Following a conversation with Ian about negative thinking, he asked me if I would write an article on the subject. Before continuing it is important to point out that this article encompasses psychological ideas which can be beneficial to many people.
To some degree, psychology is about understanding why a human acts in a certain way. Much of my income is earned from assessing an individual’s psychological profile. Assessment is part of my daily work, business leaders, television and radio media ask for my opinion. Not about outcomes, always about the people involved in making the decisions. It can be a complicated process:
It would be naive to think that a public figure’s personal belief does not influence their choices. We know the ideas which guide our leaders, no matter what is said their true feelings either limit or restrict their progress. As an example when someone says: “I’m acting in the best interests of X” they usually mean the opposite. Why would they make the statement if there was a doubt to be silenced?
By watching and listening to people, we can begin to assess what lays below their statements. We look for consistency and accuracy. An important marker is an attitude. Does the subject have a negative or positive attitude?
We are reviewing with care anyone who continually looks for fault or sets themselves on a pedestal of knowledge. The question is why are they doing this and what is their motivation. These two questions lead to others: Is the negativity affecting the subject. Often people who suffer a sequence of failure are critical of others or set themselves on a pedestal of knowledge.
They filter so much negativity their reasoning becomes flawed. It is like playing with old and broken building blocks. They are seen as the only materials available, and only weak structures are produced.
The more the mind is trained to see negative aspects of persons groups or situations. The more it will use contrary reasoning. The mind is being taught to use actions which invite failure. You are invited to listen to negative people and then look at how successful is their track record. By the way, there is no suggestion material wealth is the gauge of success.
We may listen to someone who has negative thoughts toward a group. He may be racist and dangerous. It is possible the person could seem to be successful. When looking further, we discover the man is a drunk, spends his time complaining about people and their lives. He may be lazy and opposite to the way we see him. Watch for the negative attitude and finding fault. This is a pointer to how someone’s real personality.
Whenever someone is focussed on the negative aspects of a situation or person, they will see only the weak elements of the argument or person. Many of us know people who go out of their way to isolate unfortunate aspects of a situation and use this as ‘weight’ to strengthen their viewpoint. They may use weak comparison or bring in unsupported information to make their point.
Consider this example:
An individual has a point of view which is valid and worth consideration. A negative thinker involves in the dialogue uses a well known or established president to ‘prove’ the new view to be reduced. This reminds us to consider the following of and believing in an idea which is flawed and using it to support an argument is weak and negative thinking.
This trait of negative thinkers is to use other ideas to support their inability to reason with another viewpoint. Always consider if the supporting information is valid or accurate inaccurate.
People suggest ‘spiritual books’ hold universal or superior knowledge. No book holds the secret of success. It there was such a book it would be a core teaching the world-over. Most books stem from a source:
Nothing is new: If the book ‘As Man Thinketh by James Allen’ written in 1903 is reviewed the well-read reader realises it has become the seed of ten’s of spiritual reinterpretations (books). A closed minded thinker could consider Allen’s book as the original idea. There is no ‘original idea’ no eternal fountain of wisdom. To say nothing is new is correct and all books are an accumulation or reinterpretation of other thoughts and ideas. My thoughts and ideas come from a collection of all experienced during life as do your own.
Some self-help books suggest success is discovered when the ‘ego’ is silenced. It would be easy to offer the following reason why ‘ego’ is essential to success and happiness:
Standing up for our opinion sometimes requires a healthy ego. Do you wish to capitulate to the thoughts of other people? Do you want to be controlled by the view of a weak and negative thinker?
I hope not: you are encouraged to strengthen your confidence and ego centre. And use this strength to help and encourage others to be secure and without fear. To say ‘Let it all go and let the universe or some divine spirit decide’ relinquish’s your life to the thoughts of others. Ego and strength or apathy and capitulation? The choice is your’s, and I’ll expand the option further:
Any idea which asks us to relinquish the ego will inevitably control our thoughts. Ego is robust if it used to support and nurture others. A sturdy, fair and kind human can easily be egocentric. By using their ego to make good things happen is a positive human trait. Egocentric people run world-wide businesses which employ tens of thousands of people. Would we want Richard Branson not to be egocentric?
Understand the choice is your own. However, if you find yourself saying: “Well xxx’s book is the way to do things. Believing one idea is superior to another is fine within your mask (Persona). Be careful of thinking your person is the same as other people’s. It is the common mistake of poor thinkers.
Following and believing in an idea which is flawed and using it to support an argument is weak and negative thinking. The importance of this aspect of thought must not be underestimated. When teaching clients ways of assessing people, the first lesson is to consider the content of the information. Students are taught to review if the ‘subject’ is attempting to qualify one statement with an irrelevant comparison.
“The theory XYZ is wrong because John Smith’s explanation ABC seems more plausible to me.”
Negative thinkers will use this type of bias to verify their opinion. The focus in the case above is on the XYZ theory, and the idea should be examined from its singular merits. I know there is difficulty in getting to grips with this idea. However, consider it is essential to be able to focus on isolated ideas: and not use comparisons.
Negative and outwardly critical thinking eventually makes reasoning skills weak and self-damaging. It is the “why is my life so poor” mindset. Signs of negative thinkers are:
Giving up too early.
Becoming enthusiastic and then ‘dropping the idea’ following an extraordinary first effort.
Blaming others for failure.
Not taking responsibility.
And of course, being critical of other people.
There are no secret ways to success, if I knew one my path would not be fifteen-years long. One consideration between success and failure begins with positive (not over-optimistic thinking). My feeling is people who are realistic about the outcomes of life, enjoy a higher degree of successes.
Negative and critical thought used daily. May well become a mindset of failure.