Friday, 31 May 2019

#10/2019 Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation


I've never been a big fan of "positive thinking" as I think just hoping for the best and planning for it doesn't get one too far. Gabriele Oettigen presents vast research background to prove that this can actually be true. Focusing only on positive outcome can drain our energy and cause our performance to be lower. Instead, she proposed mental contrasting. It is a visualization technique that is strongly connected to one's expectation of success - the higher it is, the better the outcome. The technique is not that complex. It starts with thinking about/writing down positive effects of what you want to achieve. Following that, some time should be devoted to focusing on the most beneficial effects of achieving your goal. After that, attention should be paid to the biggest obstacles. And that's the gist of it, visualizing goals and obstacles, and contrasting them. 
Oettigen has also developed a tool that facilitates the whole process. It is called WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan). This is supposed to help redirect thoughts to the process of mental contrasting and make it more effective.
In general, I like these ideas and have subconsciously used these strategies before. What I'd do differently is (for example before attempting a challenging task/having a tough conversation), is that I'd try to imagine more challenges and try to predict my rely to potential problematic scenarios.


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