It’s not often you’ll hear me saying that we should ‘think negatively’ is it?
For some of my regular blog readers, you’re probably thinking that Wendy’s finally lost the plot! Yes I’m giving positive thinking the old heave ho…
Well maybe not forever, but there is definitely a case for using negative thinking to transform your life!
Let me explain…
We’re motivated to take action to achieve a goal, driven by 2 prime instincts – the need to avoid pain and the desire to seek pleasure. The need to avoid pain is one of our strongest instincts and it overpowers our desire to seek pleasure in the vast majority, if not all instances.
When it comes to achieving a goal that we’ve set ourselves, we often focus on the positive benefits of achieving the goal, to motivate ourselves to start making the changes and taking the action necessary to achieve the goal.
However, if we only think about the benefits (the pleasure) of achieving a goal, we’re missing a trick, because harnessing the power of negative thinking (the pain) will have a far bigger motivating impact to keep driving us on to take the necessary actions to achieve our goal.
Because our drive to avoid pain is greater than our desire to seek pleasure.
Therefore a bit of negative thinking will drive us to take some positive action toward achieving our goal and motivate us to stick to the actions we need to take, if we remind ourselves of all the negative things that will happen if we don’t succeed.
Let me give you an example:
I’ve set myself a goal to change my fitness habit by exercising every day for 90 days as part of Brilliance Within’s 90 Day Habit Changing Challenge. Now when I decided I was going to start this challenge, it was because I’ve previously thought about ‘getting fit’, started out on my goal to ‘get fit’ full of motivation and enthusiasm, only to find my motivation declining fairly quickly. Previously, when I’ve embarked on a new fitness regime, I’d think about all the positive benefits of becoming fitter….
“I’ll feel better; I’ll have more energy; I’ll keep my diabetes in remission” etc.
These are all great reasons to continue toward my goal, but by adding some negative implications of not achieving the goal into the mix, I’m going to more than double my chance of success:
“If I don’t achieve this goal, I’ll feel horrible, I’ll have no energy to play with granddaughters; I’ll put on weight and have to wear bigger clothes; I’ll probably have to take medication which has horrible side effects for my diabetes; If I don’t keep my diabetes in remission, I could end up with an amputation or blindness”
Can you feel the difference in the energy and emotion created by the negative thoughts, about what will happen if I don’t achieve my goal, compared to the positive thoughts?
- Combining both positive and negative reasons to ‘get fit’, provides the perfect combination of thinking, to maximise my chance of succeeding.
- The thought of what would happen if my diabetes was out of control, is a MASSIVE motivator to keep me taking the daily action I need to take to achieve my new fitness habit.