Today’s blog may seem strange coming from someone who runs a website selling mp3 affirmations. However, this topic has been on my mind for sometime and an article I read today on Slate.com entitled Think Negative! seemed like the perfect opportunity to address it.
In the article, writer John Gravois takes Oprah Winfrey to task for her promotion (and darn near creation) of The Secret craze. Gravois argues that, if anything, we have our rose-colored glasses on too much in modern America. He blames “the positive thinking crowd” for this problem.
Gravois refers to a book by Rutgers University professor Karen Cerulo entitled Never Saw It Coming: Cultural Challenges to Envisioning the Worst. Cerulo apparently details Gravois’ point about how we Americans only see the good in things and do so to our peril. He calls on Oprah to use her powers of persuasion to reverse support for The Secret.
First, I want to say that Oprah has been a hugely positive force in our society for a long time. For many years, I didn’t “get” her show. I thought it was just another afternoon show for the shrinking ranks of stay-at-home moms. Once I realized what she is all about, I became a great admirer.
Her message, it seems to me, is a pretty simple one…”you can do it!” I think she and her staff work very hard to find tools and information that support that mission. The Secret certainly falls into that category.
I think what is needed in this discussion is balance and context.
To an extent, Gravois has a point. There are some purveyors of The Secret that go overboard in their assertions. This does have the tendency to promise susceptible people things that probably are not possible. It also has fairly been criticized for promoting the a “blame the person” defense when the system fails to yield the desired results.
On the other hand, Gravois seems to be falling into the common trap that assumes that a negative view of the world is somehow more realistic than a positive view. While he recounts instances where positive thinking falls short, he fails to look at the fact that most of the negative things we worry about never come to pass.
Yet, those negative thoughts and worries have a very real impact on our lives and on how we interact with the world whether they ever come true or not.
We live in a world that has a lot of negativity. We have a government and a mainstream media that maintains control by spreading a great deal of fear, negativity, and divisiveness.
People, in my opinion, have a right – even a self-obligation – to fight back or they place their outlook, their confidence, and their very self-hood at risk.
Positive thinking is a tool. Like any tool it can be misused. Its benefits can be overstated. It also has very real, tangible, demonstrable benefits over being negative. Skills, mood, behaviors, and many other aspects our lives can be improved (if not perfected) through the power of the way we think about them.
It’s foolish to walk into a rattle snake den or fail to seek medical attention for a serious condition on the hope that your positive thoughts are going to protect you. It is equally foolish to go through life only seeing the gloomy; never experiencing the good; and allowing others to form and control your potential by controlling your thoughts.
Only you have that right, but you can certainly hand it to the government, the media, your mother, or your friends. You have to take the bull by the horns and manage your own thoughts.
That is why I created The Affirmation Spot. Affirmations are a spark that lights the flame of the positive thinking engine. I call them mind vitamins because they do something similar for your mind to what vitamins do for your body – maintain health and help battle stress and disease.
Use of affirmations cannot guarantee perfection, enlightenment, a worry-free life, or the big shot in your career. They can, however, help you improve incrementally and prepare your mindset to handle life’s stresses and maximize life’s opportunities.
May each of you have a peaceful and prosperous day!
Ray Davis is the Founder of The Affirmation Spot and focuses on empowering minds to think positively, achieve goals, and live dreams.He’s spent the past 21 years in sales and sales training for major companies.
He is the author of the Anunnaki Awakening series (2015). Book 1 – Revelation – is now available in paperback and on Kindle. This trilogy takes Ancient Aliens out of the past and into the present. An interstellar, interdimensional journey ensues with humanity’s future hanging in the balance.