no uncertain terms.

1. Be grateful: I don’t mean in a token “thank you” manner. I mean from the bottom of your heart. If you don’t feel your gratitude from this place, when you are challenged it will not have the strength in your feelings to influence your actions.

2. Take time: If you are not absolutely in a positive frame of mind with a clear idea of the boundaries and objectives of a business call – don’t make the call. Wait until your mind is clear.

It is the second time I have made this mistake, the last time being 12 years ago. I remember that call very clearly and I know I am going to remember this one for just as long.

On Monday I will be calling to apologise, I hope it will be accepted.


Well I did apologise and it was accepted, in the same spirit in which it was offered. So I feel relieved. Actually I am more than relieved, I’m happy. The relationship seems to be repaired and I am meeting with them on Wednesday.

Business is all about relationships; the ability to maintain them but at the same time retain the ability to negotiate strongly. To look after your own interests and respect those of the people that you have to deal with is what true effectiveness is all about.

And the reason that “positive” has to be a way of being?

Because people have an incredible ability to see through our cloaks of positive thinking, they can sense if it is not coming from a sincere place. Our body language betrays us: We all have unconscious mannerisms that we can’t control, that are driven by our subconscious thought patterns.

If you want to be seen as a positive person then you have to be that person, not just think it.

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