Monday, April 20, 2015

Forget Positive Thinking and Try Power Thinking Instead!

When Jerry first lost his job, he was angry. It wasn't fair! He had seniority and better sales figures than at least three other division heads who still had their jobs. Then he got depressed and down on himself. His confidence slumped and he began to believe he wasn't as good as the others after all.

As time went on, his outlook mellowed a bit as he began to assess his skills and talents against the requirements of various positions he applied for. Finally, after a number of interviews and a couple of times getting into the final running for a job but losing out, he said, "Yes, it's tough to keep slogging away day after day, but I'm just trying to stay positive."

Has Jerry has turned the corner so that his emotions no longer negatively interfere with his job search? After all, isn't positive thinking supposed to be one of the secrets to success?

Not so fast... While positive thinking is certainly better for Jerry than being stonewalled by anger, dragged down by depression, and even getting "realistic" about his prospects (a terrible trap - don't do it!), positive thinking is nowhere near as effective as Powerful Thinking. And Jerry is nowhere near mastering that yet.

Powerful Thinking generates thoughts that propel you forward and eliminates thoughts that hold you back. Positive thinking is like staying in "park." Powerful Thinking actually shifts you into a forward gear.

Here's how you can generate Powerful Thinking for yourself:

1. Inventory those recurring, doubtful beliefs you have about yourself. You know, the ones that hold you back, like "I'm too old to start a new career" or "I'm deathly afraid of public speaking" or "My boss [husband, child, parent, co-worker] just doesn't value me [and since I respect their opinion, I doubt my own value]."

2. Craft an opposing true, factual statement, just like in debate class. "I have experience on the job that is unparalleled in the industry." "I am completely comfortable talking about my opinions and knowledge with people who I know and trust." "I really deliver for my boss/husband/child/parent/co-worker when they need me." Notice that these are not made-up 'positive' thoughts - they are true, factual thoughts.

3. Consider whether the opposing statement has the possibility of being at least equally true as the corresponding doubtful belief. If not, keep crafting opposing statements until you have one that could at least be equally true. All we're going for here is 50/50.

4. Here's the Power. Your brain finds it impossible to carry two opposing thoughts of equal weight. It demands that one dominate the other. So when you have two equally weighted but opposing thoughts, you can now choose which one to carry. Choose the Powerful thought!

It is a mindset: Every time the doubtful thought pops up, simply replace it with the equally true, opposing one. After awhile, your brain will be trained to carry that new thought as the primary one. This takes some practice, but learning how to generate and then choose Powerful Thinking means that you can redirect your thoughts literally in a nano-second! 

When you catch yourself doubting, immediately craft an opposing statement and override the doubt, even if the big, scary doubt has some element of truth to it. Remember the opposing statement is also true, so choose it instead. Get out of "park," develop Powerful Thinking, and get in gear!

Linda Spevacek is an innovative speaker, author and coach who can help you create prosperity across all aspects of your life. For speaking topics and programs, visit