November 16, 2014

This is Why Positive Thinking Doesn’t Work.

think positive

*Editor’s Note: Elephant Journal articles represent the personal opinion, view or experience of the authors, and can not reflect Elephant Journal as a whole. Disagree with an Op-Ed or opinion? We’re happy to share your experience here. 


The notion of “think positive” has been spreading in the world at a good clip.

We hear this conviction almost everywhere, especially when we are faced with a problem of some kind.

As far as I know, many people have been disappointed from this practice. We all know that one person who wore himself out with daily positive thinking only to find negative outcomes.

I can’t but tackle here the period when the “law of attraction” went really viral. People rushed to start with this daily application in order to gain more money, potential lovers, out of reach careers and many other things we wish to have.

The law of attraction did succeed with some individuals, yet failed with the majority. Essentially what they did was sold us the notion of “think positive” without any further explanation upon the topic.

Why positive thinking works with some yet fails to thrive with others?

As we know, we all have two separate minds running our life: The conscious mind v/s the subconscious mind.

The conscious mind is the mind that knows what is going on, it’s logical and reasonable; in other terms it’s our awareness. I know that I’m breathing now, I know what I’m thinking now, I know which letters I’m typing at this exact moment… etc.

On the contrary, the subconscious mind is the mind that lies behind the conscious one. It is a database which is loaded with our memories and experiences. It is filled with predominant thoughts which we don’t have access to; we can only know some of its patterns mostly in our dreams.

We all have dreamt of this one particular event or one person and woke up pretty shocked. In our conscious state we wonder why we have dreamt of this person or that event when we are quite certain that neither he/she nor the event crossed our minds.

What we don’t realize is that indeed it didn’t cross our minds—our conscious minds, so to speak. But it definitely crossed the subconscious one which we know nothing about what it hides.

What the subconscious mind hides is mainly our whole world. This gigantic entity is successfully running our life without our consent. The sad news is that most of its hidden aspects are negative.

This is why positive thinking doesn’t work. To positively think about something in our conscious state which is negative in our subconscious mind is an absolute failure.

Suppose I am dreaming of having a brand new precious cellphone. In the past, every cellphone I got was either lost or broken. Today, I got a brand new one and I decided to be positive; in my conscious state I was certain that this one will be special.

In my subconscious state though, lies a whole different scenario. Due to the bad experiences I had with previous cellphones, a bunch of negative thoughts concerning this issue have been accumulated in my mind over time. As a result, my cellphone unexpectedly breaks and I wonder how this could happen when I practiced positive thinking perfectly.

Positive thinking has no room in a subconscious negative mind. It can only work if our subconscious was positive enough. It’s as simple as this: If our conscious mind sends positivity to our subconscious mind full of negativity, a great clash will occur—the positive vibes will go to nowhere.

Whereas if our conscious mind sends positivity to our subconscious which is positive in return, a successful intertwinement will take place and thus our wishes will come to life.

The good news is that there is a solution: if this is true, then the only positive thinking there can be is no thinking or less thinking.

We should take our subconscious mind as a computer which automatically saves any data that penetrates it. The solution is to stop feeding this huge computer. With time the data’s power will lessen and our subconscious can be somehow formatted.

The best way to format a subconscious mind is through meditation. One of meditation’s purposes is to drift us away from our incessant and destructive thoughts. Meditating twice daily for 20 minutes is a good start towards our subconscious’ programming.

Another solution is consciously stopping any negative thoughts which our subconscious mind can turn against us. You have to remember that the conscious mind works in parallel with the subconscious one. Hence, think positively only if you are cleaning the negativity that is subconsciously residing in your mind.

Thinking positively not only fails with a subconscious mind full of negativity but it also tires us to the extent of draining our good energy.

We should start to get in touch with the notion of “less is more”. And in this case, less thinking is more positivity and consciousness.


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Author: Elyane Youssef 

Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: Google images labelled for re-use  


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