PNTV: Rethinking Positive Thinking by Gabriele Oettingen


Hi, this is Brian. Welcome back to philosophers, notes TV. Today we have another great book: rethinking positive thinking by Gabrielle ode engine, rethinking positive thinking, subtitle inside the new science of motivation.

Now you have a hard time seeing it, particularly if you’re listening to the podcast, but this book is captured by a creative little image on the cover rose-colored glasses, with one lens that’s broken one that’s.

Fine, the other that’s, broken fascinating research into the power of bring a little bit of reality or a lot a bit of reality, and some quote negativity to our dreamin, slash, positive thinking in order to catalyze much better results in our lives.

So philosophers note a bunch of big ideas: five of them here we’ll jump straight in gabrielle, o dungeon is one of the world’s, leading researchers in the new science of motivation. She worked with Martin Seligman decades ago, has spent the last twenty years, basically her entire career, studying the science of dreaming and the science of wishes and what she found out early and her career was, to her surprise, dreaming by itself positively fantasizing about an outcome.

You want to see in your life, she calls them wishes. If that’s all you do. It actually reduces your motivation and reduces the likelihood that you’re, going to achieve the things you want to see in your life, which runs counter to things like this secret in other authors and self-help, who just talk about positivity as if positivity in Of itself is enough now, of course, we know we need to take action, but she makes a distinction that if you want to take action, you need to make sure you do something else in the process of dreaming than what most people teach, because her research has Shown unequivocally that if all you do is positively fantasize, you’re, going to be less motivated and you’re, going to do less of what it takes to actually achieve your outcomes significantly so scientifically proven to be significantly so so here’s, the deal she brings people into her lab.

This is a very, very short version of the deal, but she brings people into her lab and she actually measures their blood pressure right and she has them positively fantasized and in a matter of minutes, when individuals just focus on the positive aspects of their outcomes, their Blood pressure decreases now remember the precise measurements, but basically as if half as much as smoking a cigarette smoking, a cigarette reduces your blood pressure quickly right well, just fantasizing reduces that half as much as smoking, a cigarette which is fascinating and she says now you can Relax in a number of ways right, you can get a massage.

You can do some meditation. You can do a lot of things to relax and, as it turns out, you can close your eyes and imagine your ideal outcome and just fantasize, and that will relax you extraordinarily now.

Of course, we know we need to oscillate and make waves and take time to relax. But if you want to achieve your outcomes, you don’t want to leave your brain storming at the whishing stage, where you just imagine the positive stuff, because what happens is not only did their blood pressure go down if they positively fantasize by itself, But their performance went down, they had less energy less like reason to act because they kind of tricked their brains into thinking that they had achieved what they wanted to achieve.

So what she learned was next big idea. You need to mentally contrast. She was looking at this research and she was actually disappointed and bummed because she wanted to show how dreaming can be an effective means to achieve the things you want to achieve in your life.

Then her research showed that by itself, actually the opposite happened. So then she went to work and said: well what can I do to create energy so that they’re, not left, lethargic and too relaxed to take action, but they’re left energized and what she came up with was something called Mental contrasting so MC here equals mental contrasting huge idea, and this is where we get those rose, colored glasses, one of which is clear.

The other is broken right. So you imagine your ideal outcome that’s still really important dreams are important, but you don’t leave it at that. You then mentally contrast that with something that’s going to get in the way of you achieving that outcome, you bring reality into the picture.

You allow yourself to think of some negative things that might happen. That would derail you from achieving your outcome. That mentally contrasting and what she found was when she had people do mental contrasting versus just the positive wishes they totally outperformed them.

With one caveat, if the individuals didn’t think they could achieve the outcome they wanted, then they actually performed less well than the people who just fantasized, and she makes the really important point that that’s, actually really good that their Motivation goes down if they didn & # 39.

T think that her goal was feasible. So when you imagine your positive future and then you imagine the obstacles, it’s going to help you see if you should disengage from a goal. Now we get in trouble again if we just follow the kind of self-help rule of just imagine the castle in Spain or she jokingly, says, living on Neptune or being a billionaire in the next year you can’t.

Imagine those unfeasible goals and expect to feel motivated. It’s, not how it works. So when you do the mental contrasting, if you realize wow that’s just too much of a stretch, then you find a goal that’s, feasible, challenging but feasible, and then you contrast it with obstacles that might get in the way That’s, really powerful stuff.

The research is amazing on this, and then she continued working and she collaborated with her husband who came up with something which is equally powerful, that we’ve talked about in our work on procrastination, call of implementation intentions, we’ve, got Mental contrasting and then we have implementation intentions.

Now these are basically what you’re, going to do when certain things happen in the future. You want to keep this in mind. If this happens, then I will do this. We talked about it with procrastination, where the idea was.

If I find myself distracted by the internet for example, then I will get to work immediately. If, then, if there’s an obstacle, then I will do this right, so we have mental contrasting and that implementation intention strategy stuff is shown to be extraordinarily powerful.

The research on that is amazing, and there’s. A ton of research in this book 20 years worth, if you like that kind of thing, I think you & # 39. Ll love it. So then she started talking about this in her work and she called it MCI.

