Gabriele Oettingen – Rethinking Positive Thinking – interview – Goldstein on Gelt – June 2015

You’re listening to international investment, advisor Doug Goldstein on the goldstein on gelt show the financial show where we’ll talk about how you can make the most of your money with all the confusing financial chatter bombarding you each and every day, Goldstein on gelt.

We’ll, give you the practical information you want and need about living a financially stable life here’s, your host money, maven Doug, Goldstein, okay, we are back and very happy to have on the goldstein on gelt show Gabrielle Union, who Is a professor of psychology at New York University and the University of Hamburg and she wrote a fascinating book called rethinking positive thinking inside the new science of motivation.

Gabrielle a real pleasure to have you. Thank you for having me so one of the things that someone would understand about your work. If let’s say he read. Just one article is that you’re, very critical of the whole positive thinking movement, but I think that one might be a little bit of an oversimplification.

Could you explain to us your philosophy there? Well, I’m, not critical of the positive movement or the positive thinking movement. What I am is I want to point out that if you look at positive thinking in a differentiated in a more sophisticated way, did you discover a lot of facets of positive thinking which can make your life better and which can help you get clarity about your Future about your reality about your connections, to others, about your work and about your finances.

So let me give you the example that a lot of people like to say and having sat through many many speeches that people have given at conferences. You’ll, often hear someone say, look where you want to go and think positively and you’re gonna get there.

Are they on track? Well, the problem is with only positive thinking in the future that, if you really want to achieve that positive future, that this positive dreaming and looking at the future, just in a positive way is not the way.

You should do that because what we find in many many studies is the more positive people they dream and fantasize about the future, the less likely it is that they actually reach that future. So, for example, the more positively overweight women fantasized about reducing their weight in a weight reduction program, the less weight they lost over three months over one year and even over two years, were little more pop and you can add on a lot of studies in other Areas which show the same relationship, the more positive people daydream, the less they get into gears to actually achieve these dates.

So what about the apocryphal study, which I have to say, I’ve, actually looked up and never been able to find, and I forget if it was Harvard or Yale where they said some class in the 1960s was asked, write down their goals and The three percent who wrote down their goals earned more money than the 97 % who didn’t is this.

I think this is a famous study that may not be true. Does this relate to or somehow correlate to your research? Well, you know, the interesting thing is that we distinguish between expectancies which are based on your past performance and which are a good summary of what you did in the past, and that gives you a guide for what you can expect for the future.

So that perceived likelihood that things will happen in the future. Now, if you measure that that it’s, a good predictor that you also will be successful in the future, meaning the more positive your expectations of success, the more you will be investing and the more success you will have you’re, Saying the more you expect to have success based on your past is past performance, so people who did very well in investing financially they can expect that they will do also well in the future, but the daydreams and fantasies are quite a different story.

They do not come out of the past experience, they come out of a person’s, wishes and needs, and these positive daydreams they actually are a hindrance in achieving the desired future. Well, what’s, the difference between being optimistic and being a dreamer right? We define optimism as expectancy a judgment on the likelihood that certain events will happen in the future, whereas daydreams are free thoughts and images about positive events in the future and when you measure both in one study, you find that the expectancies, the more positive the expectancies Of success, the more successful people are in the future, but these are based on past performance.

So only people who have done well in the past can expect that they will do well in the future and so past behaviors best predictor of future behavior. So those will predict in the positive direction, but if you just sort of say think positively just dream it and then you will do it.

That is detrimental because then you dream it and you feign already having attained your positive future and you relax them, because you feel, ah, you kind of experience the future as already having achieved it and that relaxes you and then you don’t, get Up the energy anymore to actually reach the positive future very interesting, very interesting.

We’re talking with Gabrielle Union, who is a professor at New York in New York and New York University, a professor of psychology and the author of rethinking positive thinking. I love the title by the way, rethinking positive thinking she’s been explaining to us that perhaps too much optimism could in fact be harmful and one of the things GABA is said, which really kind of struck me is that when people begin to Fantasize about how well they’re gonna do then it distracts them.

Let’s, say from the reality of perhaps even hard work, and one of the things that comes to mind right away to me is people who play the lottery, which sometimes I don’t know if you ever find yourself, but occasionally I’ll drive by a sign and it says a 100 million dollar lottery and then I begin to daydream and I fantasize.

What would I do with the money, and I understand how people then I don’t buy the tickets because I believe that they are a poor man’s tax, but I think a lot of people fantasize and then they act on It, which is probably a terrible financial decision well with the lottery, you know, if you just invest a dollar or so then positive fantasies are helping you to invest a dollar, but if it’s, a lottery where you don’t need To invest a lot, you are better off, you can’t fantasize about winning in the lottery, but then you were better off to understand what is the obstacle that stands in the way of investing money in the lottery, and then you will understand what Is your obstacle that is in the way of investing in that lottery? Well, your popsicle might be something like you know.

