Many pragmatic, scientific people dismiss the power of positive thinking because they assume positive thinking means thinking only. “So what, I’m just supposed to believe I’m the writer of a national bestseller and then I’ll magically become the writer of a national bestseller?” skeptics scoff, “I call bullshit.” But visualizing what we most passionately yearn for and believing it’s possible isn’t just about wishing for something to happen-it’s about doing something in the real world. As Jen Sincero hilariously points out:
“Sadly, we can’t just float around in our neighbor’s pool on a raft with cup-holders, sipping cocktails and being all high frequency while waiting for unicorns to fly down from the sky. We have to take action-hell-bent-for-glory kind of action.”
If we actually want to compose the next great American novel, we can’t just believe the opportunity is really, truly available to us- we have to scribble.
The ancients called this the “vita activa” or the life of action. I myself have never been good at living outwardly. Like many of us, I prefer to plot and plan, to brainstorm and reflect, to brood and muse, the “vita contemplativa.” Before I approach any goal-training for a marathon for instance-I’ll research, ransack the library, and read every book on the subject, buy the most technologically advanced, highest-rated pair of New Balances, create a detailed work out schedule but actually strap on my running shoes? That takes awhile. But that, of course, is the most important step. If I just sat on a paisley rug chanting and sniffing incense, I’d never win my race. So the key to positive thinking is this: conceive, believe, then resolutely, decisively take action.