When Positive Thinking Fails

Have you tried positive thinking, self talk, affirmations, read books on the power of suggestion, autosuggestion, watched “the secret” or taken courses on how to materialize your goals and are still waiting for results? If so, you may be positively surprised by what you’re about to learn.

Research by leading universities in the field of cognitive and behavioral science proves the existence of so called “automatic thoughts”, i.e. thoughts that come to mind involuntarily and effortlessly as an automatic response to certain stimuli. These are the thoughts that ultimately determine whether you’ll fail or succeed.

The average person processes over 60’000 separate thoughts per day, of which 90% occur subconsciously. Automatic thoughts are produced by our subconscious mind and continue to execute without the involvement of our conscious mind. Think about how many things you just do, day in day out, without even consciously thinking about it. These automatic thoughts are like mini computer programs in our subconscious minds. They automatically come into action as a response to stimuli in our environment.

While many automatic thoughts are positive, some of them can create undesirable limitations in terms of your ability to evolve and progress – you could call them “success blockers”. They simply prevent you from progressing or being successful in certain areas. Automatic thoughts determine your thought patterns, attitudes and behaviors. The reactions you then observe from your environment validate your thoughts.

A key observation is that certain “automatic thoughts” are triggered by many common belief patterns (schema) with groups of people who experience the same or similar challenges and limitations.

The first step in eliminating automatic thoughts that prevent you from being successful in a certain area is to determine the thought patterns that trigger success limiting thoughts, attitudes and behaviors.

The second step is to actively change these thought patterns (cognitive modification) and introduce cognitive patterns that have been observed to trigger positive results.
But how do you do that? Ask yourself, how many people you know who despite honest attempts to change their destiny

– lead unfulfilled or unsatisfying lives

– continue to struggle with money problems

– suffer from low self confidence and its unfortunate consequences

– are not satisfied with their work and simply show up day after day to collect a pay check at the end of the month

Why do these people continue to fail? In most cases it isn’t for lack of trying or good will. It’s because our brains are programmed to subconsciously react to certain stimuli in the form of predetermined (automatic) thoughts that guide our behaviors.

If the conscious mind tries to initiate a behavioral change that conflicts with the subconscious mind’s pre-programmed thought patterns, the subconscious mind always wins.
In his famous book “Self Mastery through Conscious Autosuggestion” Dr. Emile Coue writes: “In the conflict between the will and the subconscious mind, the force of the subconscious mind is in direct ratio to the square of the will”, i.e. even if you’re willing to change, you won’t change unless you change the subconscious automatic thoughts.
Think of how many people you know fully understand that smoking is damaging to their health, and yet they continue to smoke. Or how many people know that eating excessively not only makes them feel unattractive but is also bad for their well being, and yet they continue to eat more than they should.

There’s clearly no lack of consciousness here, and yet, the behaviors persist. The latest statistics indicate that fewer than one in five people who follow a formal weight loss program actually succeed in loosing weight. Why is the failure rate so high? Because despite all the good intentions the cognitive and associated behavioral patterns of these people remain unchanged and continue to produce the same old undesirable outcomes.

The only effective way to produce results is to re-condition your thought and behavioral patterns. In unscientific terms it could be compared to erasing old “success blocker programs” and installing new “success enabler programs” on your computer. There are several ways you can do that. Some of the ones we encourage you to consider include Autosuggestion, Affirmations and Visualization techniques.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”, Wayne Dyer

Published with permission – ©2007 Inspirized ® – www.inspirized.com