Negative Thinking Can Actually Help You Accomplish Your Goals

You’ve probably heard a lot of people tell you to “stay positive”, but being overly optimistic isn’t always the best way to achieve your goals. The Wall Street Journal explains that it can actually cause anxiety.

Title image remixed from anthonycz (Shutterstock).

While optimism can keep you motivated, it can also make failure seem a lot scarier, stopping you in your tracks:

Just thinking in sober detail about worst-case scenarios — a technique the Stoics called “the premeditation of evils” — can help to sap the future of its anxiety-producing power. The psychologist Julie Norem estimates that about one-third of Americans instinctively use this strategy, which she terms “defensive pessimism.” Positive thinking, by contrast, is the effort to convince yourself that things will turn out fine, which can reinforce the belief that it would be absolutely terrible if they didn’t.

You want to avoid overdoing this though. If you get too negative, you might just create overly easy or realistic goals, or just giving up before you start. A bit of negative thinking, however, can reduce that anxiety and help you realise that failing isn’t so bad. Hit the link to read more.

The Power of Negative Thinking [Wall Street Journal]

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.

At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


3 responses to “Negative Thinking Can Actually Help You Accomplish Your Goals”

Leave a Reply