Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Power of Negative Thinking

As reported on Oprah.com on June 10th, 2009 by Tim Jarvis

Cheer up. Be happy. Find the silver lining. Smile. If you didn't know any better, you might say we're a country that preaches optimism. But some 30 to 35 percent of Americans employ a calculated form of negative thinking—called defensive pessimism—that can lead to very positive results, according to Julie K. Norem, PhD, a professor of psychology at Wellesley College.

We're not talking about a general disposition to see the glass half-empty: "Defensive pessimism is a strategy used in specific situations to manage anxiety, fear, and worry," says Norem, who has conducted seminal research on the subject. "Defensive pessimists," she says, "prepare for a situation by setting low expectations for themselves, then follow up with a very detailed assessment of everything that may go wrong." Once they've imagined the full range of bad outcomes, they start figuring out how they'll handle them, and that gives them a sense of control. "What's intriguing about defensive pessimists, is that they tend to be very successful people, and so their low opinion of the outcome isn't realistic; they use it to motivate themselves to perform better." For example, an executive is getting ready to pitch a project, and she thinks beforehand, "The client is going to be really difficult; he's not going to like my proposal. I have to make sure I explain things very clearly." "She uses defensive pessimism as a tool to work through all the possibilities so she's prepared for everything, even failure, And if she does fail, she's ready for it, so it's not so catastrophic."

Editor Rozek’s Notes: Oh geez…now what? Oprah has got to get a handle on her opinions! It seems that these reports are fluctuating as much as her weight! Believe me- I hear that! But wasn’t last week’s article about “The Secret” and how like attracts like? You’ve got to believe to receive? If you expect your client to be difficult, I guarantee that they will be! I expect that no one is going to comment on here with blatant attacks at me about my “Oprah’s weight” comment!…Come on…it was a joke!

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