Positive Thinking Isn't What It's Cracked Up to Be!

We hear a lot of about how positive thinking can help reduce stress. But, psychologist Gabriele Oettingen, author of Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside The New Science Of Motivation, argues that positive thinking isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Yayyyyy!

She believes that fantasizing only helps temporarily and is actually counterproductive in helping us make our wishes come true. Instead, Oettingen suggests that we use a mental contrasting tool she calls WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan). This involves closing your eyes, imagining your wish coming true for a few minutes, and then thinking about the main obstacle that’s in your way.

After that, envision the action that you would take to remove the obstacle.

To start, Oettingen advises unplugging from your devices and getting into a calm and unhurried frame of mind.

Wish: Think about what you want to happen. It can be a small wish for tomorrow or a big one for the coming year. Think about three or four words to describe it, and place it in the front of your mind.

Outcome: Then ask yourself, what is the best outcome? Imagine and experience that scenario would look like and put that at the front of your mind.

Obstacle: After that, switch gears and ask yourself, what holds me back? What will prevent you from accomplishing it. Imagine those obstacles. This is a way to articulate and then dismantle all potential excuses that could arise, according to Oettingen. Imagine all of those transpiring.

Plan: Finally, one by one, imagine what you would do in the event one of those obstacles was thrown in your path. Alternate the thoughts, if X happens, then I will do Y.

Oettingen believes that breaking your goal into these four specific pieces can help bring you clarity about what you can and cannot handle at a given moment. “When things get stressful and the challenges come, it keeps you down to earth.”

Source | Entrepreneur Asia Pacific