Archive for the ‘Positive Thinking’ Category

Meaninglessness and Fitness

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

In our modern society of convenience, our bodies are arbitrary and rarely require moving, or we must move in repetitive patterns. As a result, most of us experience fitness as meaningless. The treadmill or stationary bike is the ultimate symbol for this, as is lifting something heavy and putting it down again. Exercise in a society of convenience where we experience our bodies as an alienated “other” thereby becomes another to-do on an endless list.

Functional fitness puts some meaning back into the structure of our fitness programs by working with the mechanics of our human structure. But functional fitness is often still arbitrary — why become fit? Function for what? Answering “anything” is still too abstract. (more…)

Optimism, Pessimism, and Beyond

Friday, April 1st, 2011

When should we be optimistic? When is it smarter to be pessimistic? When should we have high expectations and when should we lower our expectations, or drop our expectations altogether?

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about optimism and pessimism, or so-called “positive” and “negative” thinking, and in which contexts each is appropriate. In addition, there are methods of dealing with reality that are neither—more just observing things as they are—and these approaches seem really useful as well. The following article contains some of my recent thoughts and advice to myself on this topic. Perhaps you will find it valuable as well—or add your thoughts in the comments if you disagree! (more…)

Tony Robbins and the Cult of Aggressive Positivity, Part 2: How Positive Thinking Can Make You Depressed

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

This is part 2 in a series. Best read part 1 first if you haven’t already.

The other day I read an article in Newsweek entitled The Creativity Crisis (via my Twitter-friend @BeyondMeds). The article is about how American creativity is declining and what we can do about it. While there are many interesting tidbits in the full article, what stood out to me most was a particular research study from University of Georgia’s Mark Runco:

…creative people, for the most part, exhibit active moods and positive affect. They’re not particularly happy—contentment is a kind of complacency creative people rarely have. But they’re engaged, motivated, and open to the world. (more…)

The 4-Minute Mile and the Myths of Positive Thinking

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

The story of Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile barrier in 1954 is often cited as proof of the power of positive thinking. The fact is, however, that Bannister’s realism, not exuberant faith, can easily explain how Bannister achieved the feat.

The typical telling of the story is a conflict between negative and positive beliefs. The good guy is Roger Bannister, who uniquely believes that he can beat the four-minute time. The bad guy is everybody else, including the other runners of the world. Bannister’s faith in himself propels him across the finish line, breaking the barrier, proving that the positive is stronger than negative. He wins over converts to his faithful cause, who then proceed to smash the barrier themselves. (more…)