Friday, November 4, 2011

Optimism and Pessimism

Long-time readers know that I'm a long-time critic of the overdone positive thinking movement. Barbara Ehrenreich's 2009 book Brightsided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America was a key factor in demonstrating that the positive Emperor was wearing no clothes. The Secret and it's silly sequel were so far out that a boomerang backlash had to happen.

Now Martin Seligman's (psychologist and "father" of positive psychology) new book Flourish, acknowledges that positive thinking isn't all it was jacked up to be.  Psychology Today produced a solid, well-written, even-handed article, "The Uses and Abuses of Optimism (And Pessimism). "Seligman is still an advocate of optimism. But he says it must be paired with 'reality testing' — conscientious checking on the results of our efforts — to make sure that overly positive expectations are not leading us astray."

We need as well to check on our negative self-talk to be sure that our overly negative criticism is not leading us astray.

Here's a sentence from the last paragraph of the article. "Optimism has its uses to be sure. But the goal to 'think positive' no matter the situation is unsupportable and counterproductive."

Here's the link to the whole article http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201110/optimism and a link to a previous post:http://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=5630711609871539058&postID=8148646727666242766
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