Screw Positive Thinking! Where Self Help Goes Terribly Wrong

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It is the battle cry of the self-help faithful. "I am focusing on the positive!" There could never have been a dumber idea presented to the world. Yet all of us do it at one time or another. Let me give you a suggestion that might seem a bit revolutionary ….

SCREW POSITIVE THINKING! It is stupid and destructive.

"But here …. Positive thinking makes me feel good." Why yes it does and that is exactly the problem. A person using the excuse that they need to feel good in order to get through the day is crap. It allows you to avoid all your problems but …. what really happens is that the problems are still there and you are just building a defensive wall out of a fragile house of cards that one day will crumble when something happens that makes it impossible for you to avoid a problem.

Do not worry! Then some well-meaning idiot therapist will give you a pill to boost you mood even more. After you acclimate to that they will kindly up your dosage to you can hide even better from the problem. Just like Old Faithful you can count on one thing for sure … sooner or later you will erupt.

I call this the denial circuit. Last week Dr Ken was in town and we were mapping out the behavioral circuits of the brain. We came across and interesting discovery. Once we tap into the denial circuit we get even more creative about our excuses because that circuit taps directly into the creative part of the brain. It allows you to better ignore the problem and then rewards that by making you feel even better about ignoring the problem. It is a cycle that keeps going until you run into a wall.There is a free video on the top left corner of this site.

SSRIs make that even worse because they boost the chemicals in the brain that make you better able to ignore the problems and they make you feel good about doing it.

Then the dam bursts.

Why does this happen? It is simple. You can only squeeze so much feel good out of your brain before it reacts and the feel good chemicals can not keep up anymore. When that happens you hit the wall and there is no escape. At that point you have a few choices. You can check yourself in for a free stay and the loony bin. You can curl up into the fetal position and waste away. My choice is this. You can choose to face your problems and solve them!

The problem with hiding from your problems is that the part of the brain that rewards your hiding also has no movement attached to it. You are just sitting in neutral with good feeling and no motivation to move. There is no access to the part of the brain that initiates movement. So nothing really changes other than you feel OK about being screwed up.

Yes I know this sounds nuts. Actually growing and learning sounds crazy when it is easier to just ignore. Yes it is easier to take magic pills, go into denial or just drink and drug yourself into oblivion. One thing I can guarantee is that sooner or later the eruption will occur. You will have to face the problem you have been ignoring. There is no hiding from it.

What can you do? The first thing is to make some personal changes that allow you to handle adversity instead of hiding from it. I think the 3D Mind is the best process for that. The reason I think so is that it balances the way the brain works. This is not some therapeutic junk where we examine your past. It is an actual brain exercise that helps your brain think in a new way. It shows you how to create and have a movement all at the same time so that you address your issues quickly so that they never have a chance to erupt into huge problems.

OK I know … you have one of the ten thousand self-help books out there that tell you that being positive is powerful. Sorry … they are all wrong. No exceptions. No compromises.

The happiest people I know do not focus on only the positive things in life. They just deal with problems very quickly. They are creative and move quickly to solve problems, instead of focusing on where there are no problems. If you want to be one of these people then there are a few things you are going to have to do.

1. List your favorite excuses.
2. Pick one excuse.
3. What does that excuse allow you to avoid?
4. How would it feel if you could not avoid it?
5. Use your favorite self-improvement process that does not just make it easier to avoid those feelings.