I read an article in Psychologies magazine recently which talked about Oliver Burkeman’s new book: ‘The Antidote‘.
In it he subscribes to the following 5 beliefs:
1. Visualising your goals can make them harder to achieve (because once you’ve tricked your mind in to thinking your goal has been achieved, it feels less motivated to take the required action)
2. We should focus on the worst case scenarios (stating that when the worse case doesn’t happen we get a great sense of relief and are therefore happier)
3. We shouldn’t fall victim to ‘goalodicy’ (arguing that inflexibility with regards the outcome can be detrimental if we continue on a course of action that is proving to be fruitless)
4. Follow a compass not a map (ie: don’t get bogged down with fixating on ONE outcome)
5. Trying too hard to feel upbeat can make us miserable (suggesting Affirmations can backfire because they can sound like lying)
Hmm, I’m sure the book contains many studies that prove this or that about his hypotheses, however, I’ve got a pretty good idea what works for me. Granted, people with low self esteem might have a different reaction to some strategies than a confident person, we’re all individuals after all. And certainly I agree that inflexibility when it comes to the outcomes of our actions can cause suffering – that’s why I always teach that we should not be attached to the outcomes of our actions, but rather accept, learn and then apply new actions. And I agree that Affirmations can be hard for some people and that’s why changing them to Afformations (read here) really improves them.
Over all though, for me, I prefer the attitude of positivity. When I visualise how I want the outcome to be I get a great rush of excitement AND ideas of how I can create that outcome. I can’t see how imagining the worse helps us have insights or moments of creativity.
Would love to hear your thoughts on it so please leave a comment below and let’s have a debate.
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