Rethinking Positive Thinking
Have you ever had to rethink anything? What about something like gravity? Something that you just don’t think requires any rethinking. This book is like that. Who could imagine that positive thinking would invite any rethinking?
“Rethinking Positive Thinking,” by Gabriele Oettingen gets your attention. The subtitle is “Inside the New Science of Motivation.” Who doesn’t want to know about that? The question is what needs to be rethought? The author discusses the “cult of optimism” and how it is everywhere. The book was written in 2014. She sites “The Secret” and “Chicken Soup for The Soul,” and says that the idea that all we have to do is imagine what we want and it will magically appear leaves a lot to be desired.
Study after study after study. That is the first part of this book. The author and her compatriots used students in experiment after experiment to prove their ideas. They did studies with people of other age groups as well. She says she spent twenty years doing this research. So if you are someone who needs to see the proof, it is here.
There is a study involving women and their shoes. I thought that was an interesting one. Actually, there were a couple of them.
All the studies ultimately resulted in a useful tool for you and me. The acronym is WOOP and it stands for Wish, Obstacles Outcome, and Plan. Simple and powerful and it is why Brian Johnson at the Optimize Me group picked it as one of the three best books of that genre.
Dreaming about pleasant outcomes isn’t enough, but it does lower your blood pressure. I bet you didn’t know that. So next time you think your blood pressure might be rising just think about winning the lottery.
Wish and Outcome
The first thing to get on paper is your wish. Your goal. Your vision. Get it down in detail. Maybe as Hal Elrod suggests do a ten-year vision for each area of your life. With the WOOP process you “disengage from wishes that aren’t practical.” Focus only on realistic goals!
Why is the outcome you want? It might be easier if you think of the outcome as the benefits you will receive if you attain your wish. Think about these in detail. Include all your senses or as many as possible. Feel the sand between your toes if your wish is to walk a Hawaiian beach.
Obstacle and Plan
Now here is where all the studies paid off. After you have your wish all settled you need to focus on the obstacle or obstacles you will be facing. You need to focus on the negative present reality along with the fantasy of the big wish. The author stresses that it is important to focus on internal obstacles and not the external ones. Do that in the right way and Boom, success. Well, almost.
You do need one more thing. A plan. How are you going to get from point A to point B? What can you do to overcome your first obstacle? She calls this the “If, then” plan. Say to yourself if X (the obstacle) occurs you will do Y (overcome the obstacle). I would also add the importance of changing strategies if you get feedback that your plan is not working then adjust your strategy.
Yes, there is an App for WOOP. They have one for students and adults. This is smart. More of these books should have Apps that help people through a new process.
You can find the APP at woopmylofe.org. But I say buy the book too!! There is a lot more in it. Not just studies.