I’m afraid to lose a lot of money or you know. I need the money for something else or you know it’s, irresponsible against my relatives, who you know I need to support, so you might sort of spent a dollar, because a baller is just not much, but once you understand what it is in.

You that stands in the way to reach the desired future. Then you can make a good decision, a kind of clear, clear decision on whether you really want to spend for the lottery or whether you better get out of it and spend the dollar for something which benefits you and your family.

And unfortunately, I think we’re oversimplifying it, because the average person doesn’t just spend one dollar on the lottery than they spend tens or hundreds of dollars on the lottery. Now I’m glad. You mentioned the word obstacle because it’s, part of the the the four step process which you refer to as whoop wo, o P.

You described it in your book. Could you give us a little explanation of it here sure whoop consists of two psychological procedures. One is called mental contrasting of the future and the reality and the other one is called in meditation intentions.

Now forget all these complicated terms. Implementation intention has been discovered by Peter gollwitzer and mental contrasting has been done under my kind of hands in the past 15 years. Now, what mental contrasting does and that’s.

The W o of you formulate a wish, something which is actually very dear to you, that is in your kind of mind as something which is dear to your heart, so you formulate that wish and then you keep it in your mind.

And then you say what would be the best outcome if I fulfilled that wish. For me, what would be the best thing that happened very often it’s, an emotion or it’s, a good consequence. You identify the best outcome and then you imagine that best outcome you experience being already there sort of having succeeded in reaching that best outcome.

But then you need to switch gears, you say, but what is it in me? That holds me back from actually realizing my wish and experiencing that outcome. What is it in me that stops me from actually doing it from going for it, and you identify the obstacle that’s in the way of reaching the wish and experiencing that outcome, and once you identify that obstacle in you, no excuse just the Obstacle in you, do you imagine that obstacle, and while you imagine that obstacle, you will understand what you need to do in order to overcome that obstacle, or you might say you know that obstacle is just too formidable.

This is not worth pursuing the wish. So after that wo-oh, which we call mental contrasting, you have clarity about whether you fully engage in wish fulfillment you’ll love, it you go for it or whether you say no not, for today I alligator postpone it or maybe I even let go From the wish, so you get clarity and once you have that clarity, you can say if obstacle, if that obstacle occurs, then I will and then you can say what you will do in order to overcome that obstacle, that’s, the plan or implementation Intention that’s, a P in the in the book, okay opioids want to go over wish.

You wish him for his outcome and then you have to consider the obstacles that are in your way and then determine if you can make a plan to overcome those obstacles, correct exactly that’s, what it is so it’s, a Four-Step process based on imagery, which has it’s, a conscious process, it’s, it’s, a procedure you do in your imagery, but it has non conscious consequences, sort of it builds association in your mind and it energizes.

You so that, then you can actually behave in a way that you either really go for wish fulfillment or you say, okay now without bad conscience. I can let go from that wish. So you get much more clarity in your lives.

You can kind of tidy up your life, so you’re, not just living in a dream world, but you’ll. It’s. Okay, to have the dreams. You’re saying, but then you have to go through this procedure in order to make sure that they are achievable and then develop a plan to do it or just decide it’s not achievable and then move on correct.

That’s exactly it. That sounds like brilliant advice. Frankly, it sounds a lot like what I’ll, often tell people when they’re dealing with their finances, because sometimes they really do live in a dream world.

In fact, I & # 39, ve often made the joke, but now I’m gonna quote you on it. I’ll say there are two worlds in the world of finance. There’s, the real world, and there’s, the fantasy world and as a financial adviser.

I live in the real world and I often have to pull people into my world so that they’re. Not expecting some sort of unrealistic returns Gabrielle, we are just about out of time, but in the last few seconds just tell people other than buying your book rethinking a positive thinking which I assume they can get on Amazon and all over the place.

What’s, the best way for people to keep track of the work that you’re? Doing? We have a website which is called whoop, my life dot org, and we keep up that website with all the new findings and you can have access to the science and you can have access to an app which you can use in order to practice that four-step Process so it’s called whoop, my life org, w o o P.

My life one word dot org, and you can also write to us and have some comments, how you fare with whooping your life, and so we are. We’re eager and happy to hear from you all right and we will put a link to that at their show.

Notes of today’s, show at goldstein on gelt comm Gabrielle thanks. So much for your time. Thank you for having me you’ve, been listening to the goldstein on gelt, show with money, maven Doug Goldstein Doug’s.

Weekly radio show is pulled around the world, but if you miss it, you can download the podcast at wwl steam on The goldstein on gelt show gives you up-to-date financial ideas, so you can get on the path to financial freedom.

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