In teaching thinking skills I've often been asked, "Isn't this just the same as positive thinking?" My answer, of course, is NO.
Everything in life is clearly NOT positive. Many things are indeed negative. Cruel. Disastrous. Survival is constantly under threat. Growth is not always possible.

Many problems are deep and costly. Getting exponentially worse. Even wicked. Pretending they are positive can be a mere substitute for the serious thinking effort required to deal with the sharp realities of the day.

Quite far from positive thinking is the kind of design thinking we promote in SOT (with tools and apps like cvs2bvs). cvs2bvs is for finding better ways not merely positive ways. 

x10 thinking is for problem-solving not just problem-dissolving. It's not for avoiding problems but for designing testable solutions.

x10 thinking = (trial x10) + (error x10).

x10 thinking is not easy. It's hard work. x10 thinking is how to take the things that you have -- problems and opportunities -- and design ways, generate alternatives, explore possibilities and test options to add value or make them better. This is the real return on payroll. 

This is design work. This is cognitive effort. There is risk. There is uncertainty. Just pretending things will be positive is no substitute for thinking.
Hope (or prayer, for that matter) is NOT a strategy. A strategy IS the deliberate and rigorous search for much better truths than the ones we currently have. Not everyone will be willing to do this.
If you've got ten minutes, here's a balanced and nicely animated discussion of the negatives of "positive thinking" by award-winning thinker, Barbara Ehrenreich.

Video – 6 minutes.

PRODUCTIVITY IS MEASURED BY GOVERNMENTS and companies, but it is only part of the picture. A return on payroll, or ROP, is what leaders should be delivering to their constituents and shareholders, respectively.

So says Dr. Michael Hewitt-Gleeson, founder of the ‘School of Thinking‘ and prolific author on creative and lateral thinking. In this Insight, Michael discusses how X10 Thinking can assist in growing value, by improving the capability of the existing workforce to make the right management decisions more often.

A thinker is a sovereign individual who consciously values the natural rights of thinkers.

The School of Thinking supports the natural rights of thinkers. Here are ten thinkers rights which are supported by the School of Thinking.

A Universal Declaration of Thinkers Rights


1. As thinkers, we have the right to use thinking in a quiet and confident manner.

2. As thinkers, we have the right to have pride in our thinking skill.

3. As thinkers, we have the right to use that skill and to consider a “thinking reaction” rather than a reaction based on emotion or experience alone. The thinking might make use of experience and emotion, but these would be part of the thinking instead of controlling it.

4. A thinker has the right to escape from current views of situations and to search for much better views of situations.

5. A thinker has the universal right to be wrong.

6. A thinker does not have to defend a point of view at all costs. There is the right to see other points of view and the right to design a much better decision.

7. A thinker has the right to acquire wisdom or to seek it out wherever it may be found. Wisdom is quite distinct from the sort of cleverness that is taught in school. Cleverness may be useful for dealing with set puzzles or defending local truths but wisdom is required for designing a safer future.

8. A thinker has the right to get on with his or her own work and to get along with other thinkers and if things go wrong a thinker has the right to think things through and to fix them without creating a fuss.

9. A thinker has the right to spell out the factors involved in a situation and also the reasons behind a decision.

10. Above all, a thinker has the right to be asked to think about something, to focus thinking in a deliberate manner upon any subject. Thinking can be used as a tool by the thinker at will. The use of this tool can be enjoyable whatever the outcome. This applied thinking is practical—the sort of thinking that is required to get things done.

– Adapted from the Learn-To-Think Coursebook and Instructors Manual
© 1982 Michael Hewitt-Gleeson and Edward de Bono, Capra New USA.