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.
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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.

2 thoughts on “The Negatives of Positive Thinking

  1. Fortunately, the craze of “positive thinking” is less common now than it was a few decades ago. It totally obliterates critical and analytical thinking, and blurs the reality. It is good to be an optimist, but it is important to keep one’s feet on the ground, i.e. to see the world as is, not as we wish it were..

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