Positive Thinking doesn’t Really Work

thinking positive blog zilvold coaching & training blog
6 min read

Thinking positive can help you feel good now, but what can you do to have a more sustainable positive impact on your future? This article helps you to take positive action and being positive.

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As some of you know, one of my strengths is to be positive. Even during these challenging times, I try to be positive.
For me, it is to be grateful for what I do have. This makes me worry less, and this way, I can let go of a difficult situation.

Although coaching and training for large groups on site is again impossible, more and more people are finding me online; enabling me to serve them by facilitating their process to become more effective and experience more love in their life. By being grateful, I find myself being more creative and getting new ideas on reaching more people.

Is this the result of thinking positively? I don’t think so. Positive thoughts and being optimistic are important steps to change one’s mindset, especially if you’re feeling down or pessimistic.

The thing is that thinking positively does not really work. Positive thinking (or dreaming, or fantasizing) makes me feel good now, but it does not lead to good things in the future. It does not help to say that you’re happy or being positive while doing nothing. Being positive only works if you take action. Otherwise, it’s a passive state of being, and you’re not facing reality.

I encourage you to take positive actions and overcome obstacles that keep you passive. Next to being grateful, I have four other ideas to inspire you:

Have Self-compassion

A major obstacle to do something positive is the fear of failure or judgment. “What will people think of me?” or “I will never find that job/partner?” might be fears because you have seldom realized your dreams in the past. Have some self-compassion by being kind to yourself. You don’t need to be perfect. Self-compassion will help you to get more clarity on any situation. Also, self-compassion will lead to more compassion towards others.


Ask someone how you can support him or her. Everybody loves to help, and I am sure that helping someone makes life easier for them and will have a positive impact both of you.

Do something extra

Next to helping or supporting someone, you can do something extra for which you do not expect anything in return. It is comparable to the “pay it forward principle” (read my caffé Sospeso Blog). You make the person feel better who is receiving something and the person who can give something on behalf of you to someone. Then they will all talk to their friends about what happened. The result is that everyone is spreading positivity!


If you want to go beyond thinking, dreaming, and fantasizing about something positive in your career or private life, make a plan.


First, everything starts with a positive thought, goal, dream, fantasy, or wish. An example for me is that I dream of working more with a group of trainers and coaches.


Next, identify exactly as possible what the outcome should be. The exact outcome for me is that I (co-)own a company with several partners and employees that trains and coaches individuals and teams around discovering your WHY. Ultimately, there is a community where people support each other to live their WHY.


The following step is to identify all the major obstacles and use the 2 “magic” words “if” and “then.” if “X” happens, you’ll do “Y.” You are preparing for the worst.
An obstacle for me could be that I do not know how to take my business to a higher level and how to reach my clients.

-Plan it

Finally, you plan an action. Today, I will call my business partner to discuss my dream and brainstorm with him on effective steps to take.

These above-mentioned steps are based on a system created by the psychologist Gabrielle Oettingen called WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan).


Like thinking positively, a plan itself does not really work unless you take action and execute. This can be by helping someone (or asking for help), doing something extra, having more self-compassion, listening, or simply smiling.
I am sure these actions will help you to feel experience more fulfillment, joy, and happiness in your life. Here are 100 more ideas to experience more joy and happiness.

What actions work for you?

Do you have trouble finding those positive actions which work for you (and your environment)? Find your WHY. It is your contribution and the impact on the world. Your WHY is always positive and actionable. I am sure that you know what actions work to positively impact the world if you know your WHY.

Want to discover your WHY today? Take action and contact me for a free intake or start right away. You can also read more here on how to find your WHY.

What do you do to have a positive impact on the world? How are you putting positive thoughts into action? Let me know in the comment field below. The other readers of this article and I are looking forward to reading from you!

Thank you for reading up to here & sharing this article with your colleagues, friends, or family. And please SHARE this article with your network on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn by pressing the buttons below so that they can also benefit from this article about positive actions. You are welcome to copy parts of this Blog if you state the source.

Have you seen an error in this article? Let me know! I am grateful!

Source: Barking up the wrong tree, Eric Barker

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