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  • Writer's pictureTommy Cicero

Thinking the right thoughts

“The first step to getting out of the hole is to stop digging.”

There are countless, books, blogs, podcasts and YouTube channels dedicated to the power of positive thinking. The subject has been praised, ignored and criticized for its claims of how people can think themselves into better life circumstances and improve their overall quality of life. The arguments for positive thinking suggest that formulating and focusing on positive thoughts helps develop inspired planning and action toward creating desired outcomes. The arguments against it say that too much focus on optimism and positive thoughts can lead to lack of initiative or follow through when the going gets tough or never happens.

I fall somewhere in the middle on this debate, but lean more toward the positive. 😃 I have experienced the power of positive thinking and having a positive mental attitude. I have experienced what negative thinking does too, mostly in my youth. More recently I was introduced to the idea of neutral thinking by mental strength expert Trevor Moawad from his book, It Takes What it Takes. He advises not focusing so much on positive thinking, but more on eliminating the negative thoughts and expectations. This approach can help us ignore the excuses and make the most of what we were born with, staying committed through setbacks, when positive thinking can seem difficult.

I have experienced the pitfalls of positive thinking by doing more planning than crossing items off my to-do list. I understand the importance of not falling into some trap of over fantasizing without putting in the sweat equity required to turn imagination into reality. Having a more neutral mindset has also helped me understand the importance of pivoting when something is not working, without allowing setbacks to derail me completely. I remember to not fall into negative thinking, even when it's tough to be or feel positive. I keep it neutral by not allowing thoughts that do not serve me to consume or define my circumstances. I'm good at finding silver linings too!

Studies show us the crucial role our thoughts play in creating our reality. If anything, it should prompt us to be more mindful of whether our thoughts are helping or hurting our intended desires. We can stay more committed to our aim in life without all of the doom and gloom thinking. The positivity absolutely helps, but if we resist the need to fall below neutral, we are more likely to succeed in our pursuits. At the very least, we can live much more enjoyable lives by always moving forward with our heads up instead of getting nowhere with our heads down.

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