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Since no pessimist would predicted victory, I have no pretext to gloat


The Powerlessness of Positive Thinking

According to a great deal of research, positive fantasies may lessen your chances of succeeding. In one experiment, the social psychologists Gabriele Oettingen and Doris Mayer asked eighty-three German students to rate the extent to which they “experienced positive thoughts, images, or fantasies on the subject of transition into work life, graduating from university, looking for and finding a job.” Two years later, they approached the same students and asked about their post-college job experiences. Those who harbored positive fantasies put in fewer job applications, received fewer job offers, and ultimately earned lower salaries. The same was true in other contexts, too. Students who fantasized were less likely to ask their romantic crushes on a date and more likely to struggle academically. Hip-surgery patients also recovered more slowly when they dwelled on positive fantasies of walking without pain. ...

In a provocative new analysis, Oettingen and her colleagues have suggested that public displays of positive thinking may even predict downturns in major macroeconomic outcomes. They used a text-analysis program to measure the tone of articles in USA Today between 2007 and 2009, and found that especially positive articles predicted a downturn in the Dow Jones Industrial Average between a week and a month later. The researchers also analyzed all twenty-one U.S. Presidential inaugural addresses between 1933 and 2009, and found that Presidents who waxed optimistic about the future saw a rise in unemployment and a slowdown in economic growth during their terms in office.

Well, I might gloat just a little.

Nobody who compared Corrente to (say) Kos or even Eschaton would call Corrente an exemplar of "positive thinking," or being "optimistic about the future." "Things might get better if we work hard enough" is about as bubbly as we get, eh?

So who's more consistent in getting stuff right? Corrente? Or Kos?

No votes yet


CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

from in engaging in "success is my destiny" fantasies or relying on a belief that "things have a way of working out for me" and carrying out carefully constructed visualization exercises. Though I never read all the way through any of his updated versions and never had the discipline to follow through with his recommendations for more than a week or so at a time on several occasions despite my sensing they were having a beneficial effect, I always thought the 1960 edition of Pyscho-Cybernetics by the cosmetic surgeon Maxwell Maltz laid out a regimen that would prove useful to most anyone who gave it a try.

As the first commenter in the thread here points out the Einstein reference is a stretch but, otherwise, the Jon Torodash review is quite close to my take on the book.