Rethinking positive thinking

Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation by Gabriele Oettingen

Rethinking Positive Thinking

Everyone who knows me knows that I am a positive thinker who sees the glass as half full, not half empty. Sometimes I even see a glass that isn’t there… That’s why I read the book “Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation” very carefully.

Based on more than twenty years of research on motivation, author Gabriele Oettingen argues that good advice like: “think positive, visualize your dreams” does not affect motivation to take action. Yes, in the short run, positive thinking or visualization helps us in difficult situations, but in the long run they have a dulling effect on us, on our brain.

Visualization causes us to experience apparent happiness, but our brain remains in a state of lethargy instead of becoming active. Oettingen says that by thinking about the obstacles that may appear on our path to achieving our dreams we are better prepared to take action. Simply thinking positive thoughts and visualizing dreams can be frustrating in the long run because nothing changes.

Oettingen introduces the term “mental contrasting” – a new way of visualizing the future. If we visualize the dream, but also focus and imagine the obstacles that may arise, we will be better able to plan specific actions that will bring us closer to achieving the goal.

WOOP – wish, outcome, obstacle, plan – is a tool that helps to implement the method of mental contrasting. In Gabriele Oettingen’s research, people who used mental contrasting were more motivated to lose weight, get rid of addictions and build relationships.

WOOP works well with leaders and teams. Anticipating obstacles, preparing different scenarios builds resilience, confidence and motivation to take action We yield great results when using this tool in our work.

Maja Wajda
Maria Wajda

Manager, she gained her professional experience by managing teams in Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Since 2016, she has been working as an Executive Coach (International Coaching Certification) and Mentor, helping leaders and their organizations to develop their potential.

Share this article

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Read more articles


Do you want to know more? Contact us