How Thinking Negatively Can Transform Your Life

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.
So make the most of it – I’ve not lost the plot and although you won’t hear me say it too often.. when it comes to achieving your goals, THINK NEGATIVELY – you’ll stand a much better chance of success!


  1. September 24, 2017 / 11:27 pm

    Yes! Wendy. It is so true.
    If I lived in a easy live with all the attentions, loving care ever since I had a stroke, I could not even tie my shoelace. Every morning I had to lie in bed waiting for someone to dress me up. Would never even dreamed of to play computer. Would never be able to publish Everlasting Blossoms in Chinese to pass on my mother’s art to the public. People would never know what a mother I had! I would never thinking of to write the story in in English.
    As an 82 year old lady, handicapped with one hand working. Eyesight is fading. Hearing getting low. Still be able to smell the fragrance of freedom. Even only rudimentary. Grateful to enjoying every minute God give me. Happily!
    It was all because “Negative” motivated!

    • Wendy
      September 24, 2017 / 11:54 pm

      Wow Myra – that really is an amazing example of how something negative can truly inspire the best within us. You are truly inspirational Myra!!

      • September 25, 2017 / 12:33 am

        Wendy, Thank you! I would never think that “negative” could play such an important role in motivation until you said so. You are right! Because I don’t want to burden others with extra work! My hubby said he remembered that he always hear me say: “Sorry! Thank you!” when I was hospitalized.
        I remembered the very first time when my Physical Therapist held a belt on my waist I stepped out my very first wabbling step I burst into tears cried like a baby. I was overjoyed. Because I saw “hope” and a promised future!

      • September 25, 2017 / 1:08 am

        Wendy, Thank you so much! I would never reallize the “negative” could play such an important role in motivation until you said so. My hubby said he remembered when I was hospitalized he heard I say “Sorry!” “Thank you!” all the time. I said so because I hate to burden others with extra works because of me. When my physical therapist held the belt on my waist, I stepped out the first wobbling step. I burst into tears and cryed like a baby. I was overjoyed. Because I saw “Hope”, a promising future!

        • Wendy
          September 25, 2017 / 11:48 am

          How wonderful you are Myra – thank you for your incredibly inspiring comments which I truly appreciate!! You’ve done so amazingly well with your recovery! xx

          • September 25, 2017 / 2:04 pm

            Thank You! Wendy. I was blessed.

          • Wendy
            September 25, 2017 / 10:43 pm

            And I’m blessed that you are here to inspire me and those around you Myra! xx

          • September 26, 2017 / 12:54 am

            You are so sweet, Wendy!
            If you have time, would be interested to read my newly post story?

          • Wendy
            September 26, 2017 / 7:04 am

            I certainly would Myra – I’m popping straight over now! xx

          • September 26, 2017 / 3:02 pm

            Thank you! Wendy

  2. September 18, 2017 / 12:53 pm

    This makes s lot of sense Wendy. Great incentive xo

    • Wendy
      September 20, 2017 / 11:40 pm

      Thanks Miri – yes it’s strange how sometimes looking at the negative can turn out positive! xx

      • September 21, 2017 / 1:10 am

        So true. xo

  3. September 14, 2017 / 1:29 pm

    This is true.
    For instance,if I won’t pick all the toys that they scattered all over the room,I’ll be so annoyed.A messy sight with a limited patience left is not a good combination.😂😂😂
    A “negative” sight urged me to clean right away.Thanks for this post.

    • Wendy
      September 15, 2017 / 8:02 am

      Oh yep – You’re right – it’s usually the extremely bad situations that spur us on to change – if it was all ‘ok’ we usually carry on in the same old way!

      • September 15, 2017 / 9:49 pm

        Exactly.And were motivated by bad experience to get positive result.

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