I hear it all the time. People say that you should realize the power of positive thinking, because if you believe you can do something, you can. If you tell yourself that you’re going to fail, then you will. While there is some truth in that, particularly in terms of personal motivation, I feel that too much positive thinking can be a bad thing. It can turn on you.
As you may recall, I talked some time back about why goals are the bane of my existence. Each time that I achieve a goal that I set for myself, the reward or celebration is short-lived. This is because I’ll inevitably set a new goal following the same line of thought, but pushing the bar that much higher. For example, my initial goal for his blog was to hit a readership of 100. Considering that my previous website was only read by a handful of friends, I thought an RSS subscriber goal of 100 was already pretty lofty. Well, the reader count is currently sitting at 144 and rising. My new goal is 200.
I believed in myself. There was a fair bit of positive thinking there, because I originally thought that 100 subscribers would be difficult to achieve, but there wasn’t all that much satisfaction when I reached that goal. I just told myself that I could do better, so I continue to trudge forward and push further. Why is this? Because I have a tendency to compare myself to others. I take a look at the BlueFur blog (which I write for), for example, and see that their RSS widget is pushing close to 300. And don’t even get me started on John Chow and his 8000+.
Some people have called me a pessimist. I say that I’m a realist. Although I don’t extract a huge amount of satisfaction from reaching my goals, I know that I feel better having achieved them than if I were to set unrealistically lofty goals that are simply unattainable for me. If I said that I wanted to make $20k/month from this blog and have 10,000 RSS readers by the end of September… well, that’s probably not going to happen and I would only be setting myself up for disappointment. It would be a S.M.A.R.T. goal, but not a smart goal.
Some time back, I read a quote that stated that people who appear to be depressed and pessimistic are actually the only people who see the world for what it really is. The “average” person with their cheerful demeanor and positive outlook on life, well, they’re being unrealistic. Think about it. Of the millions of people who have set up blogs with the intention of making some fast money, how many have achieved any sort of real success? By the same accord, half of all new businesses fail in the first two years and half of the survivors fail within the next two years. Depressing, I know, but that’s real. That’s life.
Think positively and hope for the best. Just don’t get down on yourself if things don’t pan out quite the way you expected.