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If you think it, it will magically happen

January 27th, 2010 · 2 Comments

There’s a term for that kind of thinking: magical thinking.

Man, I have problems with that kind of thinking.

I went a regular monthly meeting tonight; this month’s presentation was given by a “life coach”. One of those people who hasn’t yet quit the boring, unfulfilling day job, yet has a second career coaching others how to manifest prosperity by thinking differently.

And if you just clap your hands, boys and girls, Tinkerbell will be saved!

I am a believer in the power of positive thinking. I am also a believer in the power of logical thought, weighing your options, understanding your audience/market, offering something your audience/market wants, and plain old-fashioned hard work.

I think it’s critical to believe you will be successful in your endeavors, otherwise you will not take the first step. I don’t think there’s any magic in that, just common sense.

I think that people who make a career out of preaching positive thinking (with an 8-week course, credit cards accepted), without acknowledging that success requires much more than just positive thinking, are exploiting people’s hope, fear, and laziness.

I think people who spout pseudo-science and pseudo-religion do justice to neither science nor religion. Give me some real data other than “the top 3% of rich people all think like this!” Don’t tell me that no religion honors the poor…ever hear of the Sermon on the Mount? Jesus did not preach Blessed are Those Who Think Prosperity, for They Will Get Whatever They Visualize. Like a house on a lake!

I think telling someone that her husband’s year and a half of unemployment is his fault for not thinking about it in the right way is an insult. To do so in front of an audience including several who have been unemployed, or whose spouses are unemployed, who are wondering what the fuck to do with that MBA or the 30 year’s journalism experience that nobody seems to want anymore, is rude, naive and ignorant.

I think that countering objections by stating that the objector (umm, that would be me, yeah) is Unenlightened and ignorant, because the objector has objections, while sidestepping the objections themselves, is an ad hominem reaction, not a defense of reasonable ideas.

It is the core of cult thinking. And that’s not positive.

Tags: Brainworks · Food · pet peeves · Society · Working World

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bonnidette // Jan 28, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    I first want to point out that I have a website that is dedicated to positive thinking and the likes. With that said I want you to know that I agree with what you say here in this post. It aggravates me so much when people talk about the power of positive thinking ONLY being about thinking magical thoughts while they lay on the couch eating bon bons. Like this will some how make your debt disapear or a job to magically fall into your lap.

    Positive thinking IS important, but like you said above, it is only one step of many. It is an important step- not the only step.

    The people like the one you speak of above gives the rest of us that really do care about others and do teach the whole truth a bad name.

    Who wants to put in the work when the “EXPERTS” are saying all you have to do is think good thoughts.

  • 2 Toastie // Jan 31, 2010 at 12:52 am


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