You have likely heard of positive thinking. But have you ever heard of the power of irrational positive thinking? This idea was coined from The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain by Tali Sharot.
According to Sharot, “Optimism biases human and nonhuman thought. It takes rational reasoning hostage, directing our expectations toward a better outcome without sufficient evidence to support such a conclusion.”
In other words, optimism can sometimes seem irrational because, at times, it goes against reason. And yet, research shows that even being irrationally optimistic can lead to a better life. It can “lower stress, make us physically healthier, and put our minds at ease—even if what we hope for doesn’t come to pass.”
Leveraging Irrational Positive Thinking
Chances are, we all know we should think more positively. But actually implementing it can be tricky because thought habits are often the most challenging habits to break.
So how do we do it?
A good starting place, at least for me, is to examine what the Bible says about our thought life.
Where Your Mind Dwells
First, if we want to switch from negative thinking to positive thinking, we have to change what our mind dwells on.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)
What are the objects of your thoughts? Are they falsehood, wrong, or unadmirable? If so, identify whatever does not align with what is excellent and praiseworthy, then exchange those thoughts with ones rooted in what is true, noble, and right.
Learning to Give Thanks
Second, we can strive to give thanks in all things — yes, in all things.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
I think we—myself included—underestimate the power of thanksgiving. Not only does it remind us of what we do have and the things we can be grateful for, but building a habit of thanksgiving actually rewires our brains and attitudes. We start to naturally find more and more things to appreciate. Additionally, learning to give thanks moves us beyond seeing a challenge as just another problem, and instead, we start to see challenges as opportunities looking for a solution.
Do you want to change the projection of your life? Do you want to experience more success and significance in your personal life, marriage, family, and career? It starts with your mind. Be an irrationally positive thinker and see how your life can change!
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Many definitions are attached to the word “success.” Some would include making it to the top of your profession, earning a truckload of money, becoming famous, winning awards, or gaining power and influence.
While success can encompass all of these descriptions, a major ingredient that should be included in any definition of real success is making a positive difference in the lives of others. As my friend Joe Martin once told me, “I want to do well for myself in my career and finances while doing good for others.” This sounds like a winning success strategy to me!
This FREE RESOURCE shares seven character traits of successful people who do well in their careers and finances while also making a positive difference in the lives of others.