I MCI I and she’s. You know mental contrasting + implementation intention. Then she realized that doesn’t really roll off the tongue and they came up with this whoop capital, W capital, o capital, o capital, P whoop, which is short for wish.

+ outcome, + obstacle + plan, and this is the whole point of the book – is to get us to learn how to operationalize whoop in our lives. Wish outcome obstacle plan and again the science behind this is really really inspiring.

We talked about it a little bit more in the note and of course she goes into depth on it, but here’s, the basic way to do it, and in the note I have a bunch of different examples. Imagine something that you want to see a wish that you have right what’s, something that you want to see in your life over the next.

It could be day or week or 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months or whatever. What’s? A wish that’s, both challenging and feasible? Think about that right now, what’s, a wish that you have that’s, both challenging and feasible, that’s, the W in whoop right.

So when we have our wish, then we move to the outcome and now come is really kind of the number one benefit number one benefit. What’s? The number one benefit that you want to receive from that outcome right.

So let’s say that you want to exercise consistently. I’ll. Do this because I’ll use my example, so I’ve, been using this through the day right in kind of big things, big goals that I have creatively and business-wise and otherwise right and then little things my meditation this morning, I Was having fun at the end, just kind of imagining my day so, for example, I had a wish of after my meditation completing a note worked on a note this morning, and I imagined that what I’d be cool.

What would the outcome be? Well, the outcome of that would be that I’d, set myself up for Monday. I’m. Recording this on a Friday. I’d, set myself up for Monday, so that I know that I can do one of these TV episodes in the mp3 and the micro classes and stuff like that, and I’m like that, would feel great.

I’d, be awesome to know that I’m. The head feels good right. Wish, get the note done outcome while that feel great? I’d, be ahead, feel inspired. Know I’m on track right. What would the obstacle be that would get in the way of me achieving that that’s, our next one right, I’ll, walk through mind, then we’ll, walk through your example.

The obstacle for me that might get in the way is me doing something other than working. On the note after I finished my meditation, I used to be tempted by the internet. I’m no longer tempted by that, and I knew what I was going to do so.

Actually that was a pretty straightforward one for me of okay, that’s. What I’m gonna do then the plan. If, then, if I finish meditating, then what well then technically I do five minutes of stretching and yoga right.

Then I work on my note and I won’t. Do anything until I’m done with it cool I’ve got my whoop. I’ve got my wish. I’ve got my outcome. I’ve got my obstacle and I got my plan now back to you. What’s? Your wish challenging feasible.

What’s? Your outcome? What’s, the benefit? You’re, going to experience and then think about the obstacle. What’s, the obstacle that’s, going to get in the way of you achieving that wish and experience in the outcome, an important distinction here.

The obstacle is within you not in the world. We’re, not talking about your boss or your upbringing, or anything else that is outside of your control. What within you is going to stand in the way of you attaining your wish? Pretty exciting juxtaposition? Mental contrasting there, then we look at it and say: okay, what’s, the plan? How am I going to deal with that challenge? Okay, that obstacle is going to come up.

So then, if this happens, then I will do this. If six, you situation X, then behavior Y, if this happens, then I will do that in the book. She does a great job. She’s, got these little cards right that have loop in it, and you can actually just write it down three to six words: you can capture these things.

You don’t need to write a long essay about it. Although she has a guided, meditation or visualization kind of thing, you can do and then a written one as well, but you can capture this in a very, very straightforward, little piece of paper or card or whatever, but that’s, woop really really powerful Stuff, I hope I sold you on it.

Try it out once twice again and again again her intervention work with people looking to achieve higher levels of health via exercise or nutrition or weight loss, for whatever is extraordinary when people actually walk through this loop.

That brings us to the final big idea, two questions. She says. Well, good luck on your journey. I hope that you try out whoop. She says, and here are two questions. I leave you with one. What is your deepest wish and two? What stands in the way of you achieving that, and again too often, all we want to do is think about the positive she says we need to rethink positive thinking by bringing in a little more reality.

Juxtaposing is such that we can truly cultivate the motivation required to consistently perform over the long-term term to achieve our goal. So two questions woop implementation intentions, which is the core of the p4 plan: mental contrasting of the positive and the negative, and then the remember dreaming that yeah it’s, nice to feel that it feels good in the in the immediate term.

There’s, no question about that, but it is disastrous for long-term. She has more research on the effects of people who are depressed, who just positively imagined it feels good immediately for them, but it actually makes them more depressed over the long-run visa vie.

The people who imagine an ideal outcome very important again, I’m, not saying get rid of dreaming that’s, not what Gabrielle says but bring it back with reality. Energize yourself such that you feel a necessity to act and go out and do what you aspire to do there.

You go hope you enjoyed highly recommend the book, particularly if you’re into the scientific underpinnings of this new science of motivation, and I look forward to sharing more have another awesome day, see you hi.

This is Brian. I hope you enjoyed that P and TV episode a lot of people don’t know all the stuff. I do be on these free videos. I share on YouTube, so I thought I’d. Do a quick video to give you an overview of our membership program that you can get access to and get a ton of other stuff.